Truth Without Love is Just Background Noise
Speaking truth without genuine love for someone’s soul is pointless and simply background noise.
Defining Truth in Love
A working definition of “truth in love” is – “informing someone of facts and ideas that will keep them safe.” If there is another definition, it is subordinate.
We live in a world which those in power define their own ‘personal’ truth. It does not matter if such ideas stand contrary to accepted morality either. What matters is that they define reality by brute force of power.
For instance, the Democrat Party seems to have a fixation with the country of Russia. They say things, through media outlets. offering no proof of its truthfulness.
Their drumbeat of hate has the world on the brink of nuclear war. In this case, lack of truth can cost billions of lives.
On the other “side of the aisle”, the Republican Party believes they are being truthful with claims that student loan forgiveness hurts Americans. They have filed legal action to stop millions of their own voters from receiving financial relief.
However, none has offered any facts to support their claims of someone being “hurt” by debt cancellation.
At the same time, they stay silent about Democrats providing Ukraine $100 billion dollars in war aid! Republicans are literally saying: “it is OK to KILL people but not forgive them.”
In this political party’s truth, it is a bad thing to offer their constituents aid while providing weapons of war which have/will murder people. Unfortunately, very few in either party speak the truth in love to their own colleagues.
A lone exception is Congress woman Tulsi Gabbard, a Democrat.
Loving Truth is Never Spoken from Bias
Someone sent by God will love the truth and speak it in love as well. Love of the truth must be held onto, at all costs, because we've all formerly lived lives of deceit.
Loving truth is spoken without respect to whom it is being spoken to. A biblical example of this is the fact that Jesus is confrontational with whoever required it. Yes, He confronted local religious leaders with the truth, but Jesus also confronted His disciples.
Who can forget Jesus’s rebuke of Peter when he said: “get the behind me Satan.” Truth is abused and devalued when only spoken to those we feel comfortable with or deemed worthy to hear it.
There are truths which must be shared with those who believe God assigned their hands to this work. I admit refusing to believe the Lord God, in His infinite wisdom, would assign someone like me such a great task.
God told Abraham to (Genesis 12:1-3):
The lesson drawn from this, is that so often our familiarity with situations, people, and mostly ourselves, blind us to God’s will. If we are thus blinded to His will, the truth is not with us.
If the truth be not with us, the love of truth can hardly be the result of anything spoken. I further use the Abraham example because the ultimate truth comes from God.
Further, when He both calls and sends us, this is the ultimate act of His love.
Speaking Truth in Love Requires Boldness
Although the world values experience, in the kingdom of God, familiarity will keep you stuck in a spiritual rut.
The world teaches us to depend on our experiences while God says it doesn’t matter.
For instance, I recently wrote an article dealing with whether Jesus send a woman Pastor to lead His people.
You should read the article, but many are going to struggle with things, biblical things, written in this piece.
Since, however, all conclusions drawn come from the Holy Bible, they must be true. I wrote this article as someone who has a Sister Prophet as a prayer intercessor as well.
Yet, it will not be accepted although it is true and spoken in love for these confused women. Whether God sent someone or not, however, we are all weak in one way or another.
Jesus Christ values an admission of weakness from those He created (John 1:1-3).
The Apostle Paul communicated this concept like this (2nd Corinthians 12:8-10):
Understanding Necessary vs. Unnecessary Offense
I have little doubt whether in person or on the Internet, you’ve seen people just like me. The appear crazy, standing in a public place preaching the Gospel.
I still perform this laborious task from time to time, but not as consistently as before I began Pastoring. I was called to confront ‘false prophets’ who abuse the ignorance of hearers of the Word of God.
Nevertheless, as a Pastor and Man of Faith, my tendency towards unbridled aggression must be monitored closely. Not out of the fear of angering people rather, out of the fear of the LORD (Proverbs 9: 10).
When speaking truth, however, there is both necessary and unnecessary offense! In a moment of transparency, and more often than I will admit, I anger people unnecessarily.
I get caught in the sin trap of “trying to make them change” rather than allowing Jesus to do so.
Unnecessary offense happens when speaking truth simply to “be right” and proving someone else wrong. Debates between two Believers, for instance, is hardly ever “love.”
How could it be when the point is to prove someone else wrong just for the sake of doing so? Necessary offense occurs when speaking on behalf of God and guided by the Holy Spirit.
Anger Driven Responses Must be Forsaken
Speaking the truth in love is defined as: “speaking from a place of concern ONLY for the welfare of the one being spoken to.”
If your reason for speaking is a response to being personally offended, it is better for your soul to say nothing at all.
An example is given in the biblical story of the two men who were walking down to the temple. The Bible says one was a sinner and the other a religious priest (Luke 18: 10-14).
Although the priest didn’t speak directly to the sinner in the story, the principle is the same. Saying things to, or about, other people must be out of concern. The Priest thanked God he wasn’t like the sinner man, but this was hardly thankfulness!
When I am spiritually compelled to confront false teachers, it is incumbent on me to be careful how I treat them. The argument can be made that even false teachers are blind, and ignorant, but there is a difference.
