Due to inclement weather, the 9 a.m. service for Sunday, Jan. 20 has been cancelled. We will have one morning service at 10:45 a.m. as road conditions improve.

Speaking the Truth in Love

by Nathan McClay

The scene has been played out multiple times in recent years: unruly mobs taking to the streets of our cities, bent on riotous destruction, even invading the capitol in Washington, DC, with each side of the spectrum attempting to stand up for their perception of the truth.

We have a nation that is severely divided by left and right, with media outlets eager to feed one-sided narratives of the issues at hand. It seems like civility has gone by the wayside, and constructive debate is almost non-existent.

As I reflect on what has become of our nation, I am reminded of what Paul wrote to the Ephesians in the fourth chapter of his epistle to them, “speaking the truth in love.” The two main ingredients of this phrase, truth, and love, are sorely missing in our nation’s discourse.

You may recall that it was an angry crowd, fueled by the rage of religious leaders, that delivered our Lord to Pontius Pilate to try, condemn and crucify the Savior of the world. This mob had their list of grievances too, or in other words, their idea of what they thought was the truth. When Jesus spoke to Pilate on the subject of truth, Pilate asked the question that echoes down the corridor of time, “What is truth?”

When debating, addressing, teaching, counseling, or consoling, we must be sure that we are armed with the truth. We read in John 17 when Jesus was praying for His disciples, and ultimately all believers down through the ages, one of His requests of the Father was, “Sanctify them by Thy truth. Thy Word is truth.”

As followers of Christ, we are to be set apart from the world (or sanctified) by God’s Word. Being set apart from the world lines up well with the context of Paul’s words, “speaking the truth in love,” as recorded in Eph. 4. Paul was writing to the Ephesians concerning Christ giving gifts to His church. The purpose of giving gifts to the church was so that the church would be mature, and not like children “being driven by every wind of doctrine.”

As Christians, our primary source of truth for edifying ourselves and others, as well as reaching the lost, is the Holy Bible, the Word of God. Remember Paul said that it (the scripture) “is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” It should be, as the Psalmist put it, “a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.

It is not just enough to be ready to give out and stand up for the truth. We must be poised to do so with the right attitude. In that great love chapter, 1 Corinthians 13, Paul details the many qualities of love. All of the descriptive phrases can be seen in our Lord Jesus Christ.

“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails …” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a
The one phrase that stands out to me as a key in our relationship with one another is that “love seeks not its own.” In Philippians 2, we see when Christ came into this world as a man, that “He made Himself of no reputation.” John Walvoord put it this way, “Love was when God became a man, locked in time and space without rank or place…….to reach and love one such as I.” In our interactions with one another, we should always seek not what is in the best interest of ourselves but what is most beneficial to others. Sometimes that will involve not being concerned with ourselves being the seat of knowledge but being concerned with being loving, truthful, and helpful in our conversations and actions - both with believers and unbelievers alike.

May God give us the inclination in our conversations to always speak the truth in love.
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