Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Truth or Dare (08/28/08)
TITLE: TRUTH IN LOVE
By Linda Payne
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In Ephesians, Paul encourages us to “speak the truth in love.” Now, when my children were younger, they had a penchant for speaking the truth. Standing in line at the grocery store one day, my son saw an African-American woman ahead of us. In a loud voice that could be heard throughout the store he announced, “Mommy, that lady has a black face!” And, in case we didn’t hear him the first time, he kept announcing it. Or another son who told an elderly member of our church that she had a turtle neck (the animal, not the sweater). Speaking the truth? Yes, from a childish perspective. Speaking the truth in love? Maybe not.
Our founding fathers wrote, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” Yet, most of them owned slaves. In fact, Bible-believing, God-fearing, church-going people owned slaves and could back up their beliefs with their understanding and perception of scripture! Down through the centuries, horrors have been perpetrated by those who felt they had the Truth on their side. Even today we have churches fighting each other over their interpretation of Truth. Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, the Life,” yet we quarrel and bicker over what that means, and pass judgment on those who disagree with us, calling them non-Christian or condemning them to hell. With so much infighting and beating each other over the head with our truth, is it any wonder the world does not listen to us?
I came upon a little book this summer called, THREE SIMPLE RULES, by Rueben P. Job, based on some teachings of John Wesley. These rules are: 1. Do no harm. 2. Do good. 3. Stay in love with God. These are “truths” for me, and correlate with the two commandments Jesus told us are the most important: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind”, and “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” These are the only truths we really need. We need to let go of childish ways of speaking, thinking and acting. We need to move beyond our own understandings and perceptions. We need to speak and live the truth in love. I may not always understand you or agree with you. Your perception and understanding of what the Bible says may be totally different than mine. But, if we reach out to one another in an attitude of love and mutual respect, not seeking so much to be heard as to hear, perhaps the world would be more responsive to our message of Truth.
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