Monday, October 2, 2023

Better Relationships #11 - Love is not Rude

“Love is not rude”

In this series of blogs we’ve been looking at 1st Corinthians 13. This chapter about love is a chapter not just on relationships, but on how we behave and treat one another within the church. The overarching message is that we treat one another in love, and then the chapter explains what that means in practical living. Love is some things (patient, kind, etc.), and love does not do some things (jealous, proud, etc.).

In 1st Corinthians 13:5, it says that love is not rude. This Greek phrase could be translated as “does not act unbecomingly” or “does not act inappropriately.” In the New American Standard Bible this is translated, “it does not act disgracefully.” Yet here we are living in a culture that is getting more and more rude. There is a coarsening of society.

Social media amplified this problem. People could comment on other people and events all from the comfort and safety of their living room couch. Things they probably would never say to a person if they were standing in front of them, are said online when the inhibitions and consequences are much lower. This social media world we live in has been like this for over 15 years and it has changed our society. I just read a book called Stolen Focus and the author contends that the social media companies don’t really care too much about what you think or read, they just want you to stay on the screen to see more of their ads they are selling. And, because of our fallen nature, what keeps us on the screen is bad news and things that make you upset. What happens is someone does something that is perceived as rude, and then the comments are rude to that person and it escalates.

The Bible is constantly calling us to be counter-cultural. When people treat me rudely, I struggle inside. I think that I was just treated with a whole lot less respect than I think I deserve, therefore I should be justified in treating this person poorly. This is the struggle we all face, yet how did Jesus respond? The prophet Isaiah had a picture of the Messiah in Isaiah 53 and it says, “He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word.” In my Bible reading plan I just read through one of the crucifixion accounts. Jesus did not defend himself. That’s where I struggle because it’s hard for me to simply keep my mouth shut. When Jesus did speak what did he say, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.”

We live in a culture that is getting more and more rude and vulgar and impolite. Sadly, that is creeping into the churches simply because this is the world we live in. However, if we want to have healthy churches and healthy relationships, we need to show love. That means we are not rude. When people in the church are rude to one another or rude to people outside the church, this means the church is not a place where the love of Jesus is present and evident. Lord forgive us for those times when our churches, and our lives were less than loving toward others. Help us to follow the more excellent way.

Monday, September 25, 2023

Better Relationships #10 - The Pride Problem

In this blog series on better relationships, we have taken a close look at 1st Corinthians 13. This is part of a larger section on how a church is to work and it is to be a place where people love one another. This chapter has some examples of what love is, such as being patient and kind. There are also examples of what love is not. It is not jealous or proud.

Love and pride are incompatible, yet pride is part of the sinful nature that comes with every human being since Adam and Eve. How do we truly love one another in our family, and in our church? How do we overcome this tendency toward pride?



We need to take time to listen to others because overcoming pride is done through getting advice. Proud people think they know everything.  People who are able to have good relationships with others, seek advice from others, and are open to listening to others. 

Proverbs 13:10 “Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.”

Proverbs 12:15 “The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.”

Getting advice does slow you down. All too often we are in a hurry, we think there is an urgency, therefore we need to make the decision and do it right now. I was listening to a podcast with Jocko Willink who was a Navy SEAL, and they have a saying. “Slow is smooth and smooth is fast.” Our pride inflates our self-worth and thinks that we will make the best decision and do it in a hurry. To overcome pride we need to take time to listen.

God speaks to us through gifted teachers, through circumstances that are sometimes painful, through listening to Him in prayer, and through the Bible. Take the time to listen, not just to wise people in your life, but more importantly listen to God.



The Pacific Conference is a connectional system. There are a lot of positive things about this connectional system and one is that there is accountability. Accountability isn’t always fun, but it is important. Pride keeps us from accountability. Pride makes us lonely because it pushes us to go it alone and not be accountable to anyone.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up.”



