By Renee Meyer
I love words.
I decorate with words, I figure out what’s going on in my head by writing words, and I communicate with others via spoken or texted words. Words matter, to me, and words matter. Period.
So I hate it when words become co-opted and diluted.
The word LOVE in the English language has been watered down: I love pizza. I love my husband. I love my shoes. I love God.
In 1 Corinthians 13, we get a glimpse of the bigger picture of God’s love: Patient, kind, not envious or boastful, not prideful or dishonoring, slow to anger, forgiving.
In these words, we find a love that has dimensions: Height, depth, length, breadth. This is the love we need. It’s not the feeling I have for pizza or my favorite shoes, but is certainly the love I’d like to offer my neighbor, my family, and most of all my God. It is the love He shows to me.
And, “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.” (NIV)
The NASB gives us, “Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth.”
The Greek word translated as evil and unrighteousness is Adikia. According to my Bible Dictionary, the first definition of Adikia is INJUSTICE. It also means “unrighteousness of heart and life,” or “a deed violating law and justice, act of unrighteousness.”
Love does not delight in evil. Of course not. But evil is such a big word. Evil is Sauron and Voldemort and the White Witch ruling Narnia. It’s easy not to delight in evil.
Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness. Of course it doesn’t, but that’s pretty easy to avoid too. Especially since I have no context for unrighteousness outside of the Bible. The word never shows up in my life unless it’s in a sermon or Bible study.
“Love does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.” (NLT)
This might seem easy too, who would delight in injustice? But what if I think of it as “Love doesn’t celebrate wrong-doing?” Love doesn’t delight in other’s pain, or harm, or hurt?
Change that one word and my inborn inclination to sarcasm is exposed for what it is: Humor at another’s expense.
This definition convicts me of my reaction when someone who’s hurt me experiences trouble: Rejoicing in someone else’s harm?
Love doesn’t delight in wrong-doing: I am embarrassed at my partisan tendency to excuse any wrong-doing on the part of “my side.” Love doesn’t rejoice in wrong-doing, on either side of the aisle, or tracks, or any of the other lines we draw between “us” and “them.”
Here is another dimension to God’s love: In addition to being kind, slow to anger, and forgiving, God’s love does not rejoice in injustice – in my life or others’. My God does not ever rejoice in my harm or hurt, but delights when I live into the truth of who He is and who I am.
This is the love I receive from Him.
And this is the love I can offer, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to my neighbor and my enemy. A love that wants good for all. A love that fights injustice. A love that celebrates truth and invites others into the truth of who God is and who He created them to be.
“Love doesn’t revel when others grovel, takes pleasure in the flowering of truth . . .” (The Message)