1b   we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. 2 Anyone who claims to know something does not yet have the necessary knowledge, 3 but anyone who loves God is known by him. 

-1 Corinthians 8:1b-3 (NRSV)

In writing to the young church in Corinth, Paul addresses many of the social, cultural, and liturgical issues that we might expect to cause divisions in a vulnerable and growing church. Chapter 8, particularly, finds Paul advising the Corinthians on how to be Christians in a world with social and cultural expectations that might put their still fermenting Christian beliefs to the test. 

Yet, even in light of Paul’s practical concerns in this passage, love is the primary theme. For Paul, love is not just fundamental to Christian life in the very close, individual, and interpersonal sense that first comes to our mind. Love is also the core of the Church and its ability to function. Beyond good feelings and mutual friendliness, love, according to Paul, is the guidepost for Christian conflict resolution and overall community building. 

We resolve conflicts with and through love. Instead of a family or a church being ruled by the eldest, most educated, or best-preaching persons, love is our journey and destination. As parents, God expects us to guide our children to grow in not just knowledge but also love. In 1 Corinthians, Paul tells us that God expects us to continue to grow “smarter” by studying God’s love. Studying love begins in our homes, where our textbooks are each other. More succinctly, God knows us and loves us, and as our love of God grows, so does our ability to know God and each other. 

Loving God, as we seek to know you, we pray that you help us to learn more about Your love from loving each other. We are trying our best to grow closer to you as a family. We pray that You draw us closer to You and Your kingdom, even when we disagree and struggle with patience! Amen!

Questions for reflection: Have you ever felt “puffed up” because of your accomplishments and successes? What practices do you have to help your family maintain a home filled with humility and love of God even as you experience conflict? What might be a new practice that your family could adopt to make conflict resolution in your home an experience of love?