Truth & Love

Insight from my Ben on truth and love.  (Note: I’m Teej and Rob is his best friend.)

“Jesus answered, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  John 14:6

“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”  1 John 4:8

“Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him Who is the head, that is, Christ.”  Ephesians 4:15

Truth and love must always go together. As Warren Wiersbe said, “Truth without love is brutality, and love without truth is hypocrisy.”

Teej and I were discussing this last night, and she pointed out that we all err toward one or the other. (I suppose some have neither, but that’s beside the point right now.)

Since no one is perfect (save One), none of us maintains a perfect balance of truth and love. To borrow a parable Rob likes to tell: Suppose a man is walking toward the edge of a cliff when a friend spots him.

If he errs on the side of love, the friend may say to himself, “Wow, I don’t want him to fall off that cliff, but I don’t want to be rude. I mean, it’s his choice, and it’s not really my place to say anything. Besides, he’ll probably be okay. I hope. I’ll pray for him.”

His heart is moved for his friend, but without speaking the truth, his love is hypocrisy. The man will walk off the cliff, and may or may not learn his lesson after he gets injured. The friend will feel guilty, and may or may not learn his lesson as well.

On the other hand, if he errs on the side of truth, he may tackle the man to the ground, breaking his collar bone in the process, and shout, “What are you thinking?! There’s a cliff there, you idiot!”

He spoke truth, and may have saved the man’s life, but without love his reaction was brutal. The man will get angry and may walk off the cliff just to spite his friend. Or he may not walk off this cliff, but he’ll start avoiding his friend, and very likely find another to walk off. He may or may not learn his lesson after he gets injured and loses his friend.  The friend will feel angry, and may or may not learn his lesson as well.

But if the friend balances truth and love, perhaps he will stand between the man and the cliff and say something like, “I love you, man, but there’s a cliff here and I really don’t think you should walk off it. Come on, I’ll buy you lunch and we can talk about it.”

The man may or may not listen, and may or may not learn, but at least the friend will know he did what was right. He did not sit passively, nor did he attack his friend, rather, he spoke the truth in love. That’s the kind of friend I want to be.

What side do you err on?  Let’s pray for God to work on our hearts and minds, that we would marry the love and truth He has shown us in how we think, talk, and live.

Dear Jesus,

Help me to realize you are always the Truth (John 14:6), and the Love (1 John 4:8).  Show me how to live both out in my life (Ephesians 4:15) to reflect your nature of Truth-Love.
In Jesus’ Name,

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