Posts Tagged 1 John 4: 7

Love and Truth

1 John 4: 7

God is love.

John 14: 6

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through me.”

There is an intersection between truth and love. Perhaps a better analogy would be of a cord or rope that is made by twisting several threads together. Love and truth are a part of one whole. They go together. There can be no truth apart from love because Jesus is the truth and God is love. They must go hand in hand.

I have been learning this lesson the hard way for quite a number of years now. I hope I now have it. Because I have always valued truth so highly I thought other people did too. In my paradigm there is no knowledge without truth. I didn’t want to be wrong so I was willing to accept the truth. I have lived in a world where I was happy to be taught something outside my present reality because I was in search of truth and knowledge. I could be corrected because I was after actual truth, not just my version of it. I have learned, though, that most people are not like me. Most of us have a real investment in being right. And many times we are happy in our delusions and misinformation so we don’t thank a person who teaches us otherwise. We certainly don’t applaud them for correcting us. 

Truth apart from love does not set people free. I labored under the delusion that truth alone will set people free but that is not what the Bible says. It says, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8: 32). You see, it is only the truth that you hear that will set you free. People will only be able to receive the truth when it is spoken with love. So before we try to correct people, we must first love them. I wish we could just speak the naked truth and people adopt it and change but it just doesn’t work that way. Our criticisms, verdicts and censures are preventing the truth from being heard. We are preaching the law of death, judgment and condemnation when we ought to be preaching the message of love and reconciliation. The law kills. Only love sets free. 

No matter what we think of another person’s lifestyle, even when it seems clear that they are in violation of Biblical principles, there is only one approved approach and that is to love them. We have created a society where few people really feel like they fit in. I am shocked by the number of people who tell me that they have felt like a square peg in a round hole. I look at them and think they fit but they have lived in a system of condemnation rather than acceptance so that they don’t feel approved. They constantly feel abnormal and rejected. It is so easy to identify what we believe is someone’s fault, sin or error. Why do we find it so much more difficult to applaud what they do right? And besides that, why can’t we love them just because they are children of God? Maybe our damage is showing. 

I had a situation where someone I knew was involved in adultery. I had the worst time trying to accept them because they continued in the adultery. I mean that one is on God’s Top Ten List. I could point to it and say, “I know that is wrong.” It turns out, though, that it was not my job to pass judgment, even in the case where the Bible was clear. Only Jesus has been given the right to judge. My job is to love. I mean, read the book. How many times did Jesus tell us not to judge but rather to love others? So the bottom line is that no matter how much we disapprove of another’s way of living or their actions, it has not been given to us to correct them. Jesus has given us the job of loving every single person on this earth. This is what I call “Adult Christianity” because this isn’t easy but we who want to be mature must grow up in it. We must do what is difficult. We cannot judge a person into Christianity but we sure can love them into it. Love is the greatest power there is and it draws all people unto itself. If you want to abide in truth, you must first abide in love. Truth without love is just dressed up condemnation and rejection. Let us not be masters of that. Be known as a person of great love. That is a high and worthy ambition.