One beauty of the Christian faith is the ability to know, and have complete assurance in what you believe. We are able to have peace that passes all understanding, resting on the knowledge that Christ has in fact interceded for us. Unfortunately, this confidence can turn into arrogance, and we become more focused on being right, than on being love.
I think we all can think of examples of this in our culture today, both personally and in the media spotlight. We see well meaning professing Christians one hundred percent correct in what they say, but completely fail in how they say it. Why? Because they aren’t speaking the truth in love. I struggle with this immensely, so thought I would share what I have learned regarding this topic.
It is without doubt we are to speak truth in love, scripture tells us this in Ephesians. That isn’t to say we are to be spineless loving people either though, because we are also commanded to be as gentle as doves, but wise as serpents. We are definitely called to stand for what is truth and proclaim it as such, but it has to be done in a loving manner.
Few things drive a person away from another more quickly than arrogance. If we are perceived to be arrogant, we will be as it is described in 1 corinthians 13.
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.
Have you heard a child clanging cymbals? If you haven’t, consider yourself fortunate. ;) There are few noises more loud and annoying which can come from metal than brass cymbals clanging together over and over with no purpose or beat. Paul’s comparison to speech without love is incredibly apt. The only thing one wishes todo when those cymbals are clanging is to leave the room as fast as possible. This isn’t a way which a biblical, nor beneficial message for Christ.
So what does speaking in love look like?
Believe it or not, we have examples set by Christ and even a list given by Paul in 1 Corinthians 13.
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.
If we look at all of these items mentioned, and draw out the prevailing theme, I think it can be summed up into the following. Love communicated correctly, does not turn people to self, or you, but to Christ (the truth mentioned in the passage). It is difficult, but worth pursuing. There is nothing wrong with clearly stating truth bluntly or gently, the wrongness comes when either of those extremes are done out of being right, rather than being love.
What say you? Have an example of where you have seen or done either? Be sure to let me know below! :)