1 Corinthians 13:11 is a beautiful verse and has been one of the more challenging verses for me to think about. “When I was a child / I spoke as a child / I thought like a child / I reasoned like a child. / When I became a man, / I put aside childish things.”
Obviously, part of the reason I’m obsessing here is in the expectation of the baby boy coming along in July.
(We found out yesterday that it was boy and I shall call him MINI ME! … well maybe not. We’ll come back to that one)
See I’ve never really worried about what it meant to be a man. I’ve thought about it in an abstract, “isn’t that an interesting thought” kind of way. The only time that I have really thought about it was during the ICSEX blogging marathon and even then I answered the question of “what it means to be a man” (which was answered eventually by 1 cor 16:13-14). The question I’m asking myself now is, “what are the childish things I must put aside?”
The question now is not about my identity or how I understand myself as a person, but one of maturity. Paul could have easily written “When I became grown, / I put aside childish things.” But what exactly are the childish things? What does it mean to do something like a child? And I’ve been sitting on this question for days now because it just isn’t clear. On the one hand we’re called to be MORE childlike, to love and trust like children. But on the other hand we’re called to mature and grow, and trade milk for meat (which is really good for us lactose intolerant types).
So here’s what I’m thinking, and I really hope anyone who reads this will give me some feedback on it. Feely loving in wisdom is the greatest, most difficult thing possible. Or maybe knowledge instead of wisdom but you get the idea. To see someone imperfectly, to know them only partially instead of fully (which only Jesus can do) and still love them, IN FULL KNOWLEDGE that they will fall and fail you at some point… this requires putting aside the childish things of this world like guarantees, promises, and judgements.
You can’t say things like “I’ll love you if you love me.” You can’t think “It’s not fair” or “but (s)he started it.” These are the things a child does, these are the things that come out of childish reasoning. These are the things we must put aside for the sake of trust and love.
Faith, Hope, and Love. Nothing there about promises or guarantees. Nothing about equality or fairness. Just faith, hope, and love.