Then we will no longer be like children, forever changing our minds about what we believe because someone has told us something different or has cleverly lied to us and made the lie sound like the truth. Instead, we will lovingly follow the truth at all times—speaking truly, dealing truly, living truly—and so become more and more in every way like Christ who is the Head of his body, the Church. Under his direction, the whole body is fitted together perfectly, and each part in its own special way helps the other parts, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.
Ephesians 4:14-16 TLB
Many years ago, 20 years ago unfortunately, my brothers in Christ and I used to have a saying that we would use in response to any harsh criticism voiced by another – “Oh Brother! Where’s the Love in that?”
This plea for compassion was voiced because we all knew this scripture Paul wrote in his letter to the church is Ephesus encouraging the believers to speak the truth in love. You see, it’s not that we don’t need to hear the truth or be corrected from time to time. But, rather, the truth we need to hear should be sprinkled with liberal amounts of Love. The world has a similar expression – you can catch more flies with honey than yo can with vinegar.
So, lets take this to the next level.
If this is how we are encouraged to speak to one another within the body of believers why shouldn’t we do the same for those who are outside? Many of us know this verse found in Mark when the scribes questioned Jesus about which commandment was the greatest –
And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
But, how many of us remember the rest of His answer?
Mark 12:28-31 KJV
I have a saying. Not one I made up but one I like and try to use. It says that no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care. We can do so much more for the Kingdom of God with love and compassion than we can with soapboxes and banners. Have you ever heard of believers being called “Bible-thumpers”? I can only imagine that this expression was born from those of us who have tried to use the Bible as a blunt force weapon of conversion rather than the scalpel for heat surgery its intended to be.
Jude gave us an encouraging word regarding not only how to care for our own salvation but the fate of those unsaved souls around us.
21 Stay always within the boundaries where God’s love can reach and bless you. Wait patiently for the eternal life that our Lord Jesus Christ in his mercy is going to give you. 22 Try to help those who argue against you. Be merciful to those who doubt. 23 Save some by snatching them as from the very flames of hell itself. And as for others, help them to find the Lord by being kind to them, but be careful that you yourselves aren’t pulled along into their sins. Hate every trace of their sin while being merciful to them as sinners.
Be Blessed. Al