Truth And Love

Most of us tend toward one or the other of these types of extremes

“Speaking the truth is love” is contrasted to spiritual immaturity. In other words, both being loving without being truthful and being truthful without being loving are evidence of spiritual childishness.

 

“Truth without love is brutality, and love without truth is hypocrisy.” Those words from Warren Wiersbe are profound & perpetually relevant.

Think about it for a moment.

If I relate to you only on the basis of truth, then our relationship is going to be hard and harsh—even brutal. All the information you get from me will be reliable because it is accurate, but it may do you no good because it will be delivered to you without any regard for how it lands on you.

Imagine your best friend were to relate to you only on the basis of truth. She would be very insightful in accurately assessing your strengths and weaknesses, but her assessments will probably not actually help you. Why? Because she won’t care how her words of truth land on you. She will be satisfied simply to drop them like bombs & if they hurt you, oh well, that’s your problem!

“Truth without love is brutality” and it often is not helpful because it is hard to receive.

But love without truth doesn’t help either. Imagine if your best friend decided he should relate to you only on the basis of love. He would probably make you feel good about yourself because he would always be affirming and encouraging you. He would overlook your flaws and shortcomings because he wouldn’t want to hurt your feelings and would simply leave many true things unsaid because he doesn’t want to make you feel bad. You would probably enjoy being around this friend, but he isn’t going to help you grow and develop very much. Why? Because truth means so little to him that he will leave you thinking & acting wrongly because he knows it will hurt you, so he will not say and do what sometimes should be said and done for your welfare. He is motivated by love, but at the expense of truth.

“Love without truth is hypocrisy” and it is often not helpful because it will not tell you what you sometimes need to hear.

Most of us tend toward one or the other of these types of extremes. Some people are very loving. Their words are always positive, affirming and encouraging, but often not as forthcoming and truthful as they should be.

Other people seem to have no problem speaking truth, but they do it in unloving and unkind ways. It’s like they don’t really care if you receive the truth, they just care about getting it right. They regard launching truth bombs—even if it results in a scorched earth in their hearers—as edifying speech.

Those who are God’s children cannot be satisfied to be merely loving or truthful. We must seek to grow more and more like Him so that we come to be both loving and truthful.

Scripture repeatedly calls us to keep these two virtues closely connected in the way that we live our lives. In Ephesians 4 Paul tells us that doing so is integral to spiritual maturity, which he describes as the opposite of being like children who are “tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes” (14). Immediately after characterizing spiritual immaturity this way, he writes, “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ” (15).

“Speaking the truth is love” is contrasted to spiritual immaturity. In other words, both being loving without being truthful and being truthful without being loving are evidence of spiritual childishness.

Christians are to grow into Christlikeness. That is the good goal toward which God is working all things together in our live (Romans 8:28-29). It would be helpful for us to consider, then, what Jesus Christ is like, especially in the way that He displays the virtues of truth and love.

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