In Paul’s epistle to Titus, he gives some advice about love that is good for believers of all ages:
“…be…sound…in charity…” (Titus 2:2).
The word “sound” means strong, healthy, and wholesome (cf. Isa. 1:5,6), and all of God’s people should aspire to be sound in “charity,” the Bible word for love in action. But that can be difficult when the ones we love test our charity. That’s why it interests me that another definition of “sound” is to strike something to see if it is whole, based on the sound it makes when you strike it.
When I worked in my father’s tool and die shop many years ago, I worked with a surface grinding machine that had a grinding wheel that was two feet in diameter and spun at several thousand revolutions per minute. If the wheel was cracked and unsound, it could fly apart at that speed and take out your eye, or even end your life. But you can’t tell if a grinding wheel is unsound just by looking at it. So my dad taught me how to test the wheel before mounting it on the machine by putting my fingers in the hole in the middle of the wheel, balancing it in my hand, and striking it with a brass hammer. If it made a clunk sound, that meant it was cracked and dangerous. If it made a ping sound, then it was healthy and whole.
Similarly, if you want to know if you are sound “in charity,” just wait to see how you react when people you love strike out at you when you offer them charity. When I was a painting contractor, a lady hired me to paint her parents’ home—while they were away on vacation. She wanted to surprise them by doing something nice for them. But I remember she was very apprehensive about how her charity might be received. She knew that the old saying, “No good deed goes unpunished,” is often true.
But that’s how you can know if you are sound in charity. If someone lashes out at you for giving it, and you continue steadfast in charity, that’s how you know you’ve achieved the brass ping, so to speak.
As you can see, true love isn’t easy, but it’s the kind of love God gives us as His children. His love for us remains steadfast, even when we lash out at Him. It’s the definition of true love, and it’s the kind of love God wants us to show all the ones we claim we love. Do you?