Mark 10:45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Jesus hung out with rich and poor alike.  In Luke 14 Jesus was at a banquet at a rich man’s house.  The food is coming out and everyone is worried about getting the most honored place to sit at the banquet.  Jesus has to straighten out people who are busy tripping over their own pride and posturing, telling them to look to the needs of others. Service, humility, and holiness are demonstrated when you serve people who cannot do anything for you. To be like Christ, to let go of our pride and have better relationships we are to give our lives in service of others.


Monday, September 11, 2023

Better Relationships #9 - Love is Not Proud

 Love is not Proud 

This blog series in 1st Corinthians 13 shows us how to love one another in the church. The previous post was how love does not boast and this one is how love is not proud. The words boast and proud essentially refer to the same problem of pride. Boasting is the outward manifestation of pride on the inside. Boasting is what a proud person does. Boast is a word that means “to brag.” Bragging is when we try to promote ourselves or build ourselves up. It is the idea of parading our abilities, accomplishments, or acquaintances. The Greek word that is translated proud literally means to be “puffed up.” It is the idea of something being bigger or more than it really is. It’s sort of the idea of inflation or the rising prices of groceries, housing, and everything else being puffed up. If you want a healthy church, healthy marriage, healthy family, you need love and you cannot have pride.

Pride keeps us from communicating. Many of our problems are communication problems. We misunderstand and misinterpret what others say to us. Human beings by and large are not good at mind-reading. It gets worse when we infuse this with pride. We assume what other people are saying and out of our pride, we assume that we are always right and others are always wrong.

Proverbs 12:15 “The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.”

Proverbs 13:10 “Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.”

Pride keeps us from listening to others in our lives who try to help us. The Pacific Conference of The Evangelical Church is a group of churches in a connectional relationship. There are reasons for this, and one of those reasons is accountability. Pride keeps us from admitting that we aren’t always right. There are times when we need others to hold us accountable. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up.” Pride keeps us from listening to others in our lives who are trying to encourage us and build us up because we would need to admit that we have some blind spots.

Pride pushes us toward being critical of others. It says in Proverbs 21:24 “Mockers are proud and haughty; they act with boundless arrogance.” Pride reveals itself with a superior attitude that is constantly evaluating, correcting, and judging others. Pride criticizes and tears down others who many times have greater abilities, successes, or positions of authority. Pride causes us to try to make ourselves look better by putting others down.

A great example of pride is in the parable Jesus told about a Pharisee and the corrupt tax collector who both went to the temple to pray. Luke 18:11-12 “The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: `God, I thank you that I am not like other men--robbers, evildoers, adulterers--or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’” Pride hurts relationships because it causes us to be like the Pharisee and have an inflated opinion of ourselves but a low opinion of others, causing us to be arrogant and critical of others.

Once upon a time there was a guy who came to his pastor and said, “Pastor, I only have one talent.” The pastor asked, “What’s your talent? The man said, "I have the gift of criticism." The pastor said, "The Bible says that the guy who had only one talent went out and buried it. Maybe that’s what you ought to do with yours."


Monday, August 28, 2023

Better Relationships #8 - Love does not boast

“Love does not boast.”

Our now retired Conference Superintendent came up with the slogan for the Pacific Conference that we are building healthy local churches. That is a great slogan since that summarizes the goal of what we’re doing, however getting there is not always easy. The New Testament book of 1st Corinthians is a letter to a church that has some problems and is working at being a healthy local church. The Apostle Paul gives them instructions on several aspects of church life and in the middle of that we have chapter thirteen where he talks about the love we are to have for one another within the church. If we are to have a healthy local church, and healthy relationships, we need to have love for one another.

After an introduction, Paul says that love is patient and kind. Then he goes into eight things that love is not. The last two posts covered how love does not envy, or in other translations is not jealous. The next quality is that love does not boast. According to the Bible, love and boasting are incompatible.

This world’s attention is caught by those who boast. Whether it is the Instagram model, the professional athlete, or the social media influencer. Because of technology it is easier and more attractive now more than ever for a person to attain celebrity status. The other side of this is what some call a “humble brag.” This is when politicians show off how they work at a homeless shelter serving the Thanksgiving meal, yet it was simply a 20 minute photo op and they care mostly how they look rather than caring about helping others. It is simply human nature and is easy for any of us to fall into this same attitude.

