”And Christ gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ” (Ephesians 4:11-15).
Like his Lord Jesus, the apostle Paul was committed to truth and love, to the truth of God’s word and a love for God’s people. Paul knew that the two coexisted and that neither can outweigh the other without causing great harm. Truth without love can be harsh and legalistic. Love without truth tends to be sentimental and as a result often departs from the truth of the gospel.
Personally, something inside of me recoils when I hear someone say, “Well, that’s not very loving” on the heels of a bold proclamation of the gospel and biblical truth. It seems to me, that an emotions driven culture has even worked its way into the church, an arena that is supposed to be guided by God’s absolute truth. Or as the apostle Paul told Timothy, “I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth” (I Timothy 4:15).
Sadly to say, because some preachers don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or make them feel uncomfortable, or offend donors, biblical truth and sound doctrine are often compromised to keep congregants happy. Therefore, issues such as holiness, biblical morality, the sanctity marriage, and many other topics are often given short shrift or ignored all together.
In the eyes of the apostle Paul, boldly proclaiming God’s truth, be it from the pulpit or in personal conversation, is the most loving thing that one can do. Speaking the truth in love means, if I love you, I will always tell you the truth, in spite of the consequences. For, as Jesus said, “…the truth will make you free” (John 8:31).