Speak the truth in love


I attended a summer training program in Colorado when I was a young man.  Among other things, I was trained in evangelism.  I learned to share my story of coming to saving faith in Christ, and I learned to clearly explain the good news of hope in Jesus.  A group of us went to a nearby tourist town to do some street evangelism.  This town was known for new age spirituality with many people believing certain crystals and stones had spiritual qualities.  They worshipped created things rather than the Creator.

With fear and trembling, I approached a man and said, “Excuse me, but I really love Jesus.  I wonder if you would have a moment to talk about Him with me.”  The man explained he was Buddhist and would be happy to talk about Jesus as long as I was willing to also talk about Buddha.  I listened as he explained Buddhism, and he listened as I made the case for Jesus Christ.

Our group of street evangelists gathered for a debriefing later that day.  One young man explained how he had confronted several people on the street in a very direct and rough manner.  He took joy in picking a spiritual fight.  He smiled and said, “The Bible said the world hates Jesus, and I saw that today.”  I responded, “Those people on the street never had a chance to reject Jesus, because you were so unloving in the way you approached them.  You were too offensive for them to even hear what you were saying about Jesus today.”

Only Jesus had the right balance of truth and love.  Jesus is perfectly righteous and just, and He also offers grace and mercy.  I often miss this balance when I teach, and so I pray and labor to find the balance of truth and love.  We must never compromise the truth even if people choose to hate us for it, but we also must present the truth in humility and love.

1 Peter 3:14-16 – But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.