LOVE Seeks Another's Best Interest
In the English language we have only a single word for “love” and we use it for too many things. A person could say, “I love my dog.” Another could say, “I love to eat French fries. I love to eat chicken.” Someone else could say, “I love my wife.” Now are those three the same thing? Is loving a wife the same as loving a chicken? I hope not! But we use the same word.
In the Greek language, several words are used for love. When Jesus uses the word love, it’s often the Greek word, agapé. Agapé means to seek the best interest of the other person. It means that I care about the other person and want what’s best for that person. So, is it really best for him if I let him exploit me? I don’t think so. That can make the other person selfish or lazy or self-centered. I’m actually hurting the other person if I let them exploit me. So, loving them would be telling them “No.” The standard is that as best as we can, with the wisdom of Jesus, we always look for the thing that will actually help the other person.
And doing that may make the relationship difficult. It may make it hurt. If I’m afraid of insulting a person or afraid of making my child not like me, I may be tempted to not say something about how they dress or how they behave. But if I really love them and want only what is the very best for them, then I won’t want to leave things in their life that make them unlike Jesus. I won’t want them to have things that make them distant from Jesus or make them like the world. I don’t want to leave things alone that are harming them, so I’m willing to risk my relationship with them to say something.
It happens with our children and it has to happen with each other, too. We actually risk something and decide, “I care more about you, brother or sister, than about my own relationship with you. I’m willing to put my relationship with you on the line, even if it means you may not like me anymore. I’m going to tell you the truth because you need to know the truth and because I love you more than I love my relationship with you.” That’s very important.
Faithful are the wounds of a friend.
It is happening here where there is a certain group and they belong to each other closely like a family. Because they love so much, the tendency is to ignore the sins they commit.
That’s not love. Do you see that’s not love?
They say they cover others’ sins because “I love them.”
But sin trashes her or his relationship with God. So I’m willing to let them ruin their relationship with God, so that we can be friends? That’s not loving at all. If I love them I want them to have the best possible relationship with God, which means I have to help them pull the weeds. And if I won’t help them pull the weeds, then I am making my relationship with them more important than their relationship with God, and that’s not love at all.
That’s selfishness. It’s carnal sympathy. It’s protecting “me” and not caring.
It’s even happening in the church here. Some of the leaders want to protect a believer because he or she is a leader. They don’t want to expose their sins because they are leaders.
As far as trying to embarrass someone publicly, we would never want to do that. But at the same time, the Scriptures say that those who continue in sin have never seen Him or known Him (1John 3:6). The Scriptures say that everyone who claims to be in Him must walk as Jesus walked (1John 2:6). The Scriptures say everyone who has this hope purifies himself, just as He is pure (1John 3:3)
If a person is living in sin, I don’t want to expose them in a way that makes them embarrassed or anything like that. But I do want them to have a relationship with God. “Who can ascend God’s holy hill? Those with clean hands and a pure heart” (Psalm 24:3-4). If we want to help someone have a relationship with God and ascend God’s holy hill, we have to help them have clean hands and a pure heart. So, it is not love to ignore their sin. It’s not love to embarrass, dishonor, or humiliate them either. But it’s not love to ignore their sin. “Faithful are the wounds of a friend” (Prov. 27:6).
Hebrews 12 says if we won’t bring training or discipline then we don’t have love at all. Because Father loves us, He disciplines us. If He won’t discipline us then we’re not even His children at all. So if I love you, but I refuse to bring any teaching or truth that would help you change, then I don’t love you at all.
And you don’t love the body either, because a little leaven will leaven the whole lump. You may claim to love that person, but you don’t really love the other fifty people who are being leavened by that relationship and sin that is allowed to continue there. A little leaven will leaven the whole lump.