1 Corinthians 13:11, 13 – When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things…13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.
‘Daddy, daddy, Micah won’t let me use his bike.’ ‘Ok kids, here is the deal, if you want daddy to play the judge, daddy is expensive. Daddy will charge you each a couple of days on your video games if you want to bring it into my court.’ The kids look at each other and run away working out their differences.
‘Doctor, we just don’t understand, Johnny has now failed out of his third college. We have bent over backwards to give him everything he needs to succeed, and he continually acts irresponsibly.’ The psychologist responds, ‘where is Johnny now?’ ‘Johnny, is snowboarding with his friends.’ ‘I see’ the Dr. responds. ‘Well, I’m afraid I can’t help Johnny.’ ‘What?! Why is that?!’ the parents responded. ‘Well, I’m afraid Johnny doesn’t have any problems. Johnny is happy and snowboarding with his friends. However, I can help you to stop taking on Johnny’s problems and give them back to him so that he’ll recognize he needs help.’
Love helps people to grow up and take on personal responsibility putting away childish things. Love recognizes that for people to learn, they need to experience the pain of poor choices. Love speaks the truth, under control, offering a way out but then always leaves it to the other to choose accordingly.
You don’t always know what you’ve got till it’s gone. God let Israel be overcome by Babylon in order to get their hearts back after taking Him for granted. Jesus tells the story of the prodigal son where a father gives his son the right to come out from under his protection and reap the natural consequences of his sinful behavior.
Is it possible that in the name of love, you’re handicapping someone in your life from being able to learn, come out of childish ways, and grow dependent on God for making good choices?
Heavenly Father, our Lord Jesus Christ, thank you for loving us enough to respect our freedom to choose for you or against you. Thank you for wisdom in learning how to love others the way you have loved us. Help us to imitate your love and turn people over to consequences trusting you to teach them through it. We pray it in Jesus’ name, Amen.