Jesus does not offer Peter a loophole. There is no Forgiveness Contingency Plan. There’s no limited time warranty. Whether the person you’re loving embraces your forgiveness or not, you keep forgiving. Whether the person you love is changed by your love or not, you keep on loving.
In this sense, I don’t think “Love never fails” means “Love always gets the result the lover wants.” I think it means what it says: Love is not a failure. Love is not a failure regardless of the results.
You want to write that book. You don’t have time. Too many chores, too many bills to pay…you need a log cabin. You need time on your own. You need the writer’s lifestyle.
But actually, what you need is 25 minutes.
In our worship program (bulletin, Order of Service, Missional Framework for Gospel Centered Communal Experience… or whatever you like to call it) we not only include the complete liturgy, but also a section titled, “Why Do We Do That?” This is a couple paragraphs explaining a different aspect of our worship each week. With people coming from different Christian traditions, or no Christian background at all, we believe it’s important to explain why we do what we do on the Lord’s Day. We are still writing them, but here are the ones we use so far.
There’s much talk of self-love in Christian circles right now, the kind of self-love that promotes a perceived circumstantial happiness. When I hear of Christian bloggers or authors or even just professing Christians in my own private life diverging from orthodox Christian faith or values because it’s “too hard,” I feel a depressing weight on my shoulders. Their quest for happiness outside of orthodoxy demoralizes me in a way a combative atheist never could. They demoralize me in a way even my own particular burdens of suffering do not.
The questions have begun. How are we going to fulfill our family Christmas traditions if we have to be at church for Sunday School? How early do we need to get up to make sure the kids have time to open and enjoy their presents before church? Can we just skip this Sunday? I mean, this is one of the only times we all get to be together! Other family members weigh in about our alleged “rigidity” and kindly remind us that God knows how important family is, so it’s okay if we miss church just this once—He won’t hold it against us.
Russell Moore argues that, “The secret to ‘This Is Us’ is less about ogling some other, strange, dysfunctional family as it is about seeing in it our own.”
Scripture warns us that on this side of glory, there is not a one-to-one correlation between obedience and blessing. Faithful people are often successful, but sometimes they experience great defeat. The faithless often suffer for their wrongdoing, but sometimes they enjoy many outward successes. Nevertheless, success and strong, confident faith are some of the blessings that the Lord gives to those who keep His commandments (Ps. 1).
A favorite from the archives:
So if we look at these New Testament examples, we can say with reasonable confidence that the answer is yes—it is right and biblical for a pastor to warn against a specific teacher. But also notice that the answer isn’t quite as simple as we’d like it to be.