Sermon Message for Saturday, May 15, 2021 & Sunday, May 16, 2021
Prayer for Illumination: Almighty God, in you are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Open our eyes that we may see the wonders of your Word; and give us grace that we may clearly understand and freely choose the way of your wisdom; through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Scripture Lessons: James 3:13-18 (Page 1218) and Romans 12:9-21 (Page 1137)
Sermon Message: “The Wisdom of Love”
Friends, I wish to begin today’s sermon message with a true story that reflects the wisdom of love.
This story took place in a previous congregation I once served. A married couple was having some ‘problems.’ Usually, it’s the wife who comes to me initially wanting to share and gain some help. Not in this case. It was the husband who first approached me. This couple had two sons, innocent in their own right, yet victims of their parents' wrath and on-going fighting. Within the husband and wife there were some ‘trust issues.’ ‘He’ mistrusted ‘her.’ Some months later I discovered he had good reason to mistrust. She had ‘stepped out’ on him. I met with each of them a few times, then with both of them together. We were able to successfully ‘patch things up.’ Their marriage actually blossomed, leastwise for a while. But then a peculiar thing happened just a few years later. ‘She’ came to talk with me regarding her concerns, her suspicions and fears, her on-going ‘trust issues’ with ‘him.’ We sorted things out for a while, did some serious praying, then I began meeting with ‘him.’ While she did NOT have good reason to mistrust ‘him,’ he was not entirely innocent. It seems he had been harboring an anger inside for quite a while towards her. At long last, he had a scenario whereby he could make her feel insecure, fearful, and mistrustful. Although he had done nothing wrong, his plans to ‘get even with her’ and ‘make her suffer were also wrong.
‘He’ agreed to meet with me. We talked and shared in submissive prayer. A ‘different’ plan was devised. A plan based upon the wisdom of love. Here is what happened:
‘He’ went home and calmly asked his wife to come sit with him in their living room. He met her eyes and said he had something to share with her. He then proceeded to tell her what he thought, how he felt, and where they were headed. He removed his shoes, and then sat comfortably on the floor in front of her. As he gently took her hands, he said, “I’m not like you. Once in our lives you hurt me, and now it's my turn to make you feel as you once made me feel. But I’m not going to, because I am not like you once were. I assure you in the eyes of God of my love and my faithfulness to you and to our children, to our families and our community, even to our church. The only thing I really want and need to say to you right now at this time and place is that I love you with the love of the Lord.” He tells me he then held her.
The wisdom of love ‘shows up’ in good life and in deeds done in humility. Earthly wisdom shows up in harboring bitterness, envy, and selfish ambitions of the heart. Such wisdom does not come down from heaven. As today’s scriptures further declare, “wherever you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and various forms of evil practice.” (James 3:16).
The wisdom of love has guided many a soul, healed many broken scenarios, and has brought forth light in darkness. I trust you will find, as you look back upon your life, that the moments when you have truly lived, are the moments when you have done things in the spirit of love.
Another ‘wisdom of love’ many of us have been taught and put into practice is this: ‘Hate the sin and love the sinner.’
The wisdom of God ‘shows up’ in love. Out of love, God created the heavens, the earth, you, and me. For God so loved the world that He sent us His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but receive everlasting life.
This wisdom of love shows up in families. We see it in families who live in harmony; who are able to express their love for each other, and who are able to disagree with each other in healthy ways. Families and relationships that can survive through difficulties, and not just survive, but they thrive. We see co-workers who can sort out their differences. We see people who have a gift of bringing harmony and unity in a tense and possibly explosive situation. We see God’s grace lived out in their lives and in their interactions. We see this because these people are following a wisdom that is pure, considerate, and full of mercy, instead of a wisdom that is full of envy, bitterness, and selfish ambition.
The wisdom that comes from heaven is pure, peace loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial, and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest.
The wisdom of love is far more than an accumulation of knowledge, wit, or even just ‘insights.’ This is a more spiritual way that God has inspired inside of us all who follow the living God. The wisdom of love is sincere, devoted, and honoring of others. You know when this wisdom of love is within, for you have a certain sense of encouragement and enthusiasm much different from the norm.
The wisdom of love guides us to put others first, not being eager to get our needs, nor even our wants, ahead of others. There remains a spiritual fervor within us. We find ‘joy’ in hope. We may surprise even ourselves in how patient we are even in the midst of affliction. To gain the wisdom of love, a soul must be faithful in prayer. These ways of living and perceiving may not always be automatic and sometimes need to be practiced to be made perfect. Practice sharing with others, especially so with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Some of the hardest lessons to be learned in the wisdom of love requires of us to bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Remember, the world doesn’t revolve around you. The more selfish and self-centered you are, the less wisdom of love you will have or possibly receive.
Sometimes there is more peace in silence than in confrontational communications.
The wisdom of love spoke to the heart of the man I told you of earlier on in today’s message, as he spoke with his wife. He found it was far better to be on good terms without surrendering himself totally in the process. He also found with the wisdom of love that its far better NOT to repay anyone evil for evil.
God puts the wisdom of love inside of us. He then further requires of us to put it into practice. ‘Feel’ for others. Be happy for others. Mourn with others. Teach yourself first and foremost to get along with others, then proceed to teach others to get along. Clearly the Bible declares we are NOT to be proud. Pride, in its many forms, comes before the fall. Remain willing to associate with people of low position. Even the dull and the ignorant have their life stories to tell. Listen and learn. Don’t be conceited. Nor should we spend much time comparing ourselves to others. Be yourself. Be that person God has created YOU to be.
The wisdom of love gradually transforms us to be more humble in our outlooks, as well as, in our self-evaluations. There shall always be those who are greater or lesser than us. Learn to be content with who you are and what you’ve got. Too much comparing and contrasting is not good for the heart, the mind, nor the soul.
On the other hand, the wisdom of love teaches us to remain cautious, for we surely do see in our world of scams, computer hacking, and compromises of various forms. There is surely a lot of ‘trickery’ in our world.
God continues to inspire the wisdom of love inside of us. Such wisdom from heaven greatly reduces one’s cynicism while prescribing a kinder and gentler nature within.
The wisdom of love begins and ends with God. Today may you further know peace in your very soul. Amen.