TRUTH AND LOVE
At a conference last month for the Network of Christian Counselors, one of the speakers said, “Love speaks Truth.” This simple yet profound statement really struck me. In our world we often hear people who are harsh with their ‘truth’. Truth can become a relative term that can be used to excuse bad behavior.
Paul says in his first letter to the Corinthians,
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or clanging cymbal.”
(1 Cor. 13:1)
Much of the harsh rhetoric that we hear or read these days, even from Christians, has this effect. Like those toy monkeys that you wind up to bang their cymbals incessantly, it is loud, annoying and can hurt our heads. God’s way of speaking truth stands out in stark contrast. God did not send His Son into the world to condemn it, but that the world through Him might be saved. He did this because of His great love for us. Jesus said for us to abide in God’s love and to walk in truth. His truth (which springs from love) will set us free.
If truth without love is bankrupt, then the same works in reverse. Love without truth is empty and lost. Often truth is spoken with condemnation and accusation, or love is lost because of the fear of speaking truth. These two concepts then have to be intertwined: truth spoken in love, and love which speaks truth.
“God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love-
like Christ in everything. We take our lead from Christ,
who is the source of everything we do.
He keeps us in step with each other. His very breath and blood flow through us,
nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in love.”
Jesus said in John 17:17 that God’s word is truth. For us to know and speak truth we have to know God’s word. When Jesus was tempted by the devil, His response was simply to speak God’s word. The same holds true for us when we are facing temptation. We can speak God’s word. We want to follow His example and speak God’s word in love.
My husband and I have been watching the series, The Chosen, which is based on the life of Jesus. One of the things which stands out to me in this rendition of His life is how loving Jesus is. He exhorts His followers, He grieves for those who oppose Him, and He lovingly encourages those who are weak and struggling. All of this is shown in His loving gaze, His laughter and joy with the children and His disciples, and His steadfast obedience to do only His Father’s will. Seeing this has challenged me to want to live like Jesus, to speak truth from God’s word and to live a life of love.
As I pray and ask the Holy Spirit to search my heart and let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to God, one of the things that has been revealed is how often I am not thinking on God and His word. At times I am being critical or judgmental of myself and those around me. This awareness has led me to renew my mind and consciously choose to think like God thinks. As I meditate on scripture and remember God’s great love, I am able to cast out fear, to overcome condemnation and to think on things true, lovely, authentic and gracious. Seeing myself and others through these eyes helps me operate with tenderness and compassion and gives me strength to speak truth with love.
How about you? Do you find yourself thinking and speaking harshly, either to yourself or others? I challenge you to let the love of Christ fill you with all of God’s fullness and let the truth from His word be the firm foundation on which you stand.
Be bold in His love, gentle with His truth and abound with His grace.
Bless you my brothers and sisters in Christ,