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Loving Others with the Truth November 10, 2006

Posted by larrylaz in Links, Random Musings.
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One of the things that I find most difficult in ministry is having to tell people things which I know they are not going to like to hear. This happens frequently and it is almost always painful. I first have to painfully examine my own motives to make sure I am truly seeking to love the other person by pointing them to Jesus, not critically pointing out shortcomings to make myself feel more spiritual.

Once I have searched out my motives, it is still hard to correct others. I am always tempted with a sense of fear that the person I have to speak with will think I am unloving or will otherwise resent the truth that I am trying to share. I believe the root of this is a total blurring of what true love is, which our culture breeds into us without our even knowing it. We are inherently taught that loving others means making them feel good, and that any course of action that leads to pain or conflict is unloving.

This seems to be a complete lie according to Scripture, and I am grateful for the multiple examples from Jesus and the other biblical writers, who demonstrate genuine love toward others by not refusing to speak the hard things into the lives of others. One such example is in Hebrews 6,

“4For it is impossible to restore again to repentance those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6if they then fall away, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt. 7For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. 8But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned. 9Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things—things that belong to salvation.”

The use of the word ‘Beloved’ in verse 9 is revealing in light of what the writer has just said. He has just told them that they ought to be teachers by now but they have become dull of hearing (see chapter 5). Then he holds out the possibility that some of them may not even be genuine Christians and are in danger of re-crucifying the Son of God. And right after all that, he tells them, ‘You are my beloved’. At times, love must pierce with the truth.  What a breath of fresh air that is from our cultural understanding of love which makes the measure of love to be found in helping others feel good about themselves.

Here is an audio clip from a sermon on this text in Hebrews which elaborates on this idea of how to truly love others. It was a source of encouragement to me as I seek to love people for Christ’s sake.

Larry

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