We are to love others, but we aren’t called to willy-nilly love everything about everyone and everything they do.
We aren’t called to love the SIN of others, nor simply ignore it and act like it never exists.
As I turn again to Philippians, Paul prayed for those reading his words (that’s us), for our “love to abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense, till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” (Phil 1:9-11)
Our love is to abound in knowledge and discernment.
In other words, our love is to be guided by knowledge and discernment
We are to be kind to everyone, but we are to love in a purposeful way, that promotes the ways of God in our lives and the lives of others.
The word “discernment” in this verse comes from a Greek word used only once (here) in the New Testament, and it means moral or ethical understanding and implies perception or insight into social situations.
This godly kind of love uses knowledge and discernment to promote the fruits of righteousness in ourselves and others to the glory and praise of God.
The Bible tells us, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, And he who is wise wins souls”. (Prov 11:30)
Our love should not only be emotional, but also purposeful; and our driving purpose should be the eternal well-being of those we care about.
The fact is, we can’t care too much about someone if we don’t care enough about them to talk to them about the destruction of sin left unchecked in their lives.
The Bible also says, “Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a disgrace to any people.” (Prov 14:34)
Friends, we are all feeling the effects of unchecked sin in our nation.
Sin is destroying individuals, families and our great country —perhaps in part because the church has lost her voice and we no longer love with purposeful knowledge and discernment but care more about being liked by this world than turning sinners from their ways (James 5:20) and laying up treasures in the next (Matt 6:19-20).
I get it. I like to be liked. I don’t enjoy conflict. I don’t like nasty comments and ugly private messages (and sometimes threats) I receive on social media.
BUT, I trust God more than I trust the fickle praise of men.
His Word is right and sin is always detrimental.
So, I will be a truth-teller. I will not shy away from the hard parts of Scripture. I will love others, but I will love them in a purposeful way that points them to Christ and the blessing of righteous living. That requires knowledge and discernment that comes, not from what feels right to us, but from the Word of God. That’s why we need to study it every day!
Is it easy? Nope. But is it worth it? Always.