Rejoice in truth and not in iniquity

Brenda Cannon Henley

Verse 6 of 1 Corinthians 13 is important when we are working on developing and strengthening the love we have for God and for each other. I have always loved the verse that says so clearly that we love Him because He first loved us. How true that is in earthly relationships, too. It is much easier to love someone who loved us first or loved us best. When you walk into a new situation, the mind quickly focuses on the first person who reached out to welcome you or to be your friend.

I have always tried to teach my children to find the person with few friends, or who looks to need some help and encouragement, and go to them rather than the leader of the pack or the campus king or queen. Everyone needs a friend and someone to believe in them, and especially so when they might be feeling a bit unsure of themselves or their surroundings. I will never forget when I first came to The Examiner in Texas over a decade and a half ago from a newspaper in Georgia. I did not know what to expect and looking around the newsroom, I realized I was older than many and did not know how I would fit in with this new crowd. I was in a new place in my life and out of my normal comfort zone.

I appreciated three people that reached out to me and offered me friendship, instruction as to how things were done there and helped with directions until I could find my way around town. We became friends and spent many happy hours together and helped each other through tough spots. We worked together and played together, and I love them to this day and appreciate their love for me. 

Incidentally, there was another group there that wasn’t very kind to me. I was given labels and called names, and not invited to share gossip, lunches and other trivial matters. I kept my peace, worked hard and made other friends, and in a course of about four years, each one of this group came to me at a different time and with a different incident and asked me what I thought about a matter or to pray with them. One who had called me a “Bible thumper” and “an old lady” and broadcast loudly that I would never make it in this tough business had to eat a bit of crow when I won a first place award for Investigative Journalism.

My editor had allowed me to pursue and write a series on consensual teenage sex and its consequence, and I interviewed 52 families that had a registered sex offender in their family. It was an eye-opening experience. We stuck with this story and went all the way to Austin with two district attorneys and many parents trying to get this law corrected. God saw that we had worked hard and He honored our commitment. I was so happy to travel to Oklahoma City with my editor to bring home the first place trophy.

Love helps us not to rejoice in iniquity or the hard times that others have, but to rejoice in truth. “Schadenfreude” is a German word that means “to derive pleasure from someone else’s misfortune,” and fits well with the command not to rejoice in iniquity. We have to work on that at times and not gloat when we think someone is being punished that deserved it for bad things they have said or done. If we can keep reminding ourselves and those we love to rejoice only in truth, we will have met this commandment found in the love chapter, 1 Corinthians 13.

I believe that if we sow seeds of love and kindness, pray about the matters, work hard, and trust God, He will work out the details. The problem for me is that I am impatient. I want it now. I want to see it happen. I want to help make it happen. God’s timing is not our timing. He works on His own schedule and certainly not mine or yours.  Give God time and space to work and wait patiently. A friend wrote me last week about a matter that had hurt her feelings terribly. She said something like, “I know God knows what He is doing, but I surely wish He would hurry up.” I reminded her that His time is not our time. She countered with, “Well, if He won’t fix the problem, I am going to ask Him to let me drive the karma bus and at least see the misery when it does happen.” We laughed, but in reality, folks do live like this.

Let’s be loving family members, employees, friends, neighbors and community members.

Brenda Cannon Henley can be reached at (409) 781-8788 or at brendacannonhenley [at] yahoo [dot] com.