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Articles

Love Believes All Things

Love Believes All Things

By Paul R. Blake

            “Love believes all things” (1Cor. 13:7). It believes good things about a brother until there is clear evidence, not clear suspicion, that we should not be bearing silently with him and believing all things. There is a difference between clear evidence and suspicion that merely seems clear to us. Barnes writes: “In regard to the conduct of others, there is the disposition to put the best construction on it.” When someone says or does something, we know and love that person to the extent that we’re going to spin his or her words and actions the best way we can. We are going to view it in the best light possible, rather than begin to doubt and wonder.  We are going to believe that they are actuated by good motives; they meant well, regardless of how well they expressed or conducted themselves, because we know that they mean well and intend no injury.

            “There is a willingness to suppose as far as can be that what is done is done consistently with friendship, good feeling, and virtue” (Barnes). We know that our brothers and sisters did this because we know them and believe the best in them regarding this matter; we know this because we love each other. Love produces this condition because it rejoices in the happiness and virtue of others. It doesn’t judge nor is it suspicious of the virtue of others. Because of our relationship in Christ, it assumes the virtuousness of others, rejoicing over it. John wrote: “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth” (3John 4).

            We rejoice that our fellow disciples are our fellow disciples. This joy enhances our love for them, enabling us to say: “They have the very best motives at heart; they are doing their best; they are doing this because of the goodness of our relationship.” And, we will not believe the contrary about them without irrefutable evidence. Love believes all things.

Why is There No Joy without Sorrow?

By Paul R. Blake

            (A brother wrote to me of wonderful news that was followed the next day with sorrow that seemed to undo all of the earlier good. He was troubled by the activity of Satan that causes so much pain. A couple decided to obey the gospel, truly a cause for rejoicing. But before they were baptized, it came to light that he was involved in an unscriptural divorce. They chose to remain together rather than obey the Gospel. I wrote what follows in response.)

            The Adversary is truly the god of this world ruling in the hearts of men and spreading sorrow everywhere his slimy, stinking influence extends. Hell will be particularly hard on him, as he had aspirations of ruling and will instead find himself living eternally in Perdition with the results of his activity in this world. As one brother put it in a Bible class: "The Devil is not going to spend eternity in hell laughing."

            The truly tragic aspect of all of this is the sorrow of billions of souls he hurts in this world. Please understand that he could not do any of this without human cooperation. Everyone can say "NO" to him, but they often choose to do otherwise. A great irony that they must be taught to face is this: they are choosing to spend eternity with the very being who led them into the choices that are causing them pain in this world.

            There is no joy experienced in this world that the Adversary does not try to undo with sorrow. There will be no lasting joy in this life without sorrow, at some point, following soon after. Nearby, a young couple is rejoicing in the infancy of their second child, and the first is taken away by an unexpected illness. A teenaged boy with a brilliant mind and a full scholarship to a prestigious university is assaulted and beaten to death in a subway restroom. An evangelist spends a lifetime influencing others for Christ, and then destroys his work with a single act of adultery. A local church experiences growth and peace, and seemingly out of nowhere a trusted brother embraces error and leads away a faction. Why!? What beneficial lesson for us comes of this evil activity of our Adversary!?

            Joy teaches us to press for heaven, and sorrow reminds us that if we do not, hell will not be a tolerable alternative. Created in the image of God and knowing good from evil, we strongly desire to hold onto joy and make it last, and we try to avoid sorrow, fending it off with all of our limited power. And yet, it is not about how long we make the joy last or how strongly we fight off the sorrow; it is about the grace with which we conduct ourselves in our joy or in our sorrow. Paul knew how to live with the jolting extremes of joy and sorrow: “I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need” (Phil. 4:12).

            Joy does not stay for long and sorrow comes and goes, but what will remain in this world and for all of eternity is the honor and grace we manifested in both states. I recently learned of a WWII B29 bomber pilot who survived 32 missions only to be stricken in his old age with neuropathy. He conducted himself with the same honor in the midst of the disease as he did in the skies over Berlin. There is a reason why such a man would face his sorrow with grace: God gave him a long life when the rest of his squadron was killed over Berlin. He was not going complain to Him when he goes the way of all flesh. Clearly, it’s not about how much life we get to live; it's about how we live the life we are given.

            Solomon told us that everything has a season, and joy and sorrow are not excluded from this. By definition, “seasons” come and go. Joy will not linger in this world, and sorrow will pass on as something else replaces it. There is only one place designed to maintain a state of unending joy -- heaven. There is only one place of eternal sorrow -- hell. Doing the will of God leads to the first; yielding to the tempting lies of our Adversary leads to the second. We cannot choose to have lasting joy in this world, but in this world we can choose to have lasting joy in the world to come.

A Moments Wisdom: It’s Either This or That

--I would rather have people laugh at my frugality than to weep at my extravagance.

--You will either become good at sowing in the Spring, or you will learn how to become good at begging in the Fall.

--Don’t be afraid to ask silly questions; they are easier to handle than dumb mistakes.

--A good way to forget your troubles is to help others out of theirs.

--If you can laugh at it, you can live with it.

--The optimist has no brakes; the pessimist has no motor.

--Death is not a period but a comma in the story of life.

--The test of a good teacher is not how many questions he can ask his pupils that they will answer readily, but how many questions he inspires them to ask him which he finds it hard to answer.

Test Your Bible Knowledge of Solomon’s Aging Metaphors (Ecc. 12:2-6)

1. What are the “keepers of the house”? __________

2. What is meant by the “sound of grinding is low”? __________

3. What are the “daughters of music”? __________

4. What is meant by “when the almond tree blossoms”? __________

5. What is meant by “those that look through the windows grow dim”? __________

6. What is meant by “one rises up at the sound of a bird”? __________

Upcoming Sermons

11/14/21 AM - Beneath the Cross of Jesus; PM - Love Hurts

11/21/21 AM - Is My Name Written There?; PM - Gaius My Host

11/28/21 AM - How Jesus Changed the World; PM - The Beam in My Own Eye

  1. Wed PM Bible Study
    12/8/21 07:30pm
  2. Sun AM Bible Study
    12/12/21 09:30am
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  4. Sun PM Worship
    12/12/21 05:00pm
  5. Wed PM Bible Study
    12/15/21 07:30pm
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