Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.
Anyone who claims to know something does not yet have the necessary knowledge;
but anyone who loves God is known by him.
1 Corinthians 8:1-3
If what Paul says in First Corinthians is correct, then we have a lot of puffy people in the world. If knowledge – not just knowing something, but knowing you know something – puffs up, then how puffy and empty and full of ourselves we all can be.
We know a lot. We’re an information soaked sponge of a culture. It gives us the illusion of control and power. We feel safer because we not only know, but we know we know. We have degrees to prove it. We can outsmart colleagues and neighbors, family and strangers, supporters and enemies alike. And if not, and we feel threatened by their knowing and their knowing about their knowing, we can outsnark them and puff ourselves up on negative energy.
Love, though, is different. To love another person – accepting and caring for them without needing to change them first – means letting go of control, moving out into open waters, and letting the winds take you where they will. Love is about knowing you don’t know much of anything, but you are willing to be a beginner, a student of life. Love is when your ego deflates and you don’t mind because it’s finally not about you, and you discover what a relief that is.
The real knowing and the real love are from God. We do not know much, but we are known fully. We do not love much, but we are loved through and through. We get pretty puffed up in ourselves, but God deflates our egos and brings us back to what we were made for: loving God and each other, not with inflated selves, but with love that builds up a community of mutual care.
Lord, help us not to know too much, but to love much. Help us not be empty and filled with air easily deflated, but solid and sturdy enough in Christ to be part of the house of love you are building, from Jesus, the foundation, on up to the joyful rooftop.