Summary: What would happen to our world if we had knowledge but no love to guide us? What happens to us when we focus on Godly knowledge but love does not motivate us to share our wisdom?
Knowledge without love? WHO GETS THE GLORY?
Where would we be if we had great knowledge but no love? Imagine if our entire generation decided that knowledge was all that mattered. What would be the result? We would know how to operate using all our medical skill but, we would not care enough about people to cure them. We would know how to cultivate the best crops but, would not make an effort to feed the poor. We would study from the minds of our greatest teachers but, would not bother to teach. We would use our intellect to amass great storehouses of wealth but, we would never donate. If we created a generation that cared only about knowledge and not about love, then eventually our world would cease to exist because we would know how to create life but we would choose not to do so. We would know how to fight and choose to destroy, for there would be no love or compassion to council our actions. We would create the greatest of technologies, polluting our atmosphere in the process because we would not care about the consequences and we would have great ambition with no restraint and no pause for our fellow man.
Knowledge divorced from love is a dangerous thing. One does not need Scripture verses to help us with this insight. We just have to look at our society and we can easily see how knowledge without Godly love has damaged our land. Our society continues to create new technologies or products at the expense of our fellow man. Cigarettes are still created knowing that the product damages the body, drugs are advertised knowing that some side effect could permanently damage someone. People still consummate their love but choose to kill the unborn outcome and our society continues to look down upon anyone that can not afford a car, a home or a decent meal. Great knowledge is the battle cry for ridding ourselves of prayer in school, the Ten Commandments in our courtrooms and even the pledge of allegiance. Even marriage is attacked on behalf of knowledge for with unrestrained thought supposedly comes worldly enlightenment that puts man first and God totally out of the picture.
Knowledge gained to fuel ones pride and not to better facilitate one’s service to God and neighbor is foolishness and vanity. Paul clarifies this thought when he says, “We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up! As a child I remember hearing my classmates yell, “I know something you don’t know”. They were proud of the fact that they were one up on others. There was no love in their tone. I am not sure anyone taught them to express their knowledge in this way. I know WHAT taught them though. Sin! When I was a child, I am sure I felt a little bit more superior then others when I knew something someone else did not. As I grew older I had classmates make sure they showed everyone how they earned an A+ when the rest of us earned “B’s”. Pride was the ruler in that example, not love. Now we would think that when we became mature adults things would be different from childhood. Owning knowledge for the sake of knowledge and comparing what we know to what others know (you would think) would not be a factor. Yet when talking about other denominations that do not agree with what we agree with in scripture, I hear a sense of pride in owning knowledge that others do not have. Sometimes judgment is rendered upon anyone that might think differently. Just like that Pharisee who once prayed, “thank you Lord that I am not like that so and so”, so often we have that same response.
Have you ever fallen into an argument about a doctrine of Christ? I will confess to you right now that I am not a fan of the Lutheran publication Christian News, because many of their articles are based on lording knowledge and opinion over others. Yes, if people are in error we are called to correct them. But what does God tell us to correct them in…anger, wisdom, rude behavior or love? So this discussion that Paul leads us into today is one that must be heard by all Christians because without love we are nothing.
Knowledge is a great thing but without love we are a clanging symbol. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. When you and I come to church to not only worship the Lord but also to study His Word, that of course is a wonderful thing. But love must be present as we study the Word of God or else all we will ever do is study to gain wisdom for ourselves. When love is added, then we come to study God’s Word with purpose. Our purpose is to learn how to take that Word to others. Our purpose is also to learn more about Gods Word so that we have more to knowledge share. Yet when we share that knowledge, Paul guides us in how to go about it.