“Love without truth is hypocrisy. Truth without love is brutality.” Warren Weirsbe
Love in and of itself does not stand alone. Love is the embodiment of truth. Love is the expression of integrity, honesty and sincerity.
Love cannot exist amid dishonesty. Love cannot survive under the guise of deceit.
Love does not deliver it’s full effect without the filter of truth. In fact, I would go so far to say that truth and love cannot be separated.
The great hypocrisy of love this, when “love” is offered without honesty is not love at all. And when “truth” is offered without love it is not love at all.
Jesus was the greatest example of how truth and love cannot exist without the other.
Jesus has the amazing ability to speak to our hearts directly -course correcting us- to the narrow path toward salvation through His name, death and resurrection.
Jesus’ love is pure. The purity of love is found at the crossroads of love and truth. Much like the symbol of the cross, there are two parts that give love it’s complete meaning.
Sure enough, love is a choice. Even this embodies the simple fact that we cannot choose love without first recognizing that our emotions do not always follow our decision to love.
Some days it may be a harder choice than others to love. Some days it may be an easy, head over heels choice. But it is a decision. And the decision to love requires honesty.
The hardest conversations I have ever had have been with people I love the most. There have been times when God has nudged me to speak up about something I knew was opposed to the Bible.
In order for me to have “permission” to speak truth into these situations (about behavior patterns, about addictions, about perspective shifts needed, about hurt feelings) I first had to have a relationship with the person I was prompted to speak to.
The relationship I am referring to is not a sheer cuddly, hugs and giggles “I love you” kind of relationship with a shallow level of intimacy. I am referring to a relationship that was built on trust over time.
Trust is built over time. Trust and honesty then are the gateway to love. Without the foundation of love and truth, I would never have been able to speak what God laid on my heart to say.
Ephesians 4:15 (AMP) says “Rather, let our lives lovingly express truth [in all things, speaking truly, dealing truly, living truly]. Enfolded in love, let us grow up in every way and in all things into Him Who is the Head, [even] Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).
The Amplified Version of the Bible expounds on this verse to show that truth is expressed in more ways than just through words. Truth can be expressed in living, dealing and speaking with honesty.
Why live like this? Because as the second part of verse 15 says we are “enfolded in love” and our speaking, dealing and living in truth are a great expression of God’s love growing in us. We are called to love this way, because that is how Jesus loves us.
1 John 3:18 says, “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”
Love is best displayed by action and by truth – honesty.
Speaking the truth in love is not easy. It’s way easier to ignore the behavior or conflict that needs to be addressed. But ignoring conflict, not acknowledging when something is broken, is not love in its purest form.
Ignoring what’s broken, ignoring the conflict is lying to ourselves – it’s dishonest.
We lie to ourselves and force our hearts and minds to believe the issue with resolve itself. We close our eyes and turn our backs and hope that the issue just “poof” one day disappears.
The issue doesn’t disappear, but the relationship disappears over time.
It disappears because ignoring issues causes a crack in the foundation of truth the relationship is built on – and the crack can grow into a cavern if not addressed.
The relationship begins to feel awkward because we have let the issue go on too long without speaking what we know to be true. It becomes harder and harder to address – though not impossible. With Christ on our side, we can gain the courage.
The most important to be done today is to LOVE God and LOVE those around us.
In Matthew 22: 37-39 Jesus describes the most important commandments “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”
Loving God and loving others means showing up and living honest. It means speaking, living and dealing with integrity. But as Weirsbe says, “truth without love is brutality.” Truth must be bathed, saturated in love before and at it is delivered.
The heart of love found in these relationships is truth. Coming to God with a heart of honesty. Sharing love with others with honesty and integrity. Love cannot grow apart from truth.
The good news is, with Jesus at the center of our lives there is hope – and there is no cavern in a relationship too wide that He cannot bring back together or build the bridge to rejoin the two parties.
With Jesus healing is possible. With Jesus restoration is always available. With Jesus truth is inherent. With Jesus love is abounding.
With Jesus we receive the purest form of love – a love built on the foundation of truth – that is Jesus Christ himself. John 14:6 says, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
My challenge for you today is to take an inventory of the relationships in your life. How are you expressing love in each of those relationships? Are you showing up honestly? Is there an issue or concern that needs to be addressed?
Trust Jesus to help you navigate through it. Trust God to bring into the light what’s been hidden and to give you the courage to become more like Christ and leave the hypocrisy of love behind.
Listen to this song from Casting Crowns: Love You With the Truth