When someone learns the truth for the first time they are lit like a firecracker. Excited to tell everyone! This is evangelism.
Eventually reality sets in: not everyone wants to hear the truth. Speaking it to those that disagree is seen as annoying, irritating, contentious, and divisive.
… and that’s just among other Christians!
The bold excitement turns into anxiety as they hear complaints, “You’re being too loud! Quiet down! Be more loving!” Maybe they’re right, after all, Christians ought to walk in love and peace, right?
The dilemma arises, “Am I being unloving by speaking the truth?”
Let me encourage you. Put aside this nonsensical question! Do not be deterred! The dilemma is false, a myth, a lie. You do not need to choose between loving people and speaking the truth.
Speaking the truth to benefit others is what the Bible calls love (Eph 4:15)! Peace and unity comes from acknowledging the truth! There is nothing more loving than to see the truth benefit others (1 Tim 2:4; 1 Cor 13:6).
The truth is only an offense to people who do not want to hear it. For them, the one speaking it becomes the offender. If you remain silent about the truth no one will be offended by it, but you are hiding the truth.
You cannot choose between loving others and speaking truth. They go together. If you love others, you will speak the truth, but they may not like it or you.
Now we come to the real dilemma in ministry. What do we value most: people liking us more, or people hearing the truth? The one serves yourself, the other serves God.
Paul’s answer to this dilemma is found in 2 Cor 12:15, Galatians 1:10, and Galatans 4:16. I like Paul a lot, but Paul was not seeking my approval.
Pray for this kind of boldness (Eph 6:18-20).
For His glory,
Justin “loved less” Johnson