Broken World Love

…we know that ‘all of us possess knowledge.’ Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.  Anyone who claims to know something does not yet have the necessary knowledge; but anyone who loves God is known by him. - 1 Corinthians 8:1-3

I had a discussion with two church members about one of the divisive or hot topics of the day. In some ways, it doesn’t matter what the topic was. Think of the one that gets you most riled up or most sends your friends into indignation. Got it? Pretend that’s the one.

The two church members disagreed about the issue.  To their credit, they disagreed very respectfully. But they still disagreed so they asked me where I came down on the issue.  I decided to sidestep the question and exit the conversation as gracefully as possible. In retrospect, I think I avoided the argument because I still wasn’t sure that it mattered where I came down on the issue until I could figure out how I would come down.

This Sunday, we looked at Paul’s letter to the Corinthians where he addressed one of the hot topics of his day. The first thing he said about it was, “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.” Before giving an answer as to where he came down on the issue, Paul wanted to make sure that the Corinthians knew how they came down mattered most.

When we move in knowledge alone, even if we are right, we move with the temptation to lift ourselves and lower others. “We value truth and justice,” we tell ourselves.  Maybe we do.  But justice and truth are not best served by knowledge that puffs up.  They are best served by love that builds up.  Forgiveness, reconciliation, and healing are the fruit of love.

So, I have been trying to figure out how to engage in the polarizing issues of the day in love. I am trying to be sad rather than mad.  I am trying to avoid pointing out other people’s faults and instead listen to their pain. I am trying to love. And it is in the loving that God is most clearly known through me.

Jesus, we thank you for the ways you love us no matter where we stand. We thank you for your grace that reconnects and forgives. We want to be people who move in your love. Help us to engage with even the difficult things of our world in ways that build up the people around us. This… so that we might be part of the healing, grace, and love you offer to us all. In Jesus’ name, amen.


Keenan BarberMonday Message