Page 3 - April 2017 - Truth & Tidings
P. 3

The eloquent ode to charity contained              the inconsistencies, to look at the good that
         in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians is    believers do and to smell evil. The gift of
         typically read at weddings, golden        “discernment” likely ended in the apostolic
anniversaries, and similar functions. Yet          period. We are to “judge nothing before
its contextual meaning relates to believers        the time” (1Cor 4:5). Paul is obviously not
in Corinth learning to love one another            making a sweeping statement forbidding
and to live with one another. Others have          judgment, since, in the very next chapter,
pointed out quite well how every problem           he urges the assembly to judge the sin in
in the assembly would have been solved             their midst. But 1 Corinthians 4 is about
if the principles of chapter 13 had been           motives; that which we cannot see. It is the
in operation. The four issues dealt with           tendency to immediately ascribe wrong
in verse 7, the “four quarters of love’s           to someone’s actions and motives (based
compass,” are vital for our preservation,          on our discerning of their “real” intent).
and our reflecting of the character of God         It is assuming the worst in what someone
as an assembly: “Charity … beareth all             says and immediately running with it and
things, believeth all things, hopeth all           ringing alarm bells. Chicken Little learned
things, endureth all things.”                      long ago that the sky was not really falling!

  Due to both space and burden, I will limit         Another might object and say, “But
myself to only one of these four compass           what if there is evil in their motive, if there
points – that love believes all things. This       is something sinister afoot?” Paul told
does not suggest a gullibility which refuses       Timothy, in a slightly different context,
to accept evidence to the contrary when a          “Some men’s sins are open beforehand,
wrong has been perpetrated. It does not            going before to judgment; and some men
extol a naïveté which fails to recognize           they follow after” (1Tim 5:24). Perhaps
that each of us still has within us a nature       we have lost more believers and polarized
which is capable of evil and wrong. There          others by our rush to judgment than we
is no virtue in blindness to evil; in fact, love,  have lost by allowing some men’s sins
by its very nature, must confront evil in          to “follow” after. Blatant evil must be
the object of its love for that person’s own       confronted, as all the second epistles in
blessing.                                          our NT reveal, but are we called to be
                                                   detectives, trying to uncover evil in every
  What then is meant by the fact that love         word and action of another believer?
“believes all things?” Most scholars and
commentators are agreed that the thought             Love sees the best in another, says the
involved in the verse is that love always          best about another, seeks the best for
assumes the best motive and intention in           another, and speaks the best to another
another’s action, and not the worst.               (1Cor 13:5-7). “Against such there is no
                                                   law” (Gal 5:23).
  It is a wrong concept of spirituality that
defines it as the ability to see evil in everyone
and to be able to dissect motives and see

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