Love does not delight in evil!
When God tells us that love does not delight in evil, He means we should not be glad when bad things happen to others. When others plead or grovel, we should feel their plight and act upon it. We not only should not enjoy doing bad things to one another, but we must refuse to allow evil to happen. We should feel badly when we see others being hurt. Compassion is one of God's great characteristics, and we should strive our best to model it to one another. We must be filled with compassion in all of our relationships, especially those with family and spouse. We are to refuse to think evil, or let any harm come to others by word or deed. Because God loves us so much, He is deeply grieved when we do not follow His example and His will. We are not to put others down in order to make us feel good about ourselves. Love feels hurt even when an enemy is down (Isaiah 40:11; Matthew 9:36; 18:12-13; 23:37; Mark 1:41; Hebrews 4:15; 5:2).
Authentic Love does not delight in evil!
Contexts and Background:
The key to this passage is to be on alert for the negative attitudes we can have that negate real, effectual love. Our call is to have Christ in us and thus working in us, so love can be a formidable force to help us in our relationships with God, self, and others. This passage also reflects Proverbs 25:21-22, which tells us that when we overcome evil with good, it totally disorientates those who intend to hurt us, sending them into chaos and confusion until they are either convicted or fall deeper into sin and death. This should give us a wakeup call that the best revenge is not the fist; rather it is love. We must let the misdeeds of others be dealt with by the perfect Judge. Of course, this does not mean to let people abuse us or continue to hurt us or those in our families and church.
Commentary-Word and Phrase Meanings:
· Love is/Charity. The Agape "love" here has positive traits and can be countered by negative traits. Here, the image is that this type of love will not desire to hurt, harm, or upset others even when we are hurt. We are not to desire or devise ways to hurt others because we do not get our way. We are to be like loving parents, giving all of their love to their child, without the child having to meet certain expectations or giving the right response, or even when they behave badly and make mistakes. Because, love is measured by what is costs us, not what we get from it! We are to bless them; the positive nature of this negative aspect of love is that it demonstrates undeserving kindness as Christ did with us. This is also the self-giving example from the teachings, examples, character of, and actions of Jesus toward those who persecuted Him. We are to pray for them, not about them; we are to help them, not to retort back to them with hateful talk. We are not to pray that God gets others back, rather that He changes their hearts toward Him and His perfect will (see first two studies in the series for a broader and expanded definition of love: 2 Chron. 24:22; Psalm 137: 7-9; Jer. 11:20; 15:15; 17:18: 18:23)! (Real love: Mark 12:28-31; John 3:16, Matt. 22:34-40; John 3:16; 13:1, 34-35; 14:1; 15:9; Rom. 1:31; 5:10; 12:10; 1 Cor. 13; Eph. 2:4-7; Phil. 2:2; Col. 1:1-6; 3:12-14; 1 Thess. 1:3; 2:8; 3:6; 12; 4:9-10; 5:8; 13; 2 Tim. 3:3; Heb. 10:24; 1 John 4:7-12).
· Does not / Rejoiceth not / no pleasure. What love is not is as important as what love is, because the negative and converse aspects of love violate the very nature of what must come from God and His people; they go against His true character (Gen. 9:20-23; Psalm 37:8; Prov. 6:16-19; 14:30; John 3:30; Rom. 12:18-21; Gal. 2:20-21; 5:19- 21; Eph. 4:31; Phil. 3:1-14; 1 Pet. 3:7)!
· Delight in evil / thinks no evil / not impute evil / rejoice not in iniquity / thinketh no evil. Meaning people love to do what is wrong; it is fun, exciting, and alluring. Also alluding to evil desires that trap us and bring down others who are around us-the very opposite of God's call for us. The basis for the rejection of God's ways and values are because we all prefer sin; we are naturally predetermined to gravitate to evil and only glimpse at good. This will cause us to be out of God's will and best plan, so instead of being His positive force, we will have dysfunction that leads to a worthless life with no meaning, no purpose, no contentment, no good motivation, and no real, effectual joy. In the Greek language structure, this is like taking on a bad debt to fix a money problem or slowly chewing on bad tasting medicine instead of swallowing it quickly just to prove you are sicker than the other person. So, we have to watch out and not let this come about. The positive of this means to "hold up," as to put up with those who rub you the wrong way, liking the unlikable and loving the unlovable with a good attitude and response. (Deut. 32:35; 2 Sam. 22:48; Jer. 51:56; Prov. 20:22; 25: 21-22; Matt. 5:39; Rom. 1:18-32; John 1:5-11; 1 John 1:6-7).
