Why is it that so many Christians (many whose writings I usually appreciate) seem to think it’s cool to ignore 1 Corinthians 13:1 while “proclaiming the truth” (as if love equals weakness). Truth is paramount; however, humility and love must undergird all of our words. And the good of the hearer to the glory of God must be our motive.
Malicious sarcasm, abrasive speech, and arrogant “rightness” have no place in the delivery of the Word of God, and only demonstrate prideful motives.
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal…” (1 Corinthians 13:1)
Regardless of a man’s eloquent speech, or his “right-on” blog posts, if he speaks his words without love, they fall on our ears like a rusty, out-of-tune trumpet. Instead of the music acting as a balm to our weary souls, we are assaulted by a cacophony of clanging. We run from the room with our ears covered not because music is bad, but because of the rusty trumpet that fails to communicate any sort of melody!
Perhaps, more often than not, people don’t “get” what we’re saying because we’ve been more concerned about being right than we have been about getting to the heart of the hearer. Our presentation of any truth should be immersed in the love of Christ.
Each of us must walk worthy of our calling: “With all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:2-3, NKJV)
And as we present the truth to others, including our children, we “must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.” (2 Timothy 2:24-26, NKJV)
And for the record, this doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t boldly and unashamedly proclaim the truth of God’s Word. It just means that we don’t pridefully use “the truth” to destroy one another. Because if we do, we prove that the truth is not in us.
“But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.” (1 John 2:11, ESV)
This doesn’t mean that if I blow it, I am not a Christian. But it does mean that if I continue to walk in a way that communicates a distinct lack of love for my brother, my sinful heart is exposed and I better repent.
And let us all avoid dissensions and quarrels about the law, and commit to firmly communicating the truth – firmly, boldly, graciously, and always, always in love.
“But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.” (Titus 3:9-11, ESV)
And as far as the Internet goes, keep in mind that unbelievers are watching. We will either hallow His name or cause it to be blasphemed among the cyber-heathen.
Remember, a soft answer turns away wrath. And if you can’t find a soft answer, perhaps you should walk away. I’ve had to do that. I can slip into sarcasm very easily (you should see all the “great replies” that dance through my head when someone is being snippy. Thankfully, through conviction and consequence, God is teaching me to guard my tongue…and my keyboard. So, let’s pray for each other because…
“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;” (1 Corinthians 13:4-6,)