9 This is my prayer: that your love might become even more and more rich with knowledge and all kinds of insight. 10 I pray this so that you will be able to decide what really matters and so you will be sincere and blameless on the day of Christ. 11 I pray that you will then be filled with the fruit of righteousness, which comes from Jesus Christ, in order to give glory and praise to God.
Here’s one surprising takeaway from today’s passage: love requires insight.
In other words, in order to love properly, we need to have understanding and discernment.
Ok, Paul doesn’t say any of that specifically. But if the apostle is praying that the love of the church in Philippi might be blessed with more insight, he must see insight as an essential characteristic of love. I read Paul’s words as saying that you need this wisdom in order to know what really matters in relationships.
For instance: love requires us to know when to confront someone, and when to just let it go. Love requires us to know when we’ve crossed the line from offering grace to enabling bad behavior that’s actively causing harm. Love requires us to know when a relationship can be restored, and when we must let it go. You need insight to make these kinds of determinations. You need understanding and wisdom. Otherwise, even love – the most powerful force for good in the universe – can become harmful. Love without insight can hurt others, and it certainly can devastate us. Probably all of us have experienced at least one relationship like this, where our love for someone blinded us to certain dynamics that resulted in pain for us.
Today, my prayer for you is the same as Paul’s prayer for the church at Philippi: that you might gain the insight needed to love others (and yourself) well.
By Joe Monahan
For Pondering & Prayer
What are some other instances where love requires insight in order to keep ourselves or others from hurt and harm?
Prayer: Spirit of Love and Wisdom, give us all the insight we need today to love ourselves and the people around us well. Amen.