Sometimes we are afraid to speak the truth for fear of creating an offense. That is understandable because we see a lot of people speaking from their unthrottled passions without thinking and measuring the impact of their words. It causes damage to the image of Christ and the reputation of the church. While those negative interactions can happen, they should never muzzle a believer from speaking the truth in any context of life, no matter how controversial.
One mark of maturity as a follower of Christ is what Paul described as “speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). This vocal expression of maturity has three parts – speaking, expressing the truth, and delivering the content in love. If we are speaking the truth without love, we can destroy relationships and shut the door to further dialogue even with those who were initially willing to hear what we had to say. On the other hand, if all we do is “love” people without inserting truth somewhere in the conversation, we will leave them adrift in their sin or deception not providing the salty content of truth that has the power to set people free.
To be paralyzed by the fear of offending someone with the truth has kept many in the Church silent in fear of being branded a bigot, a phobic person, or unloving and judgmental. We have not been called to simply carry truth as an intellectual possession. That is why Paul linked a vocal faith with maturity. What many are shying away from is the abundance of immature expressions of faith. That is understandable, but silence should never become a way of life. Fear is the foundation of that mindset. Love will always attempt to cast out fear because if left unchallenged, it will produce a bondage of silence.
A silent faith is an illusion when compared to the history of the Church. A vocal faith opened supernatural doors of opportunity, healed the sick, raised the dead, and got people martyred because the truth they expressed interfered with the plans of hell. We need to always remain open to an opportunity to speak the truth in love or we will walk through life looking like someone wrapped in chains with our mouths gagged while the world around us is dying because no one is present to speak the truth in love.
This is a good word for me today. I’ve been looking for opportunities lately, feeling that God has led me to a greater awareness of when and how to interact truthfully with others.
Oh the paralysis of fear that must be rebuked in Jesus’ name! I love the expression “vocal truth” and its counter balance of “love”. Truth and love gives the coupled effect of God’s changing power which we all desperately need.
Yours in Christ,
Apostle Jonathan Khan.
Doctrines like “hell”, “penal substitution theory” and “pretrib rapture” have tossed a dark wet towel over the Good News of the Gospel. It’s these doctrines interject fear and intimidation not only for the proclaimer but for the receiver. They cloud the true nature of a heavenly Father who’s very nature is love. Cognitive dissonance becomes the product, a very contrary message to “glad tidings of great joy which shall be to all people”
It needs to be remembered also that “speaking the truth in love” can be costly to the one who offers words of strong counsel. There is the battle of faith, to remain in the assurance that the Lord is really calling one to deliver such a message. And then there is the bearing of the reproach that will often follow, when the words are not received or misunderstood. But the words that are spoken in love will bear good fruit in due time as we step out in faith and trust that the Lord is really wishing us to deliver that message.