…speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, (Ephesians 4:15, ESV)
This verse holds within it an essential key to our relationships with other Christians. We are told to “speak the truth in love” to our believing neighbors. Doing so requires wisdom from God and careful attention to balance. By balance, I mean that we can easily fall into one of two ditches.
The “Truth” People
This guy knows his beliefs backward and forward. He understands doctrine inside and out and watches like and eagle for deviants so that he might swoop in on his prey and set them straight. But not only is he the Truth police, but takes on the role of morality enforcer as well. When people step into a pile of sin (or what some could possibly perceive as sin) he’s immediately in their face to let them know very matter-of-factly that they have screwed up and better get back on track.
The “Love” People
This person wants to just to be tender and compassions — so much so that they begin to mistake genuine love for a mamsy-pamsy, loosey-goosey, unquestioning acceptance of behavior or beliefs. They don’t want to offend or in anyway pass judgment so willingly accommodate everyone’s believes and behaviors, thinking all along, “Well, who am I to say anything, after all, I’m not perfect either!”.
The Truth in Love People
Frankly, neither of those are the kind of people that Jesus Christ wants us to be. We’re told to speak the truth in love. That means that we do care about doctrine and right teaching. We do care about right living and moral behavior. When we see a believer who has wandered morally or doctrinally, we gently and lovingly correct. The Truth in Love Person is by your side, not in your face. He doesn’t “talk at you” but walks beside you. He cares, not about being right, but about the other person and their relationship with God. He doesn’t mistake love for out and out acceptance of behavior or beliefs but he approaches the person with prayer, understanding and humility.
My God, by his Holy Spirit, make us Truth in Love People.