I believe that God’s words are life and breath. That His ways are perfect. That the most empowered way I can possibly live on this earth is according to His ways, by His words. But how do I communicate all that power to a lost and dying world without overloading them?
The purpose of an electrical cord is to take power from the source to the people, to light their homes, to power their devices, to enable them to live at the most efficient level possible. But an electrical cord is made up of two parts, the conductive part which is the wire, and the nonconductive part which is the rubber coating.
When you and I are called to take the power of God from its source to the people, we must do it in two parts, in truth, which is the wire, and in love, which is the rubber coating. The purpose of the wire is to conduct the power from the source to the people, but the purpose of the rubber coating is to ensure that’s all it does, that the electricity does what it is meant to do, but only what it is meant to do, to keep it from doing that which it’s not supposed to do, such as setting fires and frying pacemakers.
There are two dangers that are warned about in Scripture. The first is to have love without truth. This is to have an empty rubber sleeve with no wire inside. The lights won’t turn on, the computer won’t charge, and there is no power to the life. The other danger is to have the wire without the rubber coating. One is useless, harmless, ineffectual. The other is painful, harmful, deadly.
Both are a failure to take the powerful truth of God, the powerful love of God, the powerful ways of God and get them to a lost and dying world. Both are a failure to perform the function that we as Christians are meant to perform. If the Bible warns about both dangers, then what am I to do? If neither is godly or an accurate representation of Jesus, then where am I to land? Where do I fall if I cannot walk this tightrope?
No one ever shied away from an empty rubber tube, but one zap from a naked, unprotected wire–truth without love–and people will jerk their hand back, wincing in pain, and stay as far away from the power cord–Christians–as they can get. And worse yet, unprotected by love, truth shorts out, and because there is a short in the wire, the power never reaches its intended destination, never accomplishes its intended purpose, and fails to light up a life. It only sets fires and stops hearts.
If I am naked truth, then I must do more than coat myself with love in order to be the instrument of power that God make me to be. Now I must coat myself in love and then go about healing the hurt I have inflicted before they are willing to get anywhere near me again. And only then can I hope to convey God’s power to a desperate people.
But if all I am is an empty rubber tube, empty of truth but full of love, then my task is simple. Begin to thread the wire of truth through my life, and, lo and behold, those around me are still in perfect position to receive the power that runs through me, having never run away in the first place. They receive the truth because they have learned not to be afraid of the Christian who loves.
If all I care about is the truth, love comes hard. I will see every sin and hate it, every failure and judge it. I will see the great chasm of difference between me and them and lift my voice loudly to God like the Pharisee in the temple to thank Him that I am not like this sinner.
But if all I care about is love, truth comes easy. What else would I tell the hurting but the truth because it is the truth that heals? What else would I tell the imprisoned but the truth because the truth sets free? What else would I tell the lost but the truth because only the Truth knows the Way, and only the Way brings Life.
I wish to speak truth, and I wish to do it out of love. I do not want to sacrifice one for the other. I do not wish to choose one over the other. But if I am still learning, if I am still growing, if I am still immature, if I have yet to achieve that perfect synthesis of truth and love that was Jesus Christ walking on this earth, then I choose love. Not at the expense of the truth, not to the exclusion of the truth, and not in opposition to the truth, but because there is no better conduit for the truth. I choose love, because Jesus did in going to the cross. In allowing lies to win the day and truth to remain silent, He chose love above all. I choose love. When love demands I speak, truth will be what comes out. And when love calls for silence, I will open not my mouth, because with or without words…
Nothing speaks louder than love.