Knowing and Loving
There is a very high priority placed on education in our culture. Actually, the attainment of knowledge is valued in every culture of which I am aware. Unfortunately, as with all things earthly, this goal of "knowing" has become an idol of the worst sort. Not only do we tend to worship the process of attaining knowledge, once having done so- we begin to worship ourselves! This has likely always been the case since the fall of man, and is why the Apostle Paul writes these inspired words to the Corinthian Christians:
1 Corinthains 8:1 ...We know that “We all possess knowledge.” But knowledge puffs up while love builds up. 2 Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know. 3 But whoever loves God is known by God.
Now, on the surface, it may appear as though Paul's statement itself is one of sinful intellectual arrogance. Nothing could be further from the truth. In the midst of his writing to his brotheres and sisters at Corinth, it is abundantly clear that his primary goal is their spiritual welfare and not his own self-aggrandizement. His patience and compassion are clearly seen for the mere fact that he does not abandon his troublesome brethren altogether!
The Corinthian Christians were a messy bunch to be sure! Materially focused, intellectually arrogant and spiritually superficial- it would have been easy (maybe even justifiable) for Paul to simply turn his back and walk away from these people! But they were more than "people" they were members of God's family- Paul's own brothers and sisters in Christ! When working in Russia years ago, one of my fellow Russian brothers told me: "You can choose your friends, but you are stuck with your family members!". That statment rings frequently in my ears!
Paul loved his troubling Corinthian brothers and sisters. His ministry goal among them was simple: to bring them to maturity in Christ. He knew they were wrong in so many areas, and he wanted them to get their minds right- not to make himself look good, but for them to become genuinely good.
The pure and righteous goal of knowledge is always that it might benefit others in its dissemination. Knowing more carries with it the responsibility to build others up in light of what is known. Brandishing knowledge like a weapon with the intent to push others down is evil.