A Moment When the Lights Went On
If the Apostle Paul wrote the following, it indicates a
brief moment of enlightened spirituality in his own life. Paul, as all of
us, often was none of these things mostly He cursed those who didn't go
with his view of the Gospel. He wished those who promoted circumcision to
go ahead and cut it all off. He turned those who offended over to Satan
and advocated public shame to those who strayed. He mocked the Jerusalem
leadership when it suited him and was very proud of the fact that he learned
nothing from them that he didn't figure out himself. Paul was used to
breathing out threatenings and old habits don't die easily. Just the target of
his breath changed. But it seems that still small voice in his soul leaked
through at times. Like this time maybe.
It seems he came to realize that all the "Jesus is
coming soon," talk was rather untrue and that what he viewed as
prophetic surety, was much less than sure. Maybe it wasn't as important as
he thought it was. While I don't find any apologies coming from Paul for
his many misspoken words and for the lives of real humans he probably disrupted
with his views and enthusiasm, perhaps this is his apology.
He admits that being a good speaker (in his own view of
himself) didn't matter much if he didn't learn what love was all about.
He comes to see that being a good speaker can also be just as grating as
banging pots and pans together.
He seems to realize for a brief moment that "beating
himself into subjection" was of no value without these deeper
qualities. He regrets his impatience and boasting about himself that he
was known to do. "I was above all my fellows..." usually means,
"And I always will be." He briefly contains and repents of his
envy of the other Apostles (Mostly Peter, James and John). He admits he
has been unkind to others at times, has kept track of the wrongs and missteps
of others to hold against them and easily lost his temper with those that did
not filter their world and ideas of Jesus as he did. He seems to admit he
tended to dishonor others to whom honor may have actually been due and that he
had his moments of self seeking. Perhaps he regretted letting everyone
know he viewed himself as the smartest pencil in the box and both the greatest
and least of the Apostles.
The Apostle admits to delighting in the failures of
others and not very good at bearing, believing, hoping and enduring when that
would have been the high road and more helpful. Paul admits he may not have
been as in the know as he perceived himself and that the kind of love he
thought he had failed on a regular basis. He seems to admit he had many
wrong priorities and made much ado about nothing. Much like many pastors today
who roar and snort, screech and yell as if this way of speaking makes what they
say more true or even true at all.
The Apostle Paul, for a brief moment, admits his views
were childish at times and he had some growing up to do. Perhaps he
actually did grow up before it was all over for him. We don't know that. He did
admit his time tables were off but he had done his best, fought the good fight,
kept the faith and that HE would be fine. I think he threw in the
"as well as those who love his appearing," to lesson the selfish tone
of it all, or perhaps that was added later to address the apparent selfishness
of Paul in reality. I don't know.
He seems to finally have come to see, or maybe it was
only for a brief moment before returning to his old ways that life consisted of
episodes of faith, times of hope and the actual expression of love with love
which is the opposite of fear being the most important. Perfect love
casts out fear not hatred. We hate others out of fear and loss of
personal control over the events, beliefs and actions of others.
As I said, I don't know if the Apostle Paul actually
wrote the following. It was so not his way of being when we read his
authentic letters. The skeptic would feel someone inserted it later to polish
the hard edge off Paul's actual reputation. But giving the benefit of the
doubt, what an enlightened moment he had. I can imagine those who know him
saying, "Well about time. I wish he had been all this when he turned
me over to Satan for my shortcomings..."
I have found that millions love I Corinthians 13 but few
practice it. Mostly we practice it when we have no real threats where
REALLY have to practice it. It's mostly like singing "We are
not divided. All one body we," when we know it is far far from being
There have been times when I personally would have
wished others, or some other, would have extended this to myself and times when
I wish I had been able to extend this to others, but could not out of personal
pain or fear.
You know, it's the painbody in all of us that tends to
run the show. The Apostle Paul, like anyone else, ran full tilt on his
painbody. But the real human being occasionally shone through, if he
actually wrote this.
You want to know what would heal the planet and turn
ministers, modern Apostles and Church Gurus, splinters, slivers and shards
around? Want to know what WCG lacked and thus imploded? If you
are a self appointed Apostle, Evangelist, Watcher, Witness or religious
CEO... read on....and then consider what it might mean for you to come
down from the heights of your own thinking and join the rest of the human race.
You're not special. We're all special. There is
only one of us in the entire Universe. You're not better than anyone. We
are all one and the same. Your insights can be very off base and your
ideas of who and what you are and what others are supposed to see in you can be
far from the truth of the matter. When you say, "God says," or "God
expects," or "God revealed to me," then just go
ahead and keep reading...
Just where exactly are THESE people on this planet?
1 Corinthians 13
1 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels,
but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I
have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and
if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I
may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy,
it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not
self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love
does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects,
always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies,
they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is
knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10
but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child,
I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I
became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a
reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part;
then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and
love. But the greatest of these is love.