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Devotional: February 7, 2022

There are a lot of people around who can’t wait to tell you what you’ve done wrong, but there aren’t many fathers willing to take the time and effort to help you grow up. It was as Jesus helped me proclaim God’s Message to you that I became your father. I’m not, you know, asking you to do anything I’m not already doing myself.

First Corinthians 4: 15-16 The Message

The apostle Paul readily admits to his Corinthian congregation that the world is full of critics. Many are quick to point out what you did wrong, often suggesting how they would have done a given task so much better.

Full of love and care, Paul wants to set himself apart from the critics. He takes the time to write this lengthy letter to the Corinthian congregation precisely because he cares so much for them.

Here, he contrasts the cruel critic with the caring parent. The critic drops their bombs and then disappears. Yet the truly caring parent takes the time to do more than just point out the wrong. They will remain faithful, and patiently teach their children how to improve. More than anything, they will nurture their children as long as it take, as they slowly learn to do things the right way.

It is not fast work. It is seldom easy (as anyone who has been a parent can attest!). Yet it is certainly more productive, by far, than pure criticism.

Part of what makes this slow, sure work of discipleship and Christian formation successful is found in the last verse. Paul says, “I’m not asking you to do anything which I’m not already doing myself.” Paul realizes that one of the biggest ways he can steer his congregation away from the wrong, is by modeling the right.

We all need good role models. They inspire us. They instruct us. They point us in the right direction.

As Christians, we need to model our lives after Christ. Humanly speaking, one of the ways we do so is by patterning our own lives after those who model their lives after Christ. As they follow Jesus, and we follow them, we end up following the Lord together.

Q-Who are your role models?

Q-Do you serve as a role model for anyone?

Consider these questions carefully. We must always resist the temptation to tell others how to do something better, without sticking around and helping them achieve that goal. Otherwise, we are a cheap critic. Instead, strive to become the one who cares, and not the one who criticizes. Our world needs love, not criticism. Resist the temptation to tell others what to do. Instead, do what Christ wants you to do: show compassion and patience, grounded in love. Love is the only force which has ever changed the world for the better…

Prayer

Lord of love,

May I learn from the patient, loving care of Your son Jesus. When I am tempted to criticize, remind me that You call me to care. When I feel superior, remind me that I am called to love, rather than to judge. Transform me, and make me an instrument of Your love, and Your peace. May I be defined less by my harsh criticism, and more by my fierce love. I pray this prayer in the name of Your son, who expressed Your love for all of us sinners, Jesus Christ. Amen.


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