Imagine you are at dinner with friends one evening. You have traveled to the city to see them and are enjoying a wonderful time together. Suddenly, out of the corner of your eye you spot the husband of a dear friend of yours from back home sitting at a table nearby. You think you must be seeing things, so you turn away. But, wait, no, that must be him. You nudge your husband and ask him to look.
You both see him sitting there with another woman and they are holding hands across the table. There is obviously something going on that is more than friendship.
What would you do?
Seriously– what would you do?
Do you tell your friend? Or do you ignore it?
Most of us, if we are the woman’s true friend, will let her know that her husband is cheating on her. That is what true friends do. This is what true love does–it tells the truth, no matter how messy or hard–knowing that delaying it only makes it worse.
But there are some of us who wouldn’t do anything. Because it is just too hard and it makes us uncomfortable. And so the next time we see her we just act like everything is okay and figure she will figure it out sooner or later.
Which friend would you rather have? The one who cares enough about you to tell you the truth or the one who ignores what she saw and pretends like everything is okay and lets you live in ignorance?
Personally, I would want to know. Ignorance is bliss but only for a short time. Waiting only compounds the problem. But some of you would rather not know. You’d rather just live in your own world for as long as you can.
The truth can be hard. It demands action. And it can hurt. But, in the end, it is always better to know.
Some of us would hear our friend speak the truth and we would listen openly. Others of us would grow angry and defensive and it would destroy the friendship.
We have been conditioned to believe that anything negative is bad, but sometimes we need to hear the negative. True love turns us into not only a loving speaker of truth, but a willing listener, as well.
This same thing is true for Christian brothers and sisters. True love demands telling the truth and true love turns a defensive, unwilling heart into a listening heart.
I am amazed at how few Christians are willing to do either of these things– speak the truth or listen to the truth.
People are willing to speak up about a lot of things–politics, sports, their favorite passion or hobby–but they are not willing to defend the Word of God. They aren’t willing to say “According to God’s Word…” This is so evident on Facebook, where Christians will stand for so many things–except for God’s Word. They have been brainwashed into believing that this is the ultimate offense.
And, on the flip side of this, few Christians are willing to listen to someone who is pointing people back to the Word of God in the midst of all the heresy and apostasy taking place today. They believe that anything negative is, by its very nature, unloving.
The unwillingness to do these things has literally transformed the church into an ineffective, unbiblical model that offers a watered-down false gospel. The unwillingness to do this has transformed individuals who claim the name of Christ into self-seeking, self-absorbed people who are unconcerned with scripture and doctrine. The unwillingness to do this has created a new generation that believes in a social gospel–that only serving matters.
I watched a video recently (if you have time, please watch this–it is incredibly insightful into what is going on in the modern day church) and I was distressed to see clips of two celebrity “pastors” implying that one can’t love and tell the truth at the same time.
The implication was that truth and discernment are mutually exclusive from love and service.
Is this true?
Of course not!
But you know what? Most of the church has bought into this. They believe that telling the truth is unloving–because of men like these who don’t care about doctrine and have brainwashed their congregations and then the Christian public at large into believing this.
If you are honest with yourself, you may even believe this–at least partly.
I don’t really think writing about this is going to make even a bit of difference. The die has been cast, the mold is set. It is not changing. The only thing I hope to do with this post is to encourage you–my reader–to recognize that truth and love are not mutually exclusive, but, in fact, are both necessary and work together beautifully in the true Christian’s life.
And I hope to encourage you to speak and listen to the truth according to God’s Word. In this upside down world, where celebrity pastors with ungodly church models rule the day, we can get a little tossed around and end up with the wrong beliefs, if we aren’t careful. Let’s remember that only in God’s Word can we find truth and that we are called to boldly proclaim it. And that only by listening to the truth with a submissive and obedient heart will we spiritually grow and change.
Check out these verses–
Proverbs 18:13; Proverbs 19:20; Luke 8:21; John 8:47; 2 Corinthians 4:2; Galatians 4:16; Ephesians 4:15; I Thessalonians 2:13