Do you use authority wisely and with love? Jesus did…does! Love is the greatest of all gifts and powers; love brings change! Using our authority wisely and living out loud in love is an awesome responsibility. Reading in 1 Corinthians 13:8 we hear God’s Word about authority and love.
“All the special gifts and powers form God will someday come to an end, but love goes on forever…There are three things that remain – faith, hope, and love – and the greatest of these is love.”
You must be able to love a person when you tell him what to do. If you cannot, you do not have the right to have authority over that person. Jesus taught this by example. The woman at the well comes to my mind. Jesus took time to talk with her and listen to her. Jesus showed love first and left her with words that changed her life…’go and sin no more’! She did go…spreading the good news of her forgiveness by this man named Jesus. Oh that we would share so passionately the good news of His amazing love and forgiveness with people God puts in our paths.
What about the time when leaders in authority tested Jesus? They were ready to stone a woman for her sin. People were swayed by the Pharisees’ demands to stone her. The people listened to authority not their hearts; their faith was not firm but tossed like the waves ‘to and fro’! The authority – Pharisees – thought they surely had Jesus cornered when they told of her sin and judgment to be stoned to death.
Jesus took time before condemning. He did not lash out at the authority nor the woman; He showed compassion instead of anger. He reacted slowly but surely with a spirit of love that left every person standing with stone in hand…speechless. He kneeled to pick up a stone and write a message in the dirt that would teach a timeless lesson of love.
He stood with the stone in His Hand and love in His heart. His words encouraged anyone present to cast the first stone…if they were without sin! AS the stones hit the ground one by one, people walked away with wonder in their hearts. The authority –Pharisees- stewed in anger for the One who could have cast a stone… but wouldn’t, while the ones who would have cast stones…couldn’t! Jesus showed yet another example of using authority wisely and with love.
Today’s world overflows with authority but wanes in love. Nightly news shares horrific scenes of sin tearing our planet to pieces.
‘How can things get any worse; is there HOPE’, we ask? Yes there is hope and it begins by believing that things can change. We –Christians – can help stimulate that change. Our most powerful influence is love.
The apostle Paul writes in Colossians 3 that we should seek love above all else. Why? Because love has the power to unite people, to bind them together in one accord. When people first feel tender love, they are then able to receive tough love. As the old Coca Cola commercial encouraged… ‘teach the world to sing in perfect harmony’, so does our Father. His Son came to give His life as a sacrifice for our sins. and taught us to use wisdom while living closely connected to Him and one another in LOVE!
“Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.” Colossians 3:14
Let us lovingly sing the song of perfect harmony.. When we struggle through life’s storms, help us to respond first with love, genuine tender love that paves the way for tough love. O God, help us to use our authority wisely and with love…even when we stand with stone in hand. May we let it fall, forgive, and follow the example of Jesus. Let’s all put a lot of love in our hearts and stay connected!
(Becky Spell Vann is a weekly faith columnist for The Sampson Independent and owner of the outreach ministry Tim’s Gift.)