"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing." - 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
You’d think that I was assigned the easiest scripture. One that is arguably one of the most quoted sets of verses. Have you attended a wedding and NOT heard these? So, writing this Lenten devotional should be pretty easy right? At least, that’s what I thought when Leigh sent me these verses. However, the opposite has proved true. It’s been quite hard. How am I supposed to write about 3 verses that I haven’t been able to put into practice very well in my own life?
But, God has been weaving these verses into my life over the last year and a half and I didn’t quite know it until reading and re-reading these for this devotional. I am a true millennial. I LOVE social media and I LOVE speaking my mind on it, no matter who it may offend. I’ve been a firm believer that what my opinion is true and no one else on the opposite side of that belief is anywhere close to being correct. I’ve especially felt this way politically when it comes to my family as we are an LGBTQ+ household. I think it’s very easy, in the society we live in, for us to believe we must always have an opinion and always share. That’s our right. But, if you just look at/read how people choose to speak, especially behind a keyboard, it will sound really noisy.
There is a gentleman that I used to be friends with a long time ago. Life circumstances made us not run in the same circles for years now. And he believes the exact opposite of me on almost everything. And I used to love arguing with him for hours on social media. And guess what? None of my arguments, no matter how many facts and articles and research papers I sent him, would change his mind. And vice versa. Until one day, I was aggressively trying to get him to see and believe my point, and I changed my tone. Not on purpose, but it just happened. I told him, “I can definitely see how you believe that, and I understand how you choose to live that belief out.” At that moment, the entire tone of the conversation shifted. He also noted the same for me. He started to understand my thoughts too. Did anything change his mind? No. But Love entered the conversation without me really knowing it at the moment.
From that moment on, I’ve tried very hard to see people as that … people. My clanging cymbals of words and arguments aren’t helping anyone, including my own inner self. I can learn all there is to know about anything and everything, but if that knowledge escapes my lips like venom, what’s the point of even knowing it? To my wife’s delight, I have really stopped trying to argue with anyone on social media. It doesn’t mean that my mind doesn’t want to slip back into that noisy gong, but I’d rather gain inner peace by exercising my words of Love than trying to gain an echo chamber of people who only think and believe like me.