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Love and Courtesy Notices


I must have heard four or five humorous remarks right after our Sunday service about “courtesy notices.”  If you were unable to be with us it was an illustration from the sermon - "Walk in Love."   The illustration was in reference to 1 Corinthians 13:5.  Some translations use the word “resentful” while others use the phrase, “keep a record of wrong.”  Are you like me?  Do you find that you can communicate your forgiveness to someone, or find you are willing to overlook something, but still remember how we were sinned against or mistreated (even if unintentionally) in active ways?  By active I mean it is something we keep thinking about or something that we will quickly recall when the moment arises?  That is what my courtesy notice from that kind officer was all about; my traffic violation was “overlooked,” and yet at the same time, not really.  It’s on file, and it will come up if I would have another violation any time soon.  How soon?   I don’t know; it’s arbitrary.  And it seems it is the arbitrary nature of how we can carry the difficult, sinful (willful or not), and just plain mundane things that happen to us in life that the love of Christ at work in us goes after.  I don’t want my love to be arbitrary; if I say I forgive someone I don’t want there to be a courtesy notice attached to it!  There is nothing arbitrary about walking in love!  The love that Jesus has for us is the same love with which the Holy Spirit empowers us to love others.  More than merely outward actions our walking in love gets to our very motives.  How can we walk in the kind of love with which we are loved, how can we express patience and kindness toward people who stumble and sin and tempt us to write up courtesy notices too? You and I need to drink deeply, and more deeply, from the well of God’s love for us, praying the prayer of Ephesians 3:14-19 as we do.  The more we grasp love, the more we see how our Heavenly Father does not keep courtesy notices against us, the more we can love like He loves.  Besides, as Dr. Joel R. Beeke said, “We are never deeper in communion with God than when we walk in authentic love.  How beautiful, then, are the attributes and activities of love.” [1]  May God grant us power through the Holy Spirit to walk in love this week, friends. 

[1] Dr. Joel R. Beeke, Love’s Attributes, article in Table Talk, February, 2012, pg. 17.


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