Speaking the Truth in Love

When you are speaking to an unbeliever, it doesn’t matter how persuasive you are or how compelling and logical your arguments sound, if the Spirit of God does not work in that persons heart, your words will simply fall on deaf ears. Therefore, when we do evangelism, we must be completely reliant on the Holy Spirit to use our words and make that person’s heart receptive to our message. I would like to add something else to that thought. When we share the gospel with someone, we must speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). If we share the truth, but speak with an argumentative tone, and are ready to pounce on their every question, chances are they will be less receptive your words. While I have known people like that, it has been my experience that most Christians are quite willing to listen to the unbeliever’s questions. If they are truly interested, they will have questions, but we must listen and be respectful of that person, while answering their questions as best we can. Paul told the Colossians in 4:6, “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”

So while most Christians (in my estimation) are pretty at good at listening and being respectful of those they dialogue with, we are not as good at speaking “the truth.” We have a tendency to conclude that if we are going to speak the truth in love, then we can’t speak the truth. If we are going to be loving to that person, we can’t speak the truth of the Gospel because it might offend them. Thus, we are loving and kind and personable, but we fail to speak the truth. As you know, this is much more “unloving” than to speak the truth. To not share the greatest news in the world is a terrible thing, especially when we know the consequences for those who fail to embrace that good news. I do realize that it takes a lot of courage and boldness to share with your friend at work who you already know is going to think you’re nuts as soon as you share with Him, but you must speak the truth precisely because you love him. This also applies to those who are already a part of the Body of Christ as well. If we know a Christian brother is caught up in sin, we must speak the truth in love to that brother. It is much easier to pat him on the back for all good things he’s doing, but because we love him, we must challenge him “in love” so that he might be restored. Standing for the truth is not always easy, but it must be done and it must be done in love.

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