EXHORTATION

1 Corinthians 13:7 says…

Love… believes all things

This means that Christians who are growing in love choose to believe the best in others. The word for believe is the same word we translate as “faith.” So, literally, love has all faith.

Believing all things means we give others the benefit of the doubt. We take one another’s word at face value. It means we open ourselves up fully to one another. We believe that even when someone hurts us it was an oversight, not a pre-meditated attack. 

Struggling to “believe all things” is marked by suspicion. You are quick to assume others will fail. You read deeper meaning into every conversation. You review the last interaction in your head, like instant replay of a football game… reinterpreting it from every possible angle. And you anticipate being hurt and you prepare your defenses in advance.

Every sin has consequences, and the choosing not to believe all things is costly. When we choose doubt over trust, we close ourselves off from others. We shut them out, and this, in turn, only feeds our false belief that they have rejected us.

More than anything, failing to “believe all things” is a failure to believe God. It fails to trust that God can actually sanctify people; that his grace and his love can make people trustworthy. When we doubt God’s people, we doubt God’s power to conform us to the image of Christ. 

Make no mistake, this kind of believing requires that we make a sacrificial choice. Vulnerability doesn’t come easy to any of us. We have all been hurt, and we know what it’s like to be hated. But we can’t allow the sin of one person to shade the way we treat all people. Obeying the commands of God always comes with risk and sacrifice. So, let us forget what lies behind and put away past betrayals. Let’s press on to what lies ahead, to the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

So, let’s confess our sin now.

CONFESSION

Father,

• We confess to you that we are suspicious people. 

• You have called us to believe all things, and yet we doubt most things. 

• We want people to believe the best about us, but we don’t do the same for them, and we’ve held our hearts back because we don’t trust anyone else. 

• We’ve given the appearance of interest in a conversation while we inwardly question motives. 

• We have wasted precious hours nursing false wounds because we allow our minds to swirl in fear and anxiety.

• We justify our suspicions by telling ourselves we’re just being cautious, but in honesty, we’re being faithless. 

• We’ve closed our hearts to those you’ve commanded us to love, and we’ve held onto past hurts as if they are our friends.

• We confess that when we in the church hold onto fear and suspicion we have taught the world that they can do the same.

Father, for all these sins and more, forgive us. Teach us to let go of fear and to believe all things. Give us the courage to be vulnerable with one another. Preserve us, in your grace, from drifting in fear. Help us to open up to one another, not fearing rejection, and being prepared to endure small offense for the sake of deeper community.

We know that if we say amen to these words, and yet we keep our individual sin hidden this prayer will be displeasing to you, and so we confess our individual sins now. Receive our prayers. We ask all this in the strong name of Jesus. Amen.

Please rise for the assurance of pardon.

ASSURANCE OF PARDON

22  I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud 

and your sins like mist; 

return to me, for I have redeemed you. 

Isaiah 44:22

Therefore, if you are connected to Jesus Christ by faith alone—then in Christ, your transgressions are blotted out, and your sins are forgiven.

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