As someone who enjoys studying the Bible, enjoys putting the big picture together, and enjoys connecting the dots, knowledge is important to me. Not some gossippy knowledge of “who hit who” or a superior knowledge compared to the guy next to me. No, my interest is in a knowledge of God, His creation, His purposes, and how He intended life to work for us; humans created in His image.
God values knowledge. God values the mind. He instructs us to study to show ourselves approved, to be transformed by the renewing of our mind, and to love God with all our mind. But as valuable as knowledge is, it pales in comparison to love. The great chapter on love, I Corinthians 13, makes this point clear. If I possess great speech, great giftedness, great knowledge, or great faith, but do not have love, it is useless. It is that simple. Giftedness, work, knowledge; they all are of no value without love. Love trumps them all.
This issue is important because in our effort to be knowledgable, truthful, honest, and exact in our Christianity, love is often pushed aside. Roberta Bondi writes, “How often do we injure another person in small or great ways because, remembering that it is important to be truthful, we forget that truthfulness is only a virtue on the road to love, not an end in itself.”
Has this been your experience in your marriage, your family, your Christian community? You have blurted something out in an effort to be truthful, without intentional ill-will, only to realize then or later the harm it caused. Of course, maybe ill-will was your intention, hiding it under a cloak of “speaking truthfully”. Or maybe you have been on the receiving end of such action. Paul writes, “And beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity” (Col 3:14).
Love is the bond of unity. Love is the bond of peace. Love is the bond of service. Not just in the church, but in all our personal relationships. Let your love be without hypocrisy (Rom 12:9), and remember the practice of love supersedes making a point about what you know.