Scott Tibbs

Balance is important

By Scott Tibbs, April 13, 2022

We should always be pursuing knowledge and wisdom. (These are not the same thing.) But as we seek to know the truth, there are two areas where we commonly veer into a ditch instead of keeping the proper balance: Humility and love.

We live in a hyper-partisan age where far too many people act not on the principles of their side, but in opposition to the other side. It is fine to oppose the other party's agenda, but that must be based in principle rather than simple enmity. Therefore, it is not good to simply be a contrarian. Being a critical thinker is good, especially with the fake news and outright gossip that fills our social media feeds and even the news we read daily. But rejecting other perspectives out of hand can be just as bad as blindly accepting things (and worse, sharing them) without examining the facts.

It is good to be a learner. A critical thinker recognizes what he sees and reads might be wrong, while a learner realizes "I might be wrong." But while this humility is good, it can also lead to a false humility and an embrace of the postmodern idea that there is no such thing as objective truth. Being "humble" and uncertain can be an excuse for a rejection of objective truth and an excuse to compromise basic principles. Many times the humble person is the one who stands up and fights for truth, especially when he is in the minority or when powerful forces are arrayed against him.

The same phenomenon exists in the tension between love and knowledge. Christians should have love, but we should not place love over truth. You cannot take 1 Corinthians 13 in isolation to toss doctrinal truth aside, especially at the exact point where the world is attacking Christian doctrine. It is not loving to abandon people to sin and error. But at the same time, we should also not place truth over love, especially when someone is struggling with sin or heresy.

There will always be tension between humility and knowledge, and between love and knowledge. The virtues are not in conflict, but they must be balanced. Our temptation is always to choose sides, but God does not allow us an easy way out where we can choose one over the other. He expects us to seek and proclaim knowledge while also being loving and humble. He also knows that we will not agree where that line actually falls. All we can do is live by faith.

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