Truth and Love: The Dynamic Duo
We live in a time when, once again, truth has come under heavy assault. Some may even say it is already a casualty in the cosmic battle for human souls. Whether we are talking about distortion and manipulation of the truth or the outright questioning of its very existence, we can with confidence commiserate with the Prophet Isaiah from an earlier time:
Justice is turned back,
and righteousness stands far away;
for truth has stumbled in the public squares,
and uprightness cannot enter. Isaiah 59:14 (ESV)
In fact, at that fateful moment in the Garden of Eden, when the Serpent questioned the veracity of God’s word, truth came under assault. Believing Satan’s lie resulted in devastating consequences.
The Dynamic Duo
But that is not the end of the story, for in that crushing defeat, love came to the rescue. It was God’s love that gave birth to the human race, created in His image. It was God’s love that promised a remedy for budding humanity, now under the Curse. From the beginning, truth and love have been a powerful duo.
The synergetic effect of truth and love was very much on the mind of the Apostle Paul when he penned: “And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so you may approve the things that are excellent.” (Phil. 1:9-10)
When Paul prayed that the Philippians’ love would abound still more, he was not speaking of a blind, touchy-feely love, but of love that is grounded in truth, both doctrinal and practical, as noted by renowned Bible commentator, Matthew Henry:
We must love God because of his infinite excellence and loveliness, and love our brethren because of what we see of the image of God upon them. Strong passions, without knowledge and a settled judgment, will not make us complete in the will of God, and sometimes do more hurt than good.
In those few sentences, Henry captured the essence of the Gospel message. Let me unpack it this way: If we are true disciples of Christ, our love for God will ever increase, thus fulfilling the 1st Great Commandment—to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind (Matt. 22:37). If we truly love God, we will love others even to the degree that we love ourselves, the 2nd Great Commandment (Matt. 22:39; I John 4:20-21). Most Christians get that (though, we often do not act on it).
Matthew Henry paints an all too familiar picture of Christians who do battle in defense of truth without either having a solid grounding in the Word or an adequate understanding of the issues (or both). In so doing, the position of truth is not strengthened but is actually hindered in accomplishing its holy work of pointing people to the Author of truth.
Beyond the matter of being able to credibly and cogently argue for truth, the motive for defending a position or a cause (even if it is grounded on truth) is vitally important. If the motive is not based in love, it will most likely not be received. Paul repeatedly pounds this crucial point in the introduction to his exquisite exposition on love in I Corinthians 13:
If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels… If I know all mysteries and all knowledge…, if I give all my possessions to feed the poor… but do not have love, I am nothing… it profits me nothing.
Truth and love must go hand in hand to maximize their effectiveness in the Kingdom of God. Without love, truth can be cold, harsh, and unforgiving. Without truth, love can be sappy, weak, and indulgent. Either scenario leads away from the fullness of the knowledge of God. In Christ Jesus we see truth and love in perfect harmony (John 14:6; I John 4:16).
For nearly two millennia, it has been the mission of the church to represent authentic truth to the world in love. It is the responsibility of the church to teach Christians how to successfully wed these two to fulfill Christ’s command in Matthew 28:19 to go into all the world and disciple the nations (love), teaching them to observe all that He has commanded (truth).
The Education Connection
This begs the question: Was Jesus only referring to sacred or church issues when He spoke of discipling the nations? To be sure, a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ is of paramount importance and stands as the gateway to eternal life. However, we do live in a physical, temporal world, which is governed by the same principles of truth that God spoke into existence at creation. Many Christians see a sacred-secular dichotomy existing where the issue of truth is concerned. It is now common practice to segregate spiritual truth from earthly learning. With this split into two realities, confusion (at best) reigns.
The Bible sees no such separation into sacred and secular spheres. God’s truth applies to all of life and is relevant to every subject, every activity, and every endeavor of humankind. Yet, the common view in the 21st century American church is that school and college is mostly aimed at preparing individuals for life in the temporal world (hoping for success, security, and comfort into old age). Spiritual truth is relegated to sermons, Sunday School, youth group, and seminary. I submit that what is taught in our classrooms should contain the whole truth, not just a slice of it.
Dayspring Christian Academy has a distinctive mission to do just that. Through the Principle Approach, students are taught to reason justly from biblical principles (truth) and apply them in every area of life. The breech between sacred and secular is closed as students come to view life from God’s perspective rather than the postmodern humanism that has engulfed the world today.
In a practical way, the application of truth to the real world offers a tremendous opportunity to fulfill Christ’s command to “love your neighbor as yourself.” For is speaking the truth in love, Christians not only succeed in exposing fallacy and manipulation, but they also win the hearts of those within their spheres of influence. In this paradigm, we see the dynamic duo of truth and love working together to fulfill God’s mission on earth and in eternity.
This article originally appeared in Awaken Magazine (Volume 4. No. 1 Fall 2014), a publication of Dayspring Christian Academy. If you would like more information about Dayspring Christian Academy, please register for a private tour using the button below. Alternatively, you can call Karol Hasting at 717-285-2000 with your questions.