So, what do we boast about? People boast about their kids and grandkids. We boast about the groups we’re part of, whether it is a college football fanbase, a company you work for, or even your church. In the book of 2nd Corinthians the Apostle Paul said that the Scriptures tell us not to boast. He was referring back to the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah who lived almost 600 years before Paul. Jeremiah had a series of messages to a people who thought they had the favor of God, yet were not living their lives following God.

This is what the Lord says:
“Don’t let the wise boast in their wisdom,
    or the powerful boast in their power,
    or the rich boast in their riches.
But those who wish to boast
    should boast in this alone:
that they truly know me and understand that I am the Lord
    who demonstrates unfailing love
    and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth,
and that I delight in these things.
    I, the Lord, have spoken!

 Jeremiah 9:23-24

If we are to have healthy churches, families, and relationships, we love others and we are not boasting about anything we have done. We can’t earn our way into heaven. The only thing we have to boast about is that we know the Lord who loves us with an unfailing love. The God who brings righteousness and justice to an unrighteous and unjust world, and I am grateful for his unmerited love. 

Monday, August 21, 2023

Better Relationships #7 - Solving the Envy Problem

Solving our Envy Problem

1 Corinthians 13:4 “… Love does not envy…”

First Corinthians chapter thirteen is the section of the Bible that is all about love. It has been stated a few times during this blog series that even though this chapter gets read at weddings quite often, it is not talking about the love of a married couple. This chapter is in the middle of a longer discussion regarding the church and how we treat one another in the church. It is vital that we treat one another with love, and this chapter details what that means.

Today we’re looking again at how “love does not envy.” In some translations, it says that love is not jealous. Either way, envy and jealousy are incompatible with love. You cannot love someone when you are jealous of them. Envy doesn’t rejoice in another’s blessings, envy makes us mean. As a result, it moves people away from us. It says in Proverbs 27:4 “Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy?” Nobody wants to be around someone who is mean and jealous. In the end we’re just hurting ourselves because we end up miserable. You can’t be happy and envious at the same time. Proverbs 14:30 “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.”

Since envy and jealousy are so toxic to our relationships in our families and in our church, what is the solution? What is the prescription for this affliction?

The first thing we need to do with envy and jealousy is to:


When Jesus was arrested, with the help of Judas. The religious leaders got the crowd all riled up against Jesus. The Roman governor didn’t know what to do: Matthew 27:18 “For he knew it was out of envy that they had handed Jesus over to him.” Sin is nothing to be toyed with or tolerated. Right is right and wrong must be done away with. I love the book review that Dorothy Parker wrote for a book years ago. She said, “This is not a book to be tossed aside lightly, it should be thrown with great force.”


Don’t just acknowledge that it’s there. It needs to be removed. When we recognize envy and jealousy in our lives, and acknowledge that it is sin.  Then we need to do something else.  We need to remove it from our hearts. How do we do that? By replacing them with contentment. When we are content, it is impossible to envy. Paul described his ability to get over envy and jealousy in Philippians 4:11 “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” Being content doesn’t come naturally; with God’s help, it is learned.


The opposite of envy and jealousy is love. Love is glad for the abilities and successes of others, even if they work against our own. Love is happy when others are successful. But how do we rekindle agape love? We do it by spending time in God’s word, we do it by spending time in prayer, in a relationship with God, and becoming more like Him.


Monday, August 14, 2023

Better Relationships #6 - Love does not Envy

1 Corinthians 13:4 “… Love does not envy…”

Over the past several weeks we have looked at the foundation for better relationships which is Love. You need love to have healthy family relationships, and you need love to have a healthy church.

In this chapter there are some positive characteristics of love being patient and kind. Now we begin to describe 8 negative characteristics of what love does NOT do. The first is that love does not envy. There are some translations that say that love is not jealous. That’s OK too. The word here in Greek can be translated as either envy or jealous. While it is the same word in Greek, they are two different things in English. Envy wants what someone else has, while jealousy is afraid that what one has will be taken by someone else, like a jealous wife or jealous husband.

