The Tragedy of the Loveless Mind
Lately, I’ve been immersing myself with lots of materials that I can learn from. I’ve been studying the Bible, reading books and blogs, and watching sermons online. The time I spent on these made me more knowledgeable. I’m now in a better position, theologically and intellectually speaking. Indeed, there was an increase of knowledge.
Is this good or bad? Both!
While an increase in knowledge had certainly equipped me for life and ministry, there were struggles that come with it. These include pride and lovelessness. I’m often tempted to showcase my intellectual capacity to others, parading myself intellectually superior than them. If I find them intellectually inferior, I become indifferent to them. So where is humility and love in this?
I’m reminded of 1 Corinthians 8, but I’d like to focus on verse 1b:
1…This “knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up.
Let me just give a brief background. The Corinthians had lived their entire lives practicing idol worship until they came to the Lord. It used to be their practice to offer food to the idols. Some of the more mature Christians knew that there were no such things as idols. They were theologically right.
However, these “mature” believers were pressuring the weaker ones to eat the meat offered to the idols. The weaker ones were not comfortable with that idea. As the mature did so, they were “sinning against [their weaker] brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak” and were sinning against Christ (v.12). Look at what the mature believers’ knowledge have done to their brothers!
We may be theologically sound. We may have won a debate. We may have destroyed an argument. We may have defended the truth well. But at the same time also hurt a brother, lose a witness, and sin against God. This is what I call the tragedy of the loveless mind.
The apostle Paul made a resolve:
13Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.
It doesn’t matter if he wouldn’t eat meat, even though there are no theological issues with it—no such thing as idols. All he was thinking was how he can love his brothers. So let’s use our minds, our knowledge, our intellect, to love others.
Heavenly Father. Please save me from the clutches of intellectual pride and lovelessness towards others. Help me use whatever knowledge you have blessed me with to love them. For knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. And as I commit myself to loving others with my mind, may I give glory to Your Name. In Jesus’ name, Amen.