There was a cartoon I remember from when I was younger that, in a very 90s fashion, had a cartoon within a cartoon. The cartoon within the cartoon was a parody of the heavy-handed wholesome children’s television of the past and featured a group of bears that were all about getting along. Each episode would have them trying to make a decision, immediately agreeing, and then singing a song which said, “We are the [something] bears. We always get along. Each day we do a little dance and sing a little song. If you ever disagree it means that you are wrong.We are the [something] bears we always get along.”
Many of us act as if we are duty-bound to argue. We see the line above and our gut says it’s ridiculous while our actions make it true. And we feel the need to argue about everything: from the high stakes of politics to the low stakes of toppings allowed on pizza. We want to be right, always.
However, as Christians, we are never called to be right. At no point in the Bible are we commanded, “go forth and make other people feel dumb by proving them wrong.” Instead, we are called to love people, even people with whom we disagree. 1 Corinthians 13 is a pretty famous discussion about love. Even if you’re not a Christian you’ve probably heard it at more than a few weddings, but it’s about so much more than just the love between two people. The love Paul talks about in 1 Corinthians 13 is the high standard Christians are called to strive for.
1 Corinthians 13:2-3 says, “…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.” We can have and do all these great things for our faith but if we can’t love our fellow humans it doesn’t matter.
Paul continues to define love in verses 4-8, “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends...”
Some people are easier to love than others, but we don’t get the luxury of picking and choosing. We are to share the love of God everywhere we go. It’s challenging, it’s difficult, but how could the world change if Christians were known more for how well they listened than how much they attacked.
Like the old hymn says, “they will know we are Christians by our love.”