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Amy is co-host and blogger for both Stand Up for the Truth and Naomi's Table, two ministries that give her the opportunity to write and talk about Jesus all day long. She has written, produced and broadcast in the realm of television and radio news, magazine business journals and marketing materials.

[Speaking the Truth] in Love

(Submitted by Heath Pucel, Burnbrothers Ministries)

en agapē

We never want to fail to mention the controlling agent in speaking the truth. Lest our speaking be harsh, mean-spirited, insensitive, or arrogant, Paul adds a principle in Ephesians 4:15 that must control our speaking—we are to speak the truth in love (see Jan. 19-21).

While Paul wrote many strong, sometimes even scathing, rebukes to the believers in Corinth, for example, no one there could have accused him of being unkind or unloving. Likewise, this will keep us from speaking rudely, unkindly, arrogantly, or overbearingly. A pastor must never “browbeat” God’s people; neither should any believer be arrogant, overbearing, or use “high-pressure techniques” in personal witnessing. Our goal is to humbly and lovingly point people to the Lord and His truth.

Further, love is the balancing agent of conviction and courage. When the child of God has convictions and courageously stands on them, he will be called “closed-minded,” “intolerant,” “hard-nosed,” and many other things, but when love is the balancing agent, people will take notice.

One commentator ably demonstrates the comparison of love and truth by pointing out that speaking the truth without love makes us ungracious, while speaking only love with no truth makes us unfaithful. In other words, “raw truth” can alienate the people we are trying to reach, while “uncontrolled love” can suppress the very truth we need to share.

The famous early nineteenth-century missionary to China and Bible translator Robert Morrison (1782-1834) tells the story of when as a young student, perhaps about sixteen years of age, he once ate breakfast with Caesar Malan, a Swiss Reformed preacher in Geneva. Upon discovering that Morrison was a young student of divinity, Malan said, “Well, my young friend, see that you hold up the lamp of truth to let the people see. Hold it up, hold it up, and trim it well. But remember this: You must not dash the lamp in people’s faces; that would not help them to see.” Morrison adds that he remembered those words often throughout his life, and so should we.[190]
Jeffrey Dane Watson, A Word for the Day: Key Words from the New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2006), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 206-207.

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4 Responses to “[Speaking the Truth] in Love”

  1. Dave #

    Mike& Amy, God loves me and everybody else more than I can Know. To not know Jesus as Lord and savior and pass away,is the most terrible thing that I can imiagine.I will witness at the thretening of the dropping of a hat.There is no amount of embarrassment that comes close to matching the pain I would feel if I failed to witness to someone who The Holy Spirit had prepared and put in my path!I want the best for everyone.The best is a relationship with The Father through The Son. For today and forever……Dave

    July 26, 2012 at 8:22 AM Reply
  2. Darrel #

    Sorry, Heath and Amy, Eph. 4:15 is speaking of how a pastor/teacher will instruct and/or correct a fellow believer. It is not referring to preaching the Gospel to the lost. The cross is supposed to be offensive to the lost before they are or can be saved. To sugar coat the Gospel with today's version of "love" does a great dis-service to those who may hear this. In fact, in doing this one is not showing the love of Christ at all. In stead they are being shown the same old easy-believism that is rampant in the visible church of our day, one that saves no one and leaves the hearers with the false notion that all is well between them and God.

    July 26, 2012 at 3:31 PM Reply
  3. Mr Davis #

    Darrel having personally evangelized with Heath I know for a fact Heath uses the law when someone doesn't already understand their need for salvation. But like Heath said folks already walking in a gay lifestyle are already convicted by our very presence that what they are doing is wrong in God's eyes.

    When we are sharing the Gospel, Lying is the same as murder in God's eyes for he who said do not lie also said do not murder and if you've broken the law in one part you have broken it all. This seems to be lost on you. God hates all sin and pride most of all. And what of the first command: you shall have no other Gods before me which is explained in this Love the Lord your God with all your heart all your soul and all your might. Who does that? If we understood what that means we would not think that we meet that requirement even for a moment. Thus we find ourselves in desperate need of God's mercy and grace found only in Christ Jesus. In this desperation, when salvation is realized by faith by a rebirth in the Spirit of Christ, the Holy Spirit, there is an oupouring of gratitude leading to obedience and a hatred for our own sin. Without this there is no salvation.

    Romans 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

    From this point forward we are hid in Christ covered in His blood and His righteousness and out of our gratitude our desire to serve Him in everything grows. This is a process and one where frankly we never see ourselves as right but rather as the depraved man we are and our understanding of our desperation grows. This is why we need fellowship with other believers who can attest to the fruit of the Spirit being made manifest in us, because we see ourselves as wretched.

    2 Corinthians 13:5 KJV
    Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

    I sense Darrel that you do not feel this is the case, you may feel your pretty good or maybe even perfect and that for this reason you feel you have a cause against your Brother whom Christ purchased to Himself by His own Blood. Why do you judge another mans servant?

    Romans 14:4 Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.

    2 Corinthians 10:12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.

    Lets stop this nonsense!

    July 27, 2012 at 4:42 AM Reply
  4. Darrel #

    Mr. Davis, Wow, where to begin!! My comment was not an attack on Heath or anyone else. Rather, I do attack, and will continue to do so, the modern day definition of "love" as it seeks to eviscerate the power of the Holy Spirit as He deals with the lost. Did you just get angry with me because I pointed out a flaw in the thinking of Heath? Did I accuse Heath of being lost because I disagreed with something he said? No. You have accused me of some pretty nasty things, is this the type of love that you show all your brothers in Christ? It seems you have a good grasp on the workings of salvation and sanctification (much better than most) in a believer. This leaves me at a loss to understand why you brushed up against accusing me of being lost, though you did not come out and say that plainly (please reread you own words in the paragraph that begins with: "I sense Darrel…"). It is very disturbing that you have accused me of accusing Heath (again, disagreeing with someone does not equal accusation) and yet you have taken it upon yourself to do the very thing that you accuse me of doing, that being accusing a brother in Christ—me. Where do you get this authority?

    My beef is not with Heath or you, Mr. Davis, It is with the current definition of "love" that has permeated the Christian community for all too long and most especially how so many "preachers" are willing to bow to the demands of this "love" by negating the offense of the cross. In doing this they please men and not God.

    May the Holy Spirit open our hearts to the Word.

    July 28, 2012 at 3:33 AM Reply

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