When my children were little, going to the grocery store was like going into war. First, there was a strategy meeting. We would go over all of the rules about what was allowed and what was not.
There would be no running off. There would be no asking for anything that wasn’t on the list. There would be no arguing over who got to sit in the cart – little brother had that assignment because he was the hardest to wrangle.
My battle cry reminded everyone about holding onto the cart, using inside voices, and not being combatant with each other.
For good soldier behavior, there would be the opportunity to pick out a new fruit or vegetable for a taste test. Compliant warriors would have a chance to play the guess which cereal had the most vitamins in it (please don’t judge me – I was desperate).
The battle wasn’t over, though, until we made it through the gauntlet of the check-out lane. I would take a deep breath and push the cart towards the shortest lane – which usually ended up being the longest.
Then, I would remind all involved that there would be no candy or gum. I always felt cruel because it was right at their eye level. Darn those marketing people. The neat rows of boxes, filled to the brim with brightly colored sugar, called out to entice my little soldiers like the spoils of war.
As my little troopers got older – and taller – the enemy attacks changed. Magazines and tabloids would be right at their eye level and my kids’ reading ability was good enough to have them asking questions as I tried to load the food onto the counter.
I learned to go into full-on war mode as we approached the check-out lane and started turning every magazine and tabloid around in its stand. I got a lot of strange looks but this was homeland security as far as I was concerned.
1 Corinthians 13 verse 6 prepares us for spiritual warfare with a message about Divine Love:
Divine Love does not delight in evil or injustice but it does rejoice in truth.
I guess it is human nature to be drawn towards evil, lies, and injustice. It starts small. Juicy details, gossip, and wild stories all catch our attention. Before we know it, there is no shock and awe left. It’s just the normal “news”. We don’t even consider if it is fact or fiction. If there is a little bit of truth in it, it must be all truth.
Divine Love that does not delight in evil or injustice must be aligned with what God says is good and just and true. It’s not enough to simply look away from smut and half-truths and unfairness because our minds are always curious. Something has to fill the void.
We must deliberately turn our eyes to what God says is good and just and true. We must focus on what God has in mind for us.
Romans 12:2 – Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Divine Love has a ticker-tape parade when truth wins. Not because it is smug or pious, but because God’s truth should be our standard. It is our plumb line for measuring everything else in life.
Lately, it has been very confusing to watch the news because everyone has a different “truth”. It is their truth that seems the truest to them because of their background or their experiences. Unfortunately, their truth might harm other people and certainly can’t see the whole picture. It’s so easy to form our own truth because it benefits us in the short term, makes us look good (or smart or current), or brings us a sense of being in control.
Divine love, as we’ve already talked about in this post, isn’t self-seeking. It does not rejoice in evil or injustice because Divine Love seeks to honor others. Divine love gives up it’s right to short term benefits, large social media followings, and being in control.
Many times, when my kids would have a conflict with another child because of a lie, I would remind them that “just because someone said it doesn’t make it true”. So much value would have been placed on what another person thought or said and my child would be completely undone because of one person’s opinion and completely lose sight of the real truth.
Stick to the truth. If God said it – it is true. Opinions change. People change. God’s truth never changes.
If we renew our minds daily (sometimes hourly) by reading God’s Word, we know that we are basking in truth. By spending time in prayer we know we are renewing our minds and sloughing off the calluses of indifference to evil and injustice. A renewed mind and a softened heart are what God uses to change us and make us more like HIm.
I don’t want a desire for goodness and justice and truth to become a causality of the war around me. And, in case it slipped your mind, Divine Love is not something we can muster up. We can’t just pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and start shooting love darts around like cupid. Divine Love is God’s love flowing through us to others. We want to be aware of what it looks like so we can stand in awe of being able to be in God’s army.