· We must not have a desire to use revenge in order to "get even;" rather, we are to show grace and love. If not, we make it worse. As our Chinese friends say, "You better first dig two graves before seeking revenge." We must never allow ourselves to be swayed from our convictions (ones that are biblically based) by peer pressure or our hurts or lost aspirations! And this is the reason: real love covers. In other words, authentic love continually forgives. We are to overlook the faults and transgressions of others against us within reason and with love. We are also not to gossip about or slander one another! Real love covers faults in others and seeks to help and inspire to overcome sin, not uncover and expose failings upon which to trample or do an expose to cause more hurt. Enjoying others' hurts or seeking to cause hurt violates what the prime nature of love is. People will hurt us and it is our sin nature to desire payback, retribution, and revenge, while our Lord desires sincere, true, and positive relationships and examples of His Love (Prov. 10:12; 25:20-22; Matt. 18:21-22; 1 Cor. 13:5; Eph. 4:32; 1Thess. 4:9-10; James 5:20; 1 Pet. 4:8; 2 Pet. 1:7; 1 John 4:7-11).
· Delighting in evil, coming from our refusal to deal with sin through repentance, will have lasting and dire consequences, both here on earth, and for eternity to come! We must be aware of the seriously destructive nature of anger and holding grudges that lead to a desire to harm others or cause harm by our own inactions and then delight in it. All because we just want payback and we find delight in it. We cannot conquer this until we give up our selfish will over to Him. The inward choice to hold on to anger is a prime destroyer of relationships. And, in God's eyes, relationships are the most important things in our lives-besides Him! So do not neglect your motives and the root causes of broken relationships, sin, and murder. In acting out of selfish gain and not out of real love, we end up accomplishing nothing.
Devotional Thoughts and Applications:
"To do injustice is more disgraceful than to suffer it." Plato.
We live in a world that relishes cruelty, and considers it as the thing to do to be "cool" and accepted. A funny put down, a sly remark, a good practical joke, and the ability to be "cool" are all desirable traits. Just look at TV and the movies. Can you imagine a movie where the latest and greatest action hero is going around forgiving and being kind to everyone? It would not be much of a storyline; however, how would you like to be treated in the same way as that action hero treats others? This may be fun to watch, and good for the movies and entertainment, but not for real life! The Christian is called to be higher, and, at the same time, lower-higher in our character and lower in accepting of others (as long as it does not bring us down to their level!).
By the examples from the Bible, we can get a clear picture of how we are to be kind, and how we are not to act. What we are not to do is look to the models we see in the world and media. Television and movies are the prime sources many people today look to for their role models of behavior. They see their favorite characters, and think they are cool and fashionable with their humor, comebacks, snickering remarks, and putdowns. We have to take a step back and look at it in His light, to be willing to seek God and ask, is that really what I want in my life? Think it through to its logical conclusion: what is funny on TV is not funny in real life because it hurts and causes division. We do not have a team of professional writers and producers-directors helping our outcome. However, what we do have is so much more-the Holy Spirit. But, like the actors, who are only as good as their ability to receive the direction and act out the writing given to them, we are only effective by being sensitive to the Spirit and God's Word, and allowing Him to rule our hearts and motivations so it affects our actions and behaviors. We are to treat one another with kindness, especially the ones we love!
The Essential Inductive Questions (for more Inductive questions see Inductive Bible Study):
1. What does this passage say?
2. What does this passage mean?
3. What is God telling me?
4. How am I encouraged and strengthened?
5. Is there sin in my life for which confession and repentance is needed?
6. How can I be changed, so I can learn and grow?
7. What is in the way of these precepts affecting me? What is in the way of my listening to God?
8. How does this apply to me? What will I do about it?
9. What can I model and teach?
10. What does God want me to share with someone?
Read these two passages again in different translations (1 Corinthians 13:1-8; 1 John 4: 7-12)
1. Discuss your thoughts on this aspect of love.
2. Give a positive example.
3. Give a negative example.
4. How is this type of love working in you?
5. Why is this love not working in you?
6. What blocks this love from being exhibited in you?
7. What would it take to get this love working in you?
8. What are you willing to do about it?
1. Why can doing what is wrong be so fun, exciting, and alluring to some people? What about you?
2. How do you feel about and how do you respond to injustice and unrighteousness? How should you? How should your church?
3. How and why does love require compassion? How do you deal with sin? What would repentance do for your modeling of Christ's love?
4. What have been some negative attitudes you have struggled with? How did they have a harmful impact on your life?
5. Why does real love not delight in evil?What happens when this is not working? How have you seen "love covers" work, authentic love that continually forgives?
6. What do you need to do to be on watch for negative attitudes? How do you and can you handle other's negativity toward you?
7. Did you know that God loves you so much that He is deeply grieved when you do not follow His example and His will? How does this make you feel? How can it motivate you?
8. How would you explain God's purpose of love and the contrasts of it? What can you do as a Christian not to put others down in order to make yourself feel good?
9. Evil, runaway selfishness, and hiding behind one's hurt or misplaced desires can trap us and bring us down as well as others who are around us! So, what can you do to avoid these traps?
10. Real, spiritual improvement comes from surrendering our will; so, what do you need to do to not impose your will above His?
11. How does following the ways of the world impact you in how you treat others? How would this create the rotten works of strife and dissension?
12. How does the fact that God created you for much more and far greater purposes affect you? How could this impact your relationships with a better application or real love? What will you do about it?
A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones. Proverbs 14:30
© 2010, R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org/