On Sunday we came to an interesting part of our love list from 1 Cor. 13. For 7 attributes in a row, Paul tells us what love does not do. We’re about to move to what love does. But Sunday’s verse serves as a bridge. “Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness/injustice but rejoices with the truth. Let’s start with the first half.
Love does not rejoice in adikía. This can be translated as “evil” or “unrighteousness,” activities that are harmful to the self and soul but can also takes us down non-loving paths towards others. But adikía is also a word that means injustice or unjust. The parable from Lk 18 is about the judge who wouldn’t listen to the legitimate claims of an abused widow. The word used over and over in that passage is adikía. Jesus’ concern in the parable is not simply that the judge is unrighteous on the inside, although that’s a concern. It’s that his unrighteousness is coming out in injustice. It’s denying what is right and fair and godly to someone vulnerable and in need. Throughout scripture we see that injustice (adikía) still includes the acts of an individual, but injustice widens the scope to how individuals and societies and structures treat others, especially those who are “other” and can be overlooked or oppressed.
Love is moving in the opposite direction. “Love rejoices with the truth.” When we know the truth about ourselves, our world, our nation, our society and its structures, the truth shall set us free from unrighteousness and injustice. We are free to love as God loves us, free to love our neighbor as ourselves. Only acknowledging the truth about the unrighteousness and injustice in our world and how it takes us away from love can we fully move towards true love. When we know the truth about Jesus, about the difference between God’s world of new creation (that he wants us to work for) and our world of fallen creation, the truth shall set us free to fully love.