It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth (1 Cor 13:5b-6)
There’s a story of two shoe salesmen who went to sell shoes on this tropical island—an island neither man had ever been to. They wanted to see the strength of the market and the potential for shoe sales. One of them sends a telegram back home saying: “Situation hopeless STOP they don’t wear shoes STOP.” Meanwhile, the other salesman sends a different telegram home: “Glorious opportunity STOP they don’t have any shoes STOP.”
Christ brings us outside the box of our own making. Are we insisting on our own way, believing we are spiritually superior to other imagebearers, or do we insist on Christ’s way, knowing the truth (His truth) of our need of rescue?
RCH Lenski: “Cure selfishness, and you’ve just replanted the garden of Eden.” It was love of self—selfishness—that brought sin into the world, and needed for Christ to die on the cross. And this phrase, ‘insist on its own way,’ is the very root of fallenness. We are the arbiters of what’s right and wrong. We wish to have control.
“Not irritable.” Some of you have heard the word paroxysm, which means to arouse to anger or easily provoked. “Resentful” can also mean, “keeps no account of wrongs.” My brother is an accountant and around this time is tax season. From January to mid-April, he and his wife are swamped trying to help people keep their accounts correctly.
Did you know that you can do just that, not with money but with offenses done to you? You may not keep them in a book (or maybe you do), but they are just as clear in your mind as if you did. I know of people who remember wrongs done to them 30-40 years ago. I watched a Happy Days not long ago where Tom Hanks came back to exact revenge on the Fonz—why?—because the Fonz pushed him off a swing in the 3rd grade. He learned Taekwondo and had been thinking about it for 20 years.
But where do we rejoice in the truth? We rejoice in the truth of (1) Jesus practiced every single one of these, and (2) we remember that insisting on our own way means we believe we have a corner on the truth. Truth comes from above, not from within. Remember, this is a picture of our Savior—the same Savior that rescues us, the same Savior that lives in us. He no longer holds our past against us.
And neither should we against others. Christ has set us free!