By Tony Hersee
As I was reading through a passage in the first letter of the apostle Paul to the Corinthian church, I was struck forcibly by the phrase "and have no love". It occurs three times of in the first three verses of chapter 13, and began to make me consider whether I knew, or even experienced, this quality/fruit in my own life.
These thoughts have been heightened by the present coronavirus crisis, coupled with an attitude of stubborn self-seeking defiance and reliance throughout my whole life, uncaring and irresponsible towards those who should have had my love, support and encouragement.
Paul doesn't pull any punches - he continues - "though I speak with the tongues of men and of
angels but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal". This was a level, position and stage I had not reached in my understanding and application of the Christian faith, and I could see that it urgently needed reviewing.
Other illustrations came to mind as I was considering these things. The recent floods and the engraved water-level marks on various buildings show the fluctuations between the actual and predicted level reached. Hallmarks are given by a silversmith to a metal to represent the standard and measurement of the material he has used in a given item. These were pictures showing me a standard of perfection and a shortfall – simultaneously – in both my imagination and realisation of what my own charity/love was like, and what I achieved in not having them. Being brutally honest, as Daniel was, when addressing King Nebuchadnezzar's son Belshazzar, "I had been weighed in the balances and found wanting/lacking".
As I reflected on these things throughout the remainder of the chapter, I began to be made aware of the sinfulness of my whole life and personality as desperately needing to be changed - and this is what by GOD's grace and power, Jesus Christ has achieved on my behalf, by His death and resurrection.