New! We’ve prepared for you a sample from our new book, "Devotions from the Field." You are invited to open your Bible with various Jews for Jesus staff from around the world … and read 52 of the passages that we have found particularly meaningful as we labor in the field. Among the many authors are our executive director, David Brickner, and our chaplain, Dr. Phil Howard. Each entry offers a perspective, a prayer prompt, and a website where you can learn more about each missionary and contact him or her if you wish.
The following is an excerpt from "Devotions from the Field"
Love is a Score of Zero
By Karl DeSouza
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil (1 Corinthians 13:4–5).
Ever since my teens, I’ve enjoyed playing tennis. Though I have to admit, when first learning the game, it was frustrating. My friend obviously had more experience and I found myself losing every match. I was well familiar with the score of "love" – a term in tennis to denote a score of zero! While "love" is not something a tennis player would strive to maintain, the opposite ought to be true for a follower of Messiah.
In the early church, the Corinthian believers in Yeshua became entangled in sexual scandal, litigation against fellow believers, one-upmanship, boasting, envy, misuse of spiritual gifts, disorder in their meetings, and disregard for the needs of fellow believers. Paul had to write about love to a church who forgot about its supremacy (1 Corinthians 12:31b–13:13). He reminded the believers that "[love] keeps no record of wrongs" (13:5b). In other words, love is a score of zero.
It’s all too easy for us to keep a record of wrongs done to us, and yet keep a very sparse record of the wrongs we do to others. We shouldn’t forget that God is just, and that He is the only one who keeps a perfect record! Can we really do a better job than Him? But when we begin to accumulate and "record" wrongs, then we accumulate bitterness, resentment and (unjust) anger. We forget how much the Lord has forgiven us (Matthew 18:22–35). God promised to keep a score of "love": "Their sin I will remember no more" (Jeremiah 31:34).
Are you accumulating a record of wrongs by your brother or sister? Unforgiveness breaks unity and fellowship, is a destroyer of ministries and collaboration, is a thief of real freedom and healing. The Lord’s prescribed remedy is laid out for us to follow in 1 Corinthians 13:4–8a.
May we be in character and conduct like our Messiah, who was meek and lowly in heart. May we be quick to forgive others, assist others, and offer them a cup of cold water. And above all else, may we be ready in season and out of season to give them an answer for the hope that is within us.