Is Love Sometimes Foolish or Gullible?

I came across this story on a Scot McKnight post and just had to share it:
This line from Paul, that love always believes or believes all things (or always), reminds me of an incredible short story by Isaac Bashevis Singer (I.B. Singer) called "Gimpel the Fool." You can read it in The Collected Stories of Isaac Bashevis Singer (you can read it online here).

Everyone in Gimpel's village, Frampol, takes Gimpel for a fool because he takes everyone at their word. His wife cheats on him so his children are not really his own, though he believes they are; he believes his wife when he says the man Gimpel saw in the bed was in his dreams. Even the local rabbi gets in on the act of making Gimpel the fool by playing with words. Gimpel comes off in this story as rejected by all, completely filled with integrity and grace and belief, and in the end he is the one who is vindicated.

In a world of slippery words and treacherous lies, Gimpel's rugged commitment to trust the words of others stands out as a unique and solitary person. Better to be the fool who trusts than to participate in evil for a moment. Something like that is an element of this story.
Here is the question that Scot asks at the end of his post:
How does one practice what Paul says when he says "love believes all things/always"?
My perception is that Paul is saying that love involves believing the best of people.. always giving them the benefit of the doubt.. and forgiving people all of the time. But love is not foolish or gullible.. love is wise and discerning.. we continue to love despite the actions of others but we do not enable bad behavior in the name of love.

What do you think? How would you answer Scot's question?

1 comment:

  1. Bob, I could not improve on what you have said. So I will add my ditto, and Amen!!!


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