How does my love abound in knowledge and all discernment?
I don't just want a succinct, theological answer. I'm not looking for a catchy slogan or profound motto to become my life catch-phrase. And I'm only remotely interested in what the great theologians of old have laid out as doctrine on the subject. That is not the point. My question is both smaller and bigger than a simple explanation/expounding of the Greek. What do I do, how does my life look different, where do I aim, for my love to abound within these qualifications? What do I say or do with Suzy as a result of having a knowledgeable, discerning love for her? My love has to encapsulate far more than good fellowship and similar tastes, surely. It must constantly be looking beyond the immediate moment and situation, and remembering its origin and purpose - that we both may know our Father more. A love full of knowledge and discernment envisions what a person can become in Christ, and kindly, relentlessly, sharpens and pushes her toward that goal. It involves confrontation - from which I shrink - with tact & sensitivity - which are not my gifts. How do I learn these things??
But it is more than even this, I think.
To have a love abounding "in knowledge and all discernment" is not merely for the benefit of the person I am to love. A discerning love may well allow me to know when and what to say to Suzy, should the need arise, but it is equally necessary for my relationship with Christ. Suppose Suzy will not be challenged? Suppose she cannot, will not, seek the LORD for all areas of her life? Suppose she refuses to surrender certain likes, tendencies, and dreams? If I love her mindlessly, as it were, ignorant of where such actions lead or unaware of how I ought to respond, I will first accept, then approve, then adopt her way of life. This is the only possible outcome of a mindless love. A love built solely on shared histories, events, tastes, and times. A love with no anchor in morality. A rootless love: it either withers or destroys.
Springing from the LORD, growing constantly in wisdom - it is this caliber of love which enables me to not only see my friend clearly, but also have the vision (eternal eyes) with which to respond to and love her. If Suzy is not willing to rise through the challenges, this love will give me the wisdom of how to interact with her, and that Christ-taught response may be what softens her heart. And if my eyes are on the LORD and how He would have me to love her, I will have the discernment to know where I personally need to draw boundaries in my relationship with her.
So much for the good of wisdom and discernment in loving all those the LORD has placed in my path. My question remains the same: How do I learn to love deeply, with knowledge and discernment? Since this principle comes directly from the Word, I am sure to find the answer there. This, my friends whom I love, is what I have been pondering on lately.