You do not need to teach anyone to be envious or jealous. This comes as standard equipment with our sinful human nature. Some of the first words that children learn and know what they mean are “No” and “Mine.” I’ve been saying for years, people grow older, but they don’t grow up.

There is a little poem called the Toddler’s Creed

If I want it, IT'S MINE!
If I give it to you and change my mind later, IT'S MINE!
If I can take it away from you, IT'S MINE!
If it's mine it will never belong to anybody else, No matter what.
If we are building something together, All the pieces are mine!
If it looks just like mine, IT'S MINE!

For some reason we get this notion of “innocent children,” yet we know that most all of us when we were toddlers, we lived by this Toddler’s Creed. But love is not jealous, and love does not envy. Jealousy and envy change people. It doesn’t start off that way. Envy starts off so innocent. It starts off with just a simple wanting of something else. Wanting better clothes, better toys, better phone, better car, better job, better house, better bank account than what you have. This is so innocent and actually helps motivate people to live productive responsible lives.

But then envy takes a turn. Not only does it want more than what you have, it wants what someone else has. If only I had what they’ve got. When you realize that you can’t take a short-cut and get all those things that you think you want, you get cranky. You get mad at those who stand in your way of getting those things you think you need and deserve. James 3:15 it says: “For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic.” This attitude is not just toxic to a relationship or a church, the Bible says that it is actually demonic. Love does not envy.

Monday, July 24, 2023

Better Relationships #5 - Love is kind

This summer there have probably been hundreds of weddings where someone has read 1st Corinthians chapter 13. It sounds great at a wedding, however, the context is not a marriage, but how we treat one another within the church. All too often we relegate this chapter to the relationship of a husband and a wife when in reality, this passage about love is directed to the church. There are a lot of descriptive qualities of love in this chapter. It says in: 1 Corinthians 13:4 “…love is kind…”

In the Old Testament in 2nd Samuel 9, David is king, and one day he had a question. He said, “Is anyone in Saul’s family still alive—anyone to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” In those days kings would normally execute anyone who is a threat to their power and position. Saul had been the king, and his son Jonathan was next in line to be king. David wanted to show kindness to someone who probably had a stronger claim on the throne than he did. This was not the best political move for a king during the bronze age. But David’s love for Jonathan was so great that he could demonstrate that love by showing kindness to Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth.

David  knew that God loved him, and he wanted to show God’s love to others. As it turns out Mephibosheth really did need the kindness of the king. He was the grandson of King Saul, but when he was a young boy the nanny dropped him and he had been crippled ever since. He was essentially hiding in a desolate place. Then comes the word that the new king, the guy his grandfather hated, King David wanted to see him. David showed him kindness, not because he deserved it, but because he needed kindness.

In 1st Corinthians when it says “love is kind,” one of the meanings for this Greek word is “good-hearted.” If we want to have better relationships in our family, and in our church, we need to be kind. Are we truly “good-hearted” toward one another? Like David, are we kind to people that we wouldn’t normally be kind to and who can do nothing for us in return?

Two weeks before I went away to college, my parents moved to Florence, Oregon where my dad was the pastor at the Florence Evangelical Church. That meant I had a two day drive to go to college rather than one long day. So, on my trips back and forth during my college years many times I stayed with Norm and Jean Whitford. They were my uncle’s in-laws, so these are not exactly close relatives. Yet they were the very definition of good-hearted kindness. They really didn’t have much, but they were always so kind and generous. They loved having me stay with them. They would provide bed and breakfast, as well as a sack lunch for the road. Not only that, but their kindness went up another level when I would bring people with me, giving them a ride to or from college. They were happy when I was there, and even more happy the more people I brought.

Do we show this kind of kindness to one another? If we want to have better relationships we need to work on our kindness. Is our church a place where people are experiencing kindness? It is not a suggestion, it is a command of Jesus to love one another, and “love is kind.”


Better Relationships #11 - Love is not Rude

“Love is not rude” In this series of blogs we’ve been looking at 1 st Corinthians 13. This chapter about love is a chapter not just on re...