Ephesians 4:15 But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into Him who is the head—Christ.
My wife is the most loving, kind and considerate Christian I know. Jesus loved Cathy enough to save her and He loves you enough to save you. Cathy will love you into the Kingdom. Everybody loves Cathy.
We are opposites. I am mean, ugly, hardheaded and doctrinally correct. I will speak the truth as I find it in Scripture and as the Spirit convicts, but nobody feels the love.
It isn’t that I don’t love people. I love them enough to point out the truth, even when I know that the truth will greatly offend them and that they will reject that truth. I want to just be loving. I want everybody to love me. I want people around me to feel the love of Jesus, like it was just oozing out of my bones. You do not know how desperately I desire that, but these are desperate times and the truth keeps getting in the way.
The truth, however ugly and counter-culture it may be, can be spoken in love. I know that because the Bible tells me to do so. God would not tell me to speak the truth in love, if it were not possible to do so. God just wouldn’t do that.
I need to practice being kind and loving. I can take a hint from Jesus… “Go and sin no more… you brood of vipers!” How do I ever find that balance?
1 Timothy 5:20 Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning. (Speaking the truth in love.)
Luke 17:3a Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him… (Speaking the truth in love.)
Titus 1:13 This testimony is true. For this reason, reprove them severely so that they may be sound in the faith… (Speaking the truth in love.)
Titus 2:15 These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you. (Speaking the truth in love.)
2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. (Speaking the truth in love.)
“Speaking the truth in love.” Let us look at that passage in context:
7 Now grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of the Messiah’s gift. 8 For it says:
When He ascended on high,
He took prisoners into captivity;
He gave gifts to people.
9 But what does “He ascended” mean except that He descended to the lower parts of the earth? 10 The One who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill[ all things.11 And He personally gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12 for the training of the saints in the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into a mature man with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness. 14 Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit. 15 But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into Him who is the head—Christ. 16 From Him the whole body, fitted and knit together by every supporting ligament, promotes the growth of the body for building up itself in love by the proper working of each individual part.
We are to grow up. This is about growing up and maturing to the point that we are no longer blown about by “every wind of doctrine.” We are to grow into unity but that unity can only be found in Christ and the truth of Scripture. Seeking unity through compromise will never work. Speaking lies, because they are more “loving” than the truth, will never work.
The truth is, that the truth is ugly and offensive to those who reject it. There is a deep and inherent offense in the message of the Cross. Those who have been trained in lies, disguised as truth, revolt at the real truth, rejecting it off hand. I did! When God started showing me how things that I had learned in church, things taught to me as “Gospel Truth,” violated his Word, I rebelled. “Not my Pastor! Not my church! They would never teach me anything wrong!” I cried, I screamed at God, I told people that they were crazy! So why am I surprised that others have the same reaction? Sometimes you just have to get angry and fight through things.
However, the fact that the truth offends, is no excuse for me to be offensive. Error must be confronted but it is easier to accept the truth from those who smile and take your interest and needs to heart. I must learn to take on other people’s burdens. I must seek to understand where they are and where they come from. I must identify with them as brothers and sisters in the Lord. I must meet their needs. Only then, will I have the right to speak truth into their lives.
Please pray for me, that in however it may be possible, I will learn to speak the truth in love. I am not even certain what that means but I am aware that I need to learn.