Devotional: Love And Truth Are Inseparable
Bible Reading: 2 Corinthians 2:5-8; Genesis 32:22-33
“I am not overstating it when I say that the man who caused all the trouble hurt all of you more than he hurt me. Most of you opposed him, and that was punishment enough. Now, however, it is time to forgive and comfort him. Otherwise he may be overcome by discouragement. So I urge you now to reaffirm your love for him” [2 Corinthians 2:5-8 NLT].
Just recently I heard someone say to another person, “Just tell Jesus that you love Him and you will go to heaven!” As soon as I heard this I felt uneasy because it is so far removed from the Biblical concept of what a Christian is. We are to love Jesus but also must embrace truth. In the famous “love chapter” Paul writes, “Love rejoices with the truth” [1 Corinthians 13:6 NIV]. Love and truth are two inseparable twins. Elsewhere Paul says that we are to speak the truth in love. This is a key to growing into maturity as a Christian [Ephesians 4:15].
Paul is writing to the Corinthians in the context of someone who has caused a lot of trouble in the church. It is possible that this was the same Christian Brother who had been in an immoral relationship with his father’s wife or step-mother [1 Corinthians 5:1ff]. His sin was damaging to the church, and the church had refused to deal with it. Following Paul’s letter the church repented of their complacency and dealt with the issue and the man had been punished [2 Corinthians 2:6 NIV]. It appears that the man had been sorrowful and repented. The necessary discipline given out of love for both the church and this offender had achieved its goal, and it was now time to put that in the past. So it is that Paul encourages them to forgive, comfort and reaffirm their love for him [verse 7-8].
Because love and truth go together it is sometimes called tough love! Love does not flinch from doing what is right. Some of our young pastors in Indonesia had issues of sexual immorality. They would be asked to step down from ministry for a period of twelve months, to give them time to consider their actions and repent. Most, but not all of them, came through this time as much stronger Christians and better leaders. This is love and truth working together.
We read in the story of Jacob that God had to hurt him in order to get his attention. The Lord put his hip out of joint, but it was an act of love, and the resultant change in Jacob’s life was stunning. God loved him enough to hurt him!
- Why do you think that people have pretended that love is simply a soft and pleasant emotion that does not deal with truth?
- Have you ever experienced God’s tough love in your own life, as He deals with unresolved sinful issues?
- Why is church discipline so necessary and important, but so difficult to put into practice?
For more of Pastor Michael Ross-Watson’s daily devotional series, please visit michaelrosswatson.com.