They call themselves teachers, so the weight of guilt is heavier upon their shoulders (James 3: 1-5):
I’ve discovered that even those who proclaim Jesus from pulpits only love the truth “so far” as it doesn’t interfere with their lifestyles. They simply don’t care that, because God revealed His Word to them, they will be held to higher account.
Sure, I know they preach this, but trust me, they do not truly believe it!
Both Truth and Love Come from Jesus Christ
As a theist, I have staked my eternal soul on the reality that truth and love come from Jesus Christ. The Bible clearly teaches that He is: “the way, the truth, and the life.”
If I believe this, I must accept that there’s some truth that He knows which I do not.
If that truth is enough to change my life on Earth, and give eternal life, Jesus Christ must then have revealed it out of love. Therefore, truth and love are mutually inclusive.
This is not a question of one person’s truth over others because there is only “the truth.” It does not matter who believes they know “better” because God’s Word says: “let God be true and everyone else a liar.”
I marvel at the reality that even within the Protestant church, various denominations believe they have a superior biblical view.
As a Pastor of a Baptist Church, I am aware of, and have taught God’s people, that we all have it wrong somehow.
It was being wrong which brought me to Jesus. I accepted His Lordship because I acknowledged that I was inadequate. This inadequacy was an admission that I was lacking something.
If I am lacking something, having so declared it through my followship, I have admitted that I am unfulfilled. If, then, I am unfulfilled, I recognize that I have heard or encountered something I believe to be more adequate.
I am hard-pressed to remember a time where I thought someone else was better than me. However, when I encountered the truth of Jesus Christ and the love of that truth, I had finally found someone better than I.
This becomes important because we must first speak truth to ourselves and demonstrate the love of Christ internally.
Often times, people that are the harshest with in the faith, are those who are still struggling with something. Truth in love begins with accepting we are all inadequate.
Love is Not Nice but Always Kind
We have been taught that love is “nice.” The only heresy in the faith today, it seems, is saying something or someone is wrong. This is viewed as being judgmental which Jesus told us not to be.
I destroyed that heresy against Jesus’s words in Matthew chapter 7 more times than I can count. However, when we see a fuller picture of Jesus, we realize Jesus was angry and confrontational.
He was the most divisive and confrontational person in the entire biblical narrative.
Over the decades, Christianity has done more damage that it realizes presenting this false “nice guy Jesus” narrative.
The same Jesus who told us to turn the other cheek, is the very same who stormed into the temple and destroy public property.
The same Jesus who told Peter to put away His sword, is the very same, earlier, who told these same men to sell their clothes and buy swords.
I point this out because love is not nice, but it is always kind. Nice people tell you what you want to hear yet withhold what you need to hear.
For instance, some years ago when I was an Interim Pastor, I had occasion to cross paths with a local church leader who was and continues to be a wolf. When the Pastor I replaced died, he left instructions that I was to succeed him, but only on an Interim basis.
Prior to making this known to our Deacon Board, I was aware that he’d made the same promise to another associate minister. The second promise was made without the first, officially, being rescinded.
This retraction, not being directly addressed by the Pastor, would have massive repercussions after his death. Less than one week after I became Interim Pastor, another Pastor in the city called me.
This Pastor asked a question: “We are both small churches brother so how about combining just Bible studies for the time being?”
Although I’d confronted false prophets previously, I personally knew this man. He’d been of much comfort to me during the death of a relative several years prior. In my naivety, I had no reason to suspect this call as the devil’s work.
There was something that made me say 'no' however. At the time, I did not know he was trying to get his foot in the door, to demonically take over the vulnerable church I now led.
However, I had heard him preach, and knew he was woefully inadequate as a disciple maker.
From time to time, on this platform, I've referred to two groups of church leaders - those who were sent, and those who just went. I may never say this again, but this guy must have just went!
My hesitancy in allowing this man in, was not because I knew he was a SNAKE rather, he was an AWFUL teacher. He has no substance, but in many Black churches, this is hardly necessary if an emotional (if not spiritual) high can be had.
Some may think this cruel, but this is speaking the truth in love. This wayward shepherd can sing better than most, but he simply cannot teach the Word to any critically thinking person.
Why is “gift assessment” believed to be judgmental? The truth judges because it loves, not because it does not.
Speak truth in love but always be ready to be told truth as well.
We must never believe that by simply being bold enough to speak truth, we are loving people. Nothing is further from true!
If we truly love someone, we will only say what they need to hear to keep them safe. This covers both physical safety as well as spiritual. When we examine the biblical narrative, especially Ephesians chapter 4, we see that at least one office in the church is dedicated to truth telling.
That, of course, is the office of the Prophet. What people forget is that the Bible clearly tells us (Hebrews 12:6-8):
This is important, as I close, because, you may have ruined a relationship because someone love you enough to speak truth to you.
If you remember nothing else I say here, consider that the people who take the greatest risks in a relationship are always those who love you the most.
Like our mothers, who else, but a person who loves you dearly, would say something to hurt your feelings but does it for your own good?
I don’t know what your definition of love is, but that could surely be mine.
Header Image Courtesy of Madga Ehlers @ Pexels