Love does not delight in evil.
Evil takes on many forms. It can be seductive and alluring. It can present itself as entertaining and harmless. It can make us feel good for a moment. In the end though, evil in any form is destructive.
The devil is constantly at work all around us; purposing to drive a wedge between us and God. That is evil.
Humans are twisted creatures. We wish harm to come to others. We participate in inflicting damage upon them. We enjoy knowing someone has reaped the consequences of their actions. These tend to be people who have wronged us in some way. This too, is evil, and yet, we’re all guilty of it.
Put yourself in this scenario. Think about a time that someone reaped a consequence of their own actions and you delighted in knowing that they got what was coming to them. You can admit to doing it, all of us have at some point. You, whether you knew it or not, were condoning the wrongdoing because you praised the results. That’s not love.
Love, instead, would mourn that the person had made an unwise choice and saw things play out badly. Love would seek to bring the person to righteousness through truth. Then, when truth spoke into that person’s life, someone who loves them would be glad for them. Jonah didn’t get this one right. When he preached to the people of Ninevah, they repented and turned to God (Jonah 3:10-4:1). If he loved them, Jonah would have praised the Lord that these people had been saved from destruction. But instead he grumbled because he didn’t want the Ninevites to avoid God’s wrath. He would have rather they fall because of all their past sins. He didn’t know how to delight in truth.
The statement in 1 Corinthians 13 is full of meaning. Here are few of my thoughts as I read and re-read that statement (Love does not delight in evil):
- In love, we do not rejoice when we witness evil.
- In love, we do not find pleasure in seeing someone else come to harm.
- In love, we do not relish in knowing that someone is hell bound.
- In love, we do not desire wrong (actions, things, thoughts, etc.).
- In love, we do not eagerly partake in harmful behavior.
- In love, there is no delight in destruction.
Let me get one thing straight. Harm and destruction do happen, but love does not delight in it. Some will embrace evil and suffer its consequences, but love mourns their loss.
When we say love does not delight in evil, we mean that a loving person does not focus his/her attention on the wrongs others have committed against them. Love recognizes that only God knows the hearts of people. It does not hastily assume sinister intents lie behind another’s actions.
We are also called to be discerning. If we have strong evidence of evil, we must act accordingly. Even as we do this, we must be careful to be as impartial as possible in our evaluations of others.
Otherwise, we run the risk of rejoicing in wrongdoing, something Christian love would never do. When we quickly assume ill of others, we invite the temptation to gossip and slander. The human heart loves to hear salacious stories. In doing so, we end up rejoicing in evil – not truth.
I can’t help but think of the words Jesus said during His journey to the cross in Luke 23. Battered and beaten, abused and ridiculed, rejected and crucified…Jesus held on to love. He did not delight in the evil which they had embraced. He found no joy in knowing they did not know Him. He was not pleased to know they were bound for hell. He was filled with sorrow for the very same people who had placed Him on that cross. He mourned their ignorance of God’s love. He cried out for their forgiveness. He did that for you; He did that for me.
Thinking of that brings David Crowder’s renditions of How He Loves to mind. Enjoy the video – lyrics:
He is jealous for me, Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree
Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy
When all of a sudden I am unaware of these afflictions
Eclipsed by glory and I realize just how beautiful You are
And how great Your affections are for me
And oh, how He loves us, oh
Oh, how He loves us, how He loves us all
We are His portion; He is our prize
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes
If His grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking
And heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest
I don’t have time to maintain these regrets
When I think about the way…
What wondrous love! God’s love!
Just as He loves, we are called to love.
Scripture for encouragement today:
Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices. Colossians 3:9
But now you also, put them aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. Colossians 3:8
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.” Luke 23:34
Today’s Challenge: Remove anything that is “evil” from your relationships. Stop tallying up the wrongs people have committed against you. Forgive and let God love them through you.