Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart: http://sothrichfield.podbean.com/
1 Corinthians 13:3-7
“If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
It is easy to miss how this famous passage relates to persecution, but in verse 3 Paul says that even surrendering our bodies to the flames is useless without love. Jesus was killed by those he came to save and while he was on the cross he said, “Father, forgive them” (Luke 23:34). That is amazing love! And that is the love we are called to give, too. When someone hurts or offends you, do you “keep no record of wrongs”? When someone ridicules you, do you respond with kindness and perseverance? When you hear on the news about attacks on Christians or Christian values and beliefs, are you slow to get angry, patient and hopeful that God’s grace will win the day? In short, is your response always love? Let us pray for the strength to love as Jesus loves us through the ups and downs of our everyday lives.