My son played ice hockey in high school. Hockey is a sport where the fans cheer for the good things their team does, but they most enjoy the opportunity to jeer when anything bad happens to the other team. Any mistake the players made brought cheers and jeers from all sides. If they slammed another player into the boards, fans cheered—whether it was a legal hit or not. If they threw down their gloves and started fighting, more cheers. You cheered the good things your team did and jeered over the opponents’ missteps.
My daughter played tennis in high school. The fans at a tennis match are completely different than those at a hockey game. In high school tennis, you do not clap or cheer when the opponent makes a mistake. You never cheer if your player’s good thing comes at the expense of the other player.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.– I Corinthians 13:6-7
The kind of love mentioned in 1 Corinthians 13:6, the kind that does not rejoice over wrong-doing is the tennis match kind of love.
True love rejoices in what is right and good. It doesn’t gloat over someone’s mistakes. Love doesn’t search for ways to get away with bad behavior or sweep sin under a rug. Instead, it values truth and integrity. It rejoices when other’s make good choices.
The week before Jesus was crucified, He rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. Throngs of people lined the street and cheered as He entered the town. But Jesus knew that the city celebrating Him would soon turn on Him and shout for His crucifixion. Jesus also knew that one day in the future, this same city would be surrounded by enemies and be completely destroyed. In Luke 19, we see that He didn’t rejoice in the fact that the city would eventually “get what it deserved.” He was grieved and wept over what would happen to them (vv. 41-44).
Why would we rejoice in someone else’s wrongdoing? Maybe we believe that if something makes someone else look bad, it makes us look better. Maybe we feel like they deserve whatever bad thing happens to them as a result of their choice. Maybe we just don’t understand the seriousness of sin.
To exhibit Jesus’ kind of love, we must have God’s perspective on sin and righteousness. Psalm 1:1-2 tells us that the blessed person despises evil but delights in truth. First John 4:10 explains that God loves us so much He couldn’t just ignore our sin, so he found a way to cleanse us from it.
God takes sin seriously. If we really understand how God feels about sin, we will weep over those making sinful choices and embrace the truth. That is how Jesus loved and it is how we should love too. Do you take sin seriously? Do you grieve others’ poor choices, or do you cheer their missteps?
This is Day Five of the 14 day “Attributes of Love” YouVersion study. Download it and start studying today!