You can tell from his writing that the apostle Paul was fluent in the ideals of great civilizations. Being from Tarsus, he knew of the Greek ideal of freedom. Being a Jew, he could speak of the Hebrew ideal of peace. Being a Roman citizen, he benefited from their ideal of justice.
There is controversy and conflict because no one lives up to the ideals. So the critics corner becomes a crowded place. You can elbow your way in there if you want. I go there myself. But I am thinking there is more room to flourish if we go light on proving people wrong and just show them a better way.
Being a Christian, Paul added the missing ideal and showed us a better way: “I may speak in the languages of humans and of angels. But if I don’t have love . . . none of these things will help me” (1 Corinthians 13:1,3 GW). No vote, no covenant, no law will matter without love. “Love is patient. Love is kind. Love isn’t jealous. It doesn’t sing its own praises. It isn’t arrogant. It isn’t rude. It doesn’t think about itself. It isn’t irritable. It doesn’t keep track of wrongs. It isn’t happy when injustice is done, but it is happy with the truth. Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up” (verses 4-7).
I think God has our civilization where he wants it. Hallelujah! What a great time to show people a better way.
Jason had a career as a teacher, counselor, and leader. He has written and spoken extensively on a variety of topics related to the Christian life. He has been a contributing writer for Time of Grace since 2010. He has authored Grace Moments devotions and Straight Talk Books including, Help Me, Jesus; One Day Full of Grace; and When in Doubt. Jason lives with his wife, Nancy, in Wisconsin.
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