Can Knowledge Help or Hurt Our Relationships?
Updated: 5 days ago
Last Sunday we began our Relationships series. This annual series gives us eight practical tips for healthy relationships -- which are a core value of cfParis. No matter what kind of events or strategies we use to grow cfParis, intentionally building healthy relationships will always be a part of who we are.
It is important to point out that the goal of any series or message is not purely knowledge. The Apostle Paul warns us about purely knowledge...
Before I continue, knowledge is important. We need to understand the world around us. We should not ever stop being curious. We should study ways to make things better. We need to learn how things work. However, sometimes we can latch on to an idea, such as "knowledge puffs up" and create a whole doctrine out of it. A doctrine that would state something like this: "We shouldn't pursue knowledge because it makes us prideful;" but this would be in error as that single statement compared to the rest of the Biblical text would certainly show us knowledge is not discouraged. On the contrary, knowledge is encouraged, it's just not the point. The ultimate goal is love. Knowledge, in and of itself, can distract us from compassion and empathy. Here is another way to look at it. Knowledge is an important building material, it's just not as important as faith, hope, or love. However, it is still a material needed to complete the project.
Anyway, Paul warns us in 1 Corinthians 8:
Now regarding your question about food that has been offered to idols. Yes, we know that “we all have knowledge” about this issue. But while knowledge makes us feel important, it is love that strengthens the church. 2 Anyone who claims to know all the answers doesn’t really know very much. (NLT)
His response to the Corinthian church about how they should treat certain foods can be a pattern for us in things that are difficult to understand and difficult to solve.
Relationships can be difficult to understand and can contain problems that are difficult to solve. That's why we develop principles for good relationships. But the goal is not just to know eight good principles. The goal is to intentionally work out our relationships in such a way that love shines through. The principles can be looked at as practical steps toward greater love. Notice how the word "steps" calls us to action. Knowing stuff helps; but if we do not use that knowledge in actionable ways, it will not produce love in our lives. James, the brother of Jesus, puts it this way:
But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. (James 1:22 NLT)
When we get distracted by the material that helps us complete our project, the project suffers. If we do not put the things we know into practice, what good will it produce? Knowing principles can only be helpful when we put those principles into practice. Otherwise we might think we are great at relationships when others around us experience us very differently.
Over the next several weeks we can talk about the 8 Principles for Good Relationships in more detail; and we will link to them from here. But for now let's make a decision to actually use the knowledge we gain to nurture love in our relationships. Next week, we will take a look at the approach or the attitude we should have as we work on our relationships.