I received a letter in the mail this week from a man who wrote what he himself called his "essay" for me on a controversial matter of the faith. I did not agree with any part of it. What he claimed to be biblical logic, I found to be reasoning entirely imported into the text and not from the Bible teaching itself. His is a view that I think does no good to the Church, and in its more extreme and strident forms in certain theological writings, does much harm.
But here is the thing: I love this old man. He has been an intermittent pen pal over the years, in his shaky cursive penmanship from somewhere in the rural Midwest, this man whom I have never met. He is a godly child of God and a kind brother.
So isn't it amazing? When I read his views, views with which I completely disagree, I am so filled with tenderness toward him that I find my heart working overtime to come up with ways to respond to him in the most gentle and respectful and encouraging manner possible.
This gets me to thinking, of course: If my response to a person whom I love is so completely different from the way I would respond to the same points when dealing with a person I feel no love for, then there is something wrong with the way I am usually wont to respond.
It gets me thinking that love is a powerful force that, if followed, leads us into the deep vaults of wisdom that are in Christ.
"From where, then does wisdom come? And where is the place of understanding? It is hidden from the eyes of all living and concealed from the birds of the air. … God understands the way to it, and he knows its place …" (Job 28:20-23).
There are a thousand possible ways to answer a man. The Lord knows the way of greatest wisdom. And we find to our surprise, when we are in the Spirit, that it is the way of greatest love.