Sometimes, I hear people who are quick to declare their unsubstantiated, personal beliefs and make statements that are for the most part unscriptural! This comes across as deliberately being confrontational and controversial.
I’ve heard many defend these statements by saying they are doing so because they’re being bold and unafraid of speaking the truth. But then if anyone questions their beliefs or so-called “statements of truth,” they are considered either religious, legalistic, unteachable or old and out of touch!
But Paul, who by the way, was the most radical grace preacher of all time and did not shy away from controversy and confrontation said in Ephesians 4:14-15:
“That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But SPEAK THE TRUTH IN LOVE, may GROW UP into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:”
Speaking the truth in love is to speak and teach the truth without compromising it in any way, shape or form, but doing so in love!
To teach and speak the truth in love means to allow all the attributes of God’s love to be the tracks on which all our preaching, teaching and speaking must run!
In 1 Corinthians 13:1-3, Paul says:
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.”
Paul explains that no matter how justified you might be or how true your statements and beliefs are, if it’s not communicated with love, all you will be doing is sounding like an empty head!
Some “preachers and teachers” wonder why they get no respect, why people don’t listen to them and why they are written off as ignorant.
Paul goes on in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8:
“Charity (love) suffereth long, and is kind; charity (love) envieth not; charity (love) vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.”
In this passage of scripture, Paul gives us all the attributes of God’s love. So when we teach and speak the truth in love, these attributes should mold and shape what we say and how we say it!
We should “suffer long,” be “kind” and not seek to be “puffed up,” thinking that because we are right, we have the right to say what we want, how we want and when we want!
Paul says it like this in I Corinthians 8:1 (AMPC):
“NOW ABOUT food offered to idols: of course we know that all of us possess knowledge [concerning these matters. Yet mere] knowledge causes people to be puffed up (to bear themselves loftily and be proud), but love (affection and goodwill and benevolence) edifies and builds up and encourages one to grow [to his full stature].”
Mere knowledge, whether it’s knowledge of scripture, doctrine or anything for that matter, causes people to carry themselves lofty and proud. But love, when we are aware of God’s love and allow it to motivate our teaching, builds others up and encourages them to grow!
My appeal today is this: Let’s rejoice in the truth! But let’s do so by bearing with others as they walk out their own path of grace and truth!
Sometimes, it is wise to not indiscriminately make our beliefs known just because we can, and neither do we have to make radical, unsubstantiated statements just because we can.
Love always considers others and is willing to endure all things!