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Monday, 11 July 2011

The love and truth "balance"?

The right metaphor / illustration / analogy?
It is sometimes argued that truth and love lie at the opposite ends of a spectrum and that churches are either loving (but not truthful) or truthful (but not loving).

The problem with this "spectrum" analogy is that it does not allow both ends to be represented fully - the best you can get is 50% loving and 50% truthful!

So let's ditch the metaphor because it just ain't Biblical. 

Jesus - full of both grace and truth
About the nearest we get to both love and truth appearing in one verse is John 1, first  verse 14, referring to the Word, "who came from the Father, full of grace and truth" and then verse 17, which reads "For the Law came through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ."

Jesus Christ, in other words, was filled with both grace (undeserved loved) and truth. It was not either /or, but both.

The double-barrelled gun
So a better analogy, perhaps is a double-barreled gun; and the question becomes "Are you/ is your church filled with both love and truth?"

A church which has love but no truth turns into a sentimental community - easily swayed by error of all kinds. A church which has truth but no love dies.

Love the priority?
If there was a priority of virtues, or to put it another way, if you had the choice between which came first, it would certainly be love. Jesus says that love is the badge of NT discipleship (John 3:34-35) - he never says this about truth. Paul argues that of Hope Faith and Love (notice truth doesn't appear in his top three), love is the greatest (1 Corinthians 13).

Love is the platform across which the truth - which is sometimes painful - travels. Jesus went around doing good as well as preaching  (Acts 10:38).

Why did people listen to Jesus? Not only because of the winsomeness of his words, they also listened because they were loved.

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