As Christians, we are called to speak the truth in love. Why is that so difficult?
“Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head into Christ.”Ephesians 4:15
Our culture needs truth right now. It also needs love. What I have realized is that it is easy to give one or the other but not both. It is easy to articulate the truth. It is simple to exemplify love. It is extremely difficult to do both at the same time.
So, what do we do? We usually go to one extreme or the other. We are either very good truth tellers or very good love givers. But one without the other actually puts us into one of these dangerous categories.
- Protestors give the truth without love.
- Enablers give love without the truth.
Protestors give the truth without love.
People who aren’t ashamed to give the truth can protest a group. They can picket for a cause. They can troll the internet really well. They might actually be right but going about it the wrong way. But saying the right thing without love only comes across as a noisy gong (1 Cor. 13:1).
Enablers give love without the truth.
For those who don’t want to upset anyone or risk a friendship, they are quick to love the individual and ignore the issue. Oftentimes, these people are motivated by brokenness for people who are hurt. They tend to overlook sin in order to maintain a relationship. But the goal of biblical confrontation is the avoidance of further sin and calamity out of concern for that individual (James 5:19-20).
Protestors give the truth without love, enablers give love without the truth, yet Christians are called to find the right balance
ofspeakin gthe truth in love.
It’s a hard balance, but it can be done. It must be done. If you speak the truth in love, if you accurately describe what the Bible teaches but you refrain from using a harsh, critical demeanor, any anger lobbed your way is not with you but your God. Some people deserve backlash for the way they speak to others, but if you can speak boldly but compassionately, any resentment towards you is actually a rejection of God’s Word. If you are going to be criticized, be criticized for standing on God’s Word but standing on it like Jesus. If you are to suffer, suffer for doing good (1 Pet. 3:17).
Strive to live in such a way that it is difficult for others to hate you even when they disagree with your convictions.
How will you apply this balance in your relationships? We are at a critical time in which we must make a valiant effort at such an important cause. Do you see which one to which you drift more? Are you more of a protestor or an enabler? What will you do to ensure you don’t hide from the truth or lose the person in the process?