September 20, 2020

Love and Not Knowing

1 Corinthians 13

Now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

—  1 Corinthians 13:12

This chapter of the Bible has often been read at weddings. Its poetic description of love is so universal that people everywhere are encouraged and strengthened by its message.

The word for “love” in this chap­ter is the Greek word agape, which describes the deep­est love we can imagine. This is pure, unconditional love, for which we would give up our life to save another. This kind of love is the truest expression of “dying to live.”

The apostle Paul explains here that love is more important than all the other things we can do. And if we do anything without love, it means nothing.

He also talks about knowing only “in part” and about someday knowing “fully.” In other words, there’s a lot we don’t know yet.

What does not knowing have to do with love? Two thoughts come to mind: (1) the older I get, the more I realize how much I don’t know; and (2) the more certain I am of something, the freer I feel to judge others who don’t have the same certainty. The problem with that, of course, is that the freer I feel to judge, the less loving I become.

An 80-year-old woman said to me, “For most of my life I wanted to be right. Now I’ve finally realized that being loving is much more important.”

Lord, you know all things. We don’t. Help us to trust you to know what’s best, and to share your love with everyone for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

About the author — Syd Hielema

Syd Hielema serves the Christian Reformed Church in North America as director of a ministry project called Connections II. He has also served with Faith Formation Ministries, as a professor of theology and youth ministry at Dordt University in Sioux Center, Iowa, and as a chaplain and professor at Redeemer University in Ancaster, Ontario. Syd has been married to Evelyn for 43 years, and they enjoy bird watching near their home in Ancaster.

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