1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
~ 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 (NKJV)
I sat down this morning to do my morning devotions, which admittedly I am a few days behind on, and I saw 1 Corinthians 13 for today. Do you ever read a popular scripture and kind of just glide over it? Like, “Yes I already know this, on to something I don’t know…”. I did that this morning, but then the Living Word grabbed me. Verse 3 gripped my heart and made me take a good hard look at my life. I have forgotten to love! I am so heavily convicted by this. I just sat there reflecting on the last couple of months and the Lord was showing me all of these different situations that happened within my ministry that could have been avoided if I had checked my heart. This is the character of God. He gently, but abruptly, revealed to me a huge problem that I needed to address. He loves me enough to not let me keep walking in ignorance and recklessness.
The last few months have been trying in many ways, including illnesses, intense spiritual warfare, and coupled with insane heat and high humidity. Hot season in Cambodia is always challenging. It strips you of all comfort and makes you come face to face with a lot of ugly parts of you that you did not know existed. I clearly don’t do well in the heat. That being said, life at Children of Hope has been difficult. We have a stampede of hormonal teenagers roaming the house along with 9 boys who tend to wreak havoc when they run out of things to do. And it’s hot. Did I mention that? This is where my conviction takes place: My ministry becomes a job without love, and the people I am ministering to can tell. The teenagers have been very emotional, moody and sometimes just down right mean, which is understandable since they are teenagers. I should be responding with grace and patience, but instead I get my feelings hurt and tend to hold their mood-swings against them. The boys are in their own world where soccer is the most important thing in their lives. Normally it takes about 30 times of saying something before they actually are aware that I exist…. by that time they missed the gentle Bre, and are coming to when impatient Bre is taking over the show. But lately, it takes roughly 5 times of repeating myself before my patience runs out, and in response the boys will just straight-up ignore me, as if I’m some sort of nagging ghost they can just walk right through.
I have been really frustrated and defeated about this until this morning. Every time I thought about a certain problem with the kids, I instantly blamed them. They are the ones with the problem since I am the adult. Ha-ha! The Lord very sharply showed me they are all responding this way because I am not doing my ministry in love. Or they may not even be responding to me at all, they are just kids dealing with these very normal phases in life; but I am not reacting and teaching in love. There is no heart in that. God does not do that to me when I reject, ignore, forget and sin against Him. He shows me grace and mercy. He waits patiently for me to get over myself. He forgives me. He corrects me and guides me back onto the path. Those are actions of love.
Faith enables us to come to God. But love enables us to imitate Him.
The only way to love people the way 1 Corinthians 13 says to is through Christ. We have to actively seek Him or our flesh takes over. It is impossible to love God’s people without God’s heart for them. I have no idea where you are with your walk with God is, but I do urge you to step back and go back to the basics of the Gospel in all that you do.