Growing up in the late 60’s, I absolutely loved The Beatles. To this day, I recall their harmonization as they sang, “All You Need Is Love!” At the time, however, I thought of love as a flowery feeling that magically accepted everyone (unless they supported the war in Vietnam, of course). I had no clue that Biblical love demanded dying to self and standing with the Lord for His priorities.
Tuesday I began taking you through 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 to show how people — in this case, discernment bloggers and our critics — can exercise love even while disagreeing. I continued the discussion yesterday. Today I’d like to keep working through this well-known passage, including a clause that probably would have made The Beatles choke a bit.
Again, look at the Scripture with me:
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. ~~1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (ESV)
Love is not irritable or resentful. Man, you’d never know that from social media, would you? The incessant bickering and name-calling exposes a deplorable lack of love even among people who claim to be Christians. The irritability and resentment swells as everyone and her sister swings verbal punches at the slightest provocation.
Discernment bloggers should ask themselves if they are too easily offended by negative feedback on their blog posts. Sure it’s disheartening when multiple people who don’t even know a blogger accuse him of slander and lying or presume to know his motives (which of course are invariably evil). But does he respond with insults, passing equally unwarranted judgments on his critics? Does he answer sarcastically or refuse to publish their comments? Does he belittle them?
Do critics attack discernment bloggers in anger? Do they unleash emotional reactions without substantiating their reactions with properly used Scripture references? Are they so offended that they call the blogger names or try to discredit him? Do they question his salvation? Most importantly, do they post their comments in the heat of anger instead of pausing and making sure they’ve considered the blogger’s perspective?Are they too angry to carefully examine the blogger’s documentation?
Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. On this point, any sentimental idea of love completely disintegrates, torpedoing the Yellow Submarine. Love, we see, depends on the standards and truth of God’s Word.
A discernment blogger may tell herself that she’s upholding Scripture, but she’d better first measure herself against it. When a false teacher stumbles, does the blogger clap her hands in glee as she fires up her blog? If she then learns that the teacher didn’t stumble after all, does she conveniently neglect to write a retraction? Does the blogger in any way compromise her integrity for the sake of keeping the teacher in a bad light?
Do her critics defend the false teaching or sinful behavior of their preferred celebrity teacher? Do they twist Scripture or elevate feelings and peek experiences over the Word of God in their determination to exonerate the teacher? Are they more concerned with protecting the teacher or with fidelity to God’s Word? How is it loving to prefer falsehood to truth?
Godly love is much more defined than the supposed love that The Beatles envisioned 50 years ago. Yes, love is all you need. Just make sure that it’s the love described in the Bible.