Jesus loves people. Even MORE a lot.
As a follower of Christ, I desperately want people to know of His Amazing love. I want them to come into His presence and be lavished with His beautiful grace and mercy. I want to LOVE. LIKE. JESUS…
I am realizing that part of loving like Jesus though is telling someone the truth, even though it may be hard. Sometimes, we must confront a friend, or those we LOVE, so that God’s amazing grace can wash them clean. I read a quote that said something like: “The truth will set you free… but at first it will make you angry.” This can be true. It is HARD to speak up sometimes. It can be scary, but sometimes, it needs to be done.
We cannot love to the point we negate truth, but at the same time we cannot be SO focused on truth that we bash, turn people away from Christ, spew hateful words, and just, well forget about loving.
There is a balance, but there HAS to BE BOTH.
“Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment.” Proverbs 12:19
It is one I am always working on. Sometimes, I love to the point that I don’t speak up, and other times I speak up when I just need to love.
If we want to truly love like Jesus, we have to remember that he also was perfect. He was sinless. He was about truth. He confronted that truth, IN LOVE, yes, but he still confronted sin. He still spoke truth. He was never hateful or bashed people over the head, but he gently spoke truth, confronted their sin, and told them of a better way to live.
The reason was not to bash them, but BECAUSE He loved them enough to know that through Him they could have abundant life.
Love has it’s root grounded in truth.
If we want a relationship with Christ, we must first admit to ourselves that we are broken. We are sinful. We NEED Christ. We HAVE to tell that truth to people. If we are simply loving and never sharing the total truth, they may never come to repentance and then we could be held responsible for that. (Read Ezekiel 33)
Now this does NOT mean we bash them over the head and give them a list of everything they have EVER done wrong and tell them they cannot come to Christ until they have totally overcome those sins… but it DOES mean we have to be honest with them. If they ask us if something they are doing is sinful (and this goes for those already in Christ as well) and we know through God’s Word that it is, we have to be honest, and tell them the truth, that…
Yes, it is wrong, but Christ loves you regardless, and through grace and mercy, and because of His blood, you can be made new. NO. MATTER. WHAT. There is NO sin, mistake, mess up, whatever that is too much or too big or too bad for Christ’s grace. His blood covers all.
There are so many extremes out there and we have to be careful not to fall on either side of either extreme. There is the extreme of TRUTH TRUTH TRUTH with no grace and no love, that just wants to bash people over the head with their mistakes. The result is people who feel discouraged that they will never be good enough to come to Christ. They are too far gone, too bad, or that their sins are too big for Christ to forgive… so they get disheartened, give up, and run farther away.
The other extreme is to LOVE LOVE LOVE and never face the truth. Never confront sin. Never say how coming to Christ requires change. It requires repentance. It requires realizing that we are a big ball o mess on our own and that we need Jesus to forgive that mess in order for our relationship with God the Father to be restored. Jesus shed his blood for our sins. He gave his LIFE for us so that we may live. We need to confront that. If we do not, and are not honest with people about it we run the risk of, and I HATE using this term, but it is a fairly good description… “loving people to hell” … and we never want to give anyone a false assurance of salvation.
I love the story of the woman caught in adultery… Jesus rescued her from being stoned. He loved her. He got down on her level and showed her love, grace, mercy and compassion… but at the end he said:
“Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” John 8:10-11
That is the perfect example of speaking truth in love. Having BOTH truth and love. Because you see? If you TRULY love, you cannot have one without the other.
True love tells the truth.
“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32
Lord, help me know the difference. Help me have the balance that YOU had. As with the woman caught in adultery, you loved her. You met her where she was, you lavished her with grace and mercy and… LOVE… but you also told her to “go and sin no more” — Lord, help me love like you, realizing that your loves requires BOTH unconditional love AND total truth.