Speaking the Truth in Love
If you forced me to pick two words that aptly described Christianity and the Christian it would be “truth” and “love.” By the loving provision of a gracious God we have been redeemed, and we have been set free from darkness and lies to see and embrace the truth. It is a wonderful area of meditation and contemplation, and Peter describes what the Christian should be:
“Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.” (1 Peter 1:22–23)
The difficulty becomes when we try and do the two together. I’m speaking of how we present Christ and his victorious atonement to non-believers. It is a delicate balance that takes time, maturity, and the Holy Spirit to get down. Paul’s words to the Ephesians was that they needed to be “speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ” (4:15).
Often times we can become full of passion, frustration, or maybe we are being persecuted for the gospel; and it is at those times that the concept of being loving becomes difficult. Being redeemed we must also remember that: “Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions” (Prov 10:12), and that we need to put love on display for the unbelievers to see the glory and the joy of following Jesus in all we say and do. Peter says after his apologetic manifesto that we should defend the faith “with gentleness and reverence” (1 Pet 3:15).
John wrote probably the greatest discourse ever on true love in his first epistle, and he makes the point that “if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 4:11). This love should spur us to take the ultimate message of love to those who don’t know what true love is. I love the words by Stuart Townsend in his hymn “How Deep the Father’s Love For Us”.
How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure