Love Before Rights

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is
not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily
angered,” -1 Corinthians 13:4-5 (NIV)

We live in a culture which insists about making sure that we get our rights. Nothing is wrong with that in of itself. In fact, in the face of injustice we must stand up for our basic and fundamental rights when they are being wrongfully deprived and be advocates for others when they undergo the same. Doing so is a tangible manifestation of the command Jesus gave to love one another just as He has loved us; with selfless compassion and service. However, the impulse to fight for one’s rights can often be taken to ridiculous extremes. Many bizarre lawsuit cases have mounted and been won in the name of defending one’s rights. What these cases often show is not the love of Christ, but the greed and pride that plagues human nature.

Love as what Christ practiced did not concern itself with the rights of the self. It was and is always focused on others and serving them. Christ was willing to forsake everything He had, even His own life, so that we may be freed from our slavery to our sinful nature and restored into newness of life with Him. But how many of us would say that we practice this kind of love? Though we do not like to admit it, we can point out times when our own attempts to love were motivated by self interest and wanting to get something out of our charity for ourselves. Even when we try with all sincerity to love selflessly we are quick to give into pride and we exalt our compassion as we begin to see ourselves as shining examples of how to love. It is only when we have allowed Christ to enter our hearts that we can truly love as He did. By keeping in step with His Spirit He will break us of our pride and selfishness which insists on gratifying ourselves at all costs; perfecting His love in us so that others will be drawn to Him and the life He gives.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.