Does 1 Corinthians 13 Require us to “Think the Best”?

The following comment was made recently and I wanted to share it with you, along with my own thoughts on the issue. This is a very important question and I thank our reader for sharing it. Are we required to always “think the best” of whatever people do or say? After all, doesn’t Paul say in 1 Cor 13 that we are to “believe all things.”  

Here is the comment:

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Why is Forgiveness Even Possible?

Mark 2:4-11  And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” — he said to the paralytic — “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.”

In our ongoing discussion of forgiveness, we am challenging much of the contemporary thinking among Christians regarding this important subject.  I trust that all of you realize (and I think that you do) that when I maintain that because God does not forgive His enemies  (they must bow and humbly repent of sin and confess Christ as Lord and Savior, thus laying down arms against God), I do not mean that we are to remain hateful and vengeful toward those who sin against us and who, in fact, are our enemies. We are not to seek personal vengeance, but to leave that to God. But what I mean is that in all of this, we do not declare that they are no longer our enemy, when in fact, they are. They continue the warfare. And I address this because so many victims of abuse are being told that forgiveness means that they must no longer regard their abuser as their enemy, which is simply a denial of reality.

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We are Children of the Promise – Take Heart

We will stand as children of the promise
We will fix our eyes on Him our soul’s reward
Till the race is finished and the work is done
We’ll walk by faith and not by sight [Keith and Kristyn Getty, Stuart Townend, By Faith]

Do you know about the Promise? If you don’t, you really need to. It is at the center of the gospel and of our salvation in Christ. Let’s start here:

Exodus 19:5-6 ESV  Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine;  (6)  and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.”

You were probably taught in church that this was and is a promise for the Jews in some future day when Christ returns. But that explanation is far too small. God’s plan and purpose is bigger. MUCH bigger. Besides, we know that Israel, by sin, failed to be this kingdom of priests and this holy nation. But check this out:

Revelation 1:4-6 ESV  John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne,  (5)  and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood  (6)  and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

See it? The “you shall be” spoken to the Israelites has become “has made us…a kingdom, priests to his God and Father.” Who? Us! The true church. All people from all nations who have been born again in Christ. It is a finished deal. (Christian,  you are a king and priest serving the King of kings and the Most High Priest – live like it!)

Now, what of the Promise? The Promise is the promise God made to Abraham –

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