Love and knowledge embrace one another

Sam Wells suggests that it is very hard to believe “that if someone truly knows you, they will truly understand and love you.”

That is because of the sense of shame that we feel.

Sam Wells is reflecting on Psalm 139 which begins with the words “You have searched me and known me.” He points out that we make knowing and loving enemies of one another. God, on the other hand unites them.

The separation of knowing and loving is an everyday experience for us. Lovers of Coronation Street are seeing that played out through the interplay between Phelan, Gary and Owen. Phelan “knows” Gary was prepared to leave him for dead, and uses that knowledge vindictively for his profit.

Jesus also knew that people were prepared to leave him for dead, but his knowledge is full of love, just as his love is full of knowledge. That love showed itself in Jesus’ absolute passion to forgive those responsible for his suffering.

With us, knowing and loving are separate, and there’s always the fear that if someone really knew us, they’d have a power over us that they could use to hurt us, or that they’d see through us and cease to love us. But God’s knowing is different. God’s knowing and loving are indistinguishable. There’s never a moment when God knows but doesn’t love, or loves but doesn’t know. That is the gospel we can hardly begin to imagine. God wholly knows because God wholly loves; and God wholly loves even though God wholly knows.

from Learning to Dream Again p24