Wednesday, 7 January 2015
…does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 1 Corinthians 13:6
In this verse a contrasting thought is given. This is similar to how many of the proverbs are structured. For example –
“Fools mock at sin,
But among the upright there is favor.” Proverbs 14:9
This is a way of showing both a negative and a positive side of the same thing. In the case of love, it “does not rejoice in iniquity.” In other words, love doesn’t revel in that which is wicked. When someone does something perverse, harmful, or deceitful, a person who is truly loving won’t stand back and applaud what they have seen. By doing so, they will only bolster the wicked intent of the wrongdoer and propel them on to more wickedness. The only possible result of this is a bad end.
Love also doesn’t rejoice in the consequences of wickedness. When a person is punished for their wickedness, (a possible outcome of the previous scenario), there should be no reveling in their downfall, but rather mourning and a desire for their restoration. Such is the nature of a loving attitude, even towards those who have acted in iniquity.
In contrast to this is that love “rejoices” in the truth. Where there is truth, love will rejoice in it, even if it is a tough pill to swallow. If someone’s child has committed iniquity, a truly loving parent will be more satisfied in their conviction and punishment than that they “gotten away” with their wrongdoing. This doesn’t mean there is a pleased demeanor in their punishment (which would belie what Paul just said in the previous point), but that it is better to see iniquity punished than for it to continue.
Also in this thought, Paul’s words are more correctly stated that love “rejoices with truth.” In other words, love and truth are being personified. This is a common biblical way of demonstrating to us the very character of these traits in a way that we can then apply to ourselves. A good example of such personification is found in the 85th Psalm –
“Mercy and truth have met together;
Righteousness and peace have kissed.” Psalm 85:10
Life application: Paul’s words today, if properly applied to our lives, will often ask us to act in a nature contrary to what our initial emotions may hint at. We wish to protect those we love, even if it means keeping them from some type of correction that they deserve. But in this, we are only harming them, not truly helping them. It is better to have the consequences of one’s actions meted out than to find them in an even worse position later because they didn’t learn their lesson the first time.
Lord, the loving path to take is often the most difficult one. When someone we love needs correction, we often want to protect them from it. But in the end they will fail to learn the necessary lesson and they will be sure to repeat the same mistake again. If this happens, things may turn out even worse than before. So Lord, help us to act in true love at all times, even when it is painful or heartbreaking. We ask this that Your people will stand approved before You, mature and properly instructed in life. Amen.