08 August 2013

1 Corinthians 13: Speaking the Language of Love

"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal."  1 Corinthians 13

I once believed I would like to learn all the languages in the world--or at least be fluent in fifteen or twenty of them.  Sounds lofty, right?  To be able to converse meaningully with the largest percentage of the world's people, enrich my own learning, and simply be able to say I was super-lingual.

Truth be told, I'm still only fluent in one language.  I've had years of time, and other desires and priorities took precedence, but it's a desire I remember every now and then, like when I read the first verse of "the love chapter".  Speaking the languages of people AND the language or languages of heaven?

I admit it.  I still like that idea.

Maybe not enough to run down and buy Rosetta Stone this afternoon, but enough to dig out my German dictionary or my old Spanish textbook for a little review.  When they and I are in the same state and all out of boxes, anyway.

I think a lot of us want to have something to say, and a lot of us wish we could learn these other languages to increase our ability to say the things we want to say.  We think if our vocabulary increases, and we incorporate an Alaskan native's myriad of words for natural wonders like snow, we could be that much clearer with our thoughts, our feelings, the ideas we convey.  Specifity seems clearer, and the more languages we would know, the more specific we could be, and thus perhaps the clearer we could be.

Then, we'd be understood.  We'd have something to contribute.  We'd be of value to those who hear our words.

 Paul, though, gives me something to ponder.

If I could speak all the languages of the world and of heaven--super fluently--and I had tons to say and I said it all well and I even had tons of relevant things to say and people who needed to hear them, did hear them.....

I could still be saying nothing, and I could still be blabbering meaningless sounds.

No matter how fluent I was.  No matter how carefully I chose the words.

Because it's not language and fluency and clarity and important things to say that give words meaning and make them worthwhile or beneficial, but love.

Motive matters, even when people around us only see the outward appearance.  God still sees the heart.  He sees whether all we say is motivated by love like everything He says is motivated by love, and how so often it's not, like everything Satan says is not.

And yet again I have a choice. 

Are my words going to represent Jesus, who is saving love personified, or are they going to represent His adversary--the devil, Satan--who day and night brings hateful accusations against the very ones Jesus seeks to save?  (See Revelation 12:10.)

If I want to have something meaningful to say in even one language, I had better choose the language of love.

1 comment:

  1. This is really really beautiful and meaningful, you have made an "old" Bible text so alive for me right now!! Believe me, speaking many languages is wonderful, but when you do it becomes even harder to Express oneself because certain words cannot be really translated into other languages. So knowing that & living that in almost every waking moment of my life makes me value the language of love & Paul's words even more. Happy Sabbath!


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