In 1 Corinthians 13, the Apostle Paul says that there is only one stat that ultimately matters in your walk with God - one thing that that truly tells the world who you are, and that is your love (or lack thereof). The real question is, how do I grow in love? What does love look like? What does love do, and what does it not do? What is love?
5. Love Isn’t Always Right About Everything
The most annoying word that you will hear someone else start a sentence with is the word, “Actually.” You see, if someone is talking to you, and they start a sentence with the word “actually,” then they are about to contradict you. They are about to be right, and you are about to be wrong.
You know what I mean, right? You’re talking to group of people, telling this awesome story that everyone seems to be completely into, when all of a sudden that guy interrupts the whole thing and says something like, “Actually, I’m pretty sure the most common name in the world is Mohammed, but go on.” And you know… you’re thinking, “Dude! What’s up with you? Why would you butt in like that and break the flow of the story just to correct me? Are you just trying to make sure everyone here knows how smart and clever you are?”
Or, have you been in that situation where you’re in the car with a friend or two and you’re singing along to the radio and sure, maybe you don’t know all the words, but you’re giving it all you’ve got, right? And then, out of nowhere, somebody opens their trap and says, “Actually, I think the correct lyric is, “There’s a bad moon on the rise.” And dang… you’re like, “Are you joking me? Did you just stop all the fun we were having and interrupt the singing to make sure that everyone here realizes I’m wrong and you’re right? Dude!
I bet something like those two scenarios has happened to you, or if you’re like me at all, you’ve been that guy before who simply has to be right all the time about everything. Nobody appreciates that person who corrects everyone all the time. Nobody wants to hang out with that person who always loves hearing the sound of their own voice being right all the time. The Apostle Paul points this out for us in his list of what love is all about by saying that love “is not proud.” Now, the Greek word Paul used for ‘proud’ is a word that means, ‘arrogant’ - well, literally, it means, “puffed up.” I get the image of someone with a big head, all puffed up with hot air that they simply have to spread all over the place.
Paul uses that word ‘puffed up’ a bunch in the New Testament, and in one of those places, (1 Corinthians 8:1) he’s talking about how some people think it’s wrong to eat food sacrificed to idols while others don’t have a problem with it because they know idols aren’t real gods and so it doesn’t really matter. He says that if one person thinks it’s wrong, for them it’s wrong. The other guy who knows better shouldn’t eat sacrificed food in front of the guy who struggles with it just to prove that he’s right about the fact that idols don’t mean anything, because that would be inconsiderate. He says in verse 1, “We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.” Paul goes on to say that he would rather be a vegetarian for the rest of his life than offend a brother who has a problem with eating food sacrificed to idols just to make a point.
What Paul is saying is this: Sometimes, you’re going to hear people say stuff you know isn’t exactly true. Sometimes, you’re going know something more accurately than someone else and you’re going to have this desire inside your chest to make that fact known. Paul is simply saying, “Put the brakes on that feeling.” When you know someone else is wrong and you’re right, slow down. Is it really necessary for you to break into this conversation and be right? Or are you just getting a little puffed up? If you’re about to correct someone, why do you want to do it? Is this love, or is it arrogance?
Here’s the truth: People want to be right because they want to win. People want to be right because they have something to prove. They want to be right because they want everyone to think they’re awesome and brilliant. the reason I know this is because I’ve spent the vast majority of my life puffed up beyond all reasonable measure. I’ve gotten to the place where I hate the way it feels to correct people. I want to learn how to love. You see, people who have to be right all the time are people who still need the message of the Gospel to sink down into the deep places of their mind and heart. (I speak from experience) The message of the Gospel is this: I don’t have to be right or good for Jesus to love me and for God to accept me. I don’t have to prove anything to anyone. I don’t have to be smart or clever or brilliant. In fact, the sooner I admit that I have been wrong and foolish about nearly everything in my life, the sooner I enter into the pure joy of the grace and love of God. When I stop trying to prove how awesome I am all the time, I can actually shut up long enough to listen to other people (right or wrong) and love them for who they are like Jesus did for me. That’s love. Real love doesn’t need to be right.