I Cor 8: 1 Now concerning things sacrificed to idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies. 2 If anyone supposes that he knows anything, he has not yet known as he ought to know ; 3 but if anyone loves God, he is known by Him.
What?? Is it awful to have knowledge? Heck no. He also said that His people die for lack of knowledge. So seriously, what does this even mean? Switch the word “knowledge” for “being right”. These Christians knew that sacrificing to idols was useless and ungodly. How were they to respond to those who did it then? Well, throwing their knowledge into the faces of those who don’t makes them arrogant and they have surely missed the point. Loving those who don’t “get it” is how Jesus Christ lived. Note- love without truth is hypocrisy. Truth in love is cruelty. (Won’t be the first or the last time you’ve heard that one from me!) This doesn’t mean we hide the truth either, nor pretend that consequences don’t exist. But, we communicate these things in love.
Here’s the thing- if people were sacrificing to idols, they were seeking a god of some sorts. They were doing what they believed was right, even though they were not right. Meeting them at their god given desire for Him is our calling.
Who do we know that is on the wrong path? Do we treat them harshly because we know better? (Christians, too? Friends? Family?) Can we find in them anything that would tell us that they are seeking, that they are trying to do what is right? We need to attempt to see their heart and meet them there- not necessarily at the point of their words or actions or their misunderstandings. Most of use are only trying to get god given needs met in some form. What’s the need? How can Jesus meet it?
If we boast in what we know, puffed up and cocky in our knowledge, then we haven’t learned a thing. We have completely missed the humility of the cross. Ugh! “The greatest of these is love”, that’s what the Man said. Indeed, if we turn people away from our faith by being rude and arrogant in our knowledge, by being “right” (which feels oh soo, tooo, good) then we ourselves have much room for growth. Yet, if people turn away from the faith though we have revealed the truth, in love, then that turning is not on our heads- and this absolutely can happen.
This is an issue of our own hearts. Are we more concerned for ourselves or are we more concerned for the person in front of us? Do we love them enough to listen so that we can experience life through their eyes and find a way to meet them there or do we want to just bombard them with what we know, without consideration for their condition, their life experiences, their circumstances.
The other issue is this. The more we grow in our understanding of God and His ways, the more humble we become. The more humble we become, the more we realize how little we do know- because as we look in the rear view mirror, we understand that we knew much less back there than we thought we did. It has all evolved into greater fullness. It never stops as long as we seek.
Takeaway: Two things: 1. We aren’t to be puffed up, though knowing truth and things that God has revealed. But for the grace of God, we would be one of those who don’t know HIm. Humility is essential to representing Christ. Look at the cross. 2. The more we learn of Jesus through the years, the more we come to realize that His truth never changes but our understanding of it can and will evolve. Remain teachable.
Prayer: Dear Lord, please make me humble as You are humble. Help me to see others through Your eyes. Curb my desire to be “right” in relationships, but instead work through challenging circumstances with Your grace and peace. Cause me to be teachable. And Lord, most of all, please use me as your servant to reach the hearts of the lost. Amen.