“Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love.” I Corinthians 16:13-14
Last week, I focused on Verse 13 above as I spoke about holding fast to our convictions when we know they are clear instructions from YHVH’s word. In Part 2 this week I will focus on the second part of this passage above, which says that everything we do should be done in love. From I Corinthians 13 Verse 2 we know that even if we are working miracles through Holy Spirit gifts and have greater faith than the Apostles, “so that we could remove mountains, but have not love, we are nothing”.
The same adage goes for mentoring and discipling other believers – if we are not “speaking the truth in love” (Eph 4:15), then we are better off not speaking at all. Whenever the Holy Spirit puts on our heart that we are to speak with someone, our words need to be spoken “with grace, seasoned with salt, that we may know how we ought to answer each one” (Col 4:6).
When we put this together with Verse 13 above, it means that we are to stand firm in our convictions and not be swayed by the world’s compromise with YHVH’s word, but when we do speak out we need to be sensitive to the beliefs and feelings of others. Does this sensitivity to their beliefs mean that we are to be silent and avoid delicate topics like homosexuality? No, most certainly not! If we were silent, then we would no longer be watchman for YHVH’s Word to others in the world.
So how do we keep the delicate balance between offending people (even friends and family) and speaking the truth in love? Actually, we cannot avoid offending people when we speak God’s truth. Didn’t Yeshua say:”And blessed is the one who is not offended because of Me” (Matt 11:6), and then: “…you will be hated by all for My name’s sake” (Luke 21:17). Many people were offended by Yeshua’s words, and He told His disciples (including us) that we would be hated when we speak His words and His name.
I believe we need to state the Godly convictions we stand on and why we are so passionate about them. This way, the person will not think we are judging them, and we will not so easily repel them with our strong words. We need to come from the perspective that we love God and want to follow His instructions because He first loved us, and because He made the most incredible sacrifice of all time for us. He hung on a tree for us when we were still sinners and didn’t deserve His love or His sacrifice.
It is only God’s amazing love that will draw people to Him. Until people understand the depth of Yehovah’s love and concern for them as individuals, and that He wants to have a personal relationship with them, there is no hope that they will listen to more serious matters. Once they reach this understanding in their heart, then you can gently start speaking to them about obedience and being pleasing to God in the way they live their lives.
Unless we speak to people out of love, we are like clanging symbols: “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” (I Cor 13:1-2) When we share the truth with others, we must season our words with grace so that we allow Abba Father to draw them to Yeshua and the Holy Spirit to convict them in their sinful lifestyle. Then the door is open for us to disciple them and pray with them so that they want change their lifestyle so that they can be pleasing to Yehovah.
We need to look at our heart motives behind our words. When we approach people about their lifestyle or behavior, do we come to them with an air of superiority or self-righteousness, or do we come to them with humility, speaking the truth to them out of love?