As I woke up this morning I had this familiar passage of scripture on my mind and as I was getting ready for work and thinking about it, all that kept running through my mind was; this is God's justice and it is wholly other than what the world offers as justice and too often...most often, the Church has bought into the form of justice the world practices which instead should be described as a nightmare. If Paul in describing this, was speaking about how we are to live in the world, why does it seem that this is a rare thing and the tough punitive, holding people accountable way of living seems to be the norm? MAYBE WE HAVE GOD'S CHARACTER ALL WRONG and it is due to the fact that we are hanging onto fallen humanities character and transferring it onto God. And if God desires for us to live out this way of love towards others and he isn't extending at least something that equals it, isn't that kind of twisted and sick? Unfortunately that seems to be what much of the history of Christianity has told the world.
1 Corinthians 13
1 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
2 If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
3 And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,
5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,
6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;
7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away.
9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part;
10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away.
11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.
12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.
13 But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.
I think the other expression of Justice is more prevalent because it comes to fallen humanity without any effort at all. Without the indwelling of the Spirit of the living God and the life of Jesus inside us, the love of God and his justice will remain distorted by the human expressions that destroy and can never redeem anyone or anything.
Here is the third part of a video interview with Paul Young that I think fits pretty well with the thoughts I was pondering this morning. Listen to it here.