Ephesians 4:15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. (NIV)
There’s something heavy that has been weighing on my heart for several years. It sometimes causes me to wake up in the middle of the night and sadly reflect on how some people that I dearly love are being misled by what is untrue, unjust, and even unchristian. I see them being drawn into a web of lies by charismatic personalities whose only reason to sway them is to create chaos and make money from the confusion. As a shepherd, I want to bring them back into the fold of faith and common sense, away from this influence, but I can’t seem to find the right words of caution or the genuine reasons that will convince them to let go of the falsehoods that are actually harming them.
The apostle Paul also went through some similar times, especially when corrupt leaders in the Early Church tried to move people away from Christ and toward them. Paul was gravely concerned about how this would affect the faith of the young congregations that he had helped to plant, so he decided to speak the truth lovingly, in order to guide the new Christians in Ephesus to recognize what was wrong and get them back on the right path to faith, hope, and love. It wasn’t an easy thing to do – confronting foolishness and falsehoods often led to conflict for Paul, but he felt compelled to speak the truth in love, so that some – not necessarily all – could reflect on their choices and recognize that they had been totally manipulated by the wrong ideas, bad leaders, and false theories.
So, for the people that I love so dearly, I need to speak the truth in love because this is what Christ compels me to do, for the sake of their souls and the well-being of their lives. I leave you with this other beautiful verse from Paul which encourages all of the followers of Jesus to be Christ-like by producing and practicing the fruits of the Spirit:
Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You always speak truly and lovingly. Forgive our foolish notions and for clinging to false words and ways. Help us to seek the truth and find our faith again. In Your Holy Name, we humbly pray. Amen.