SPEAKING THE TRUTH IN LOVE

Scripture Reading:  Ephesians 4:15,16

“Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into Him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”  (Ephesians 4:14,15)

Christians must realize that they are called to both a ministry of truth and a ministry of love.  These ministries must be connected to one another closely.  The ministry of truth focuses on right and wrong.  We must never compromise God’s truth, for Jesus said, “the truth will set you free” (John 8:32b).

The ministry of love focuses on being gracious, forgiving and compassionate.  We are called to a life of love, the kind of love Paul describes in I Corinthians 13 — “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude.  It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails” (I Corinthians 13:4-8a).

A ministry of truth and a ministry of love do not contradict one another.  Notice what the Scripture says, “(love) does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.”  There must be a proper balance between truth and love.  They must be held closely together.  Truth without love can be harsh and insensitive.  Love without truth can be compromising and weak.  But when truth and love are held in a proper tension, our ministry with others can be very powerful and effective.

We see this perfect tension in Jesus’ ministry.  He was never afraid to confront sin and wrongdoing, but He did it in love.  He offered hope and forgiveness to those who were lost and living in sin.  Our ministry must follow the pattern of Jesus’ ministry.

When we see those whom we love doing sinful and harmful things, we must not be afraid to do what God says — speak the truth in love.

Lord Jesus, grant me grace to be able to speak the truth in love when it is necessary. Don’t let me err on either side — being too harsh or being too weak.

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