1 Timothy 6:3-5 NIV “If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.”
2 Timothy 2:14-16 NIV “Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly.”
2 Timothy 2:23-26 NIV “Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.”
2 Timothy 4:3-5 NIV “ For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.”
Of course, this is the Apostle Paul, giving Godly advice to Timothy. There are many other scriptures I could quote but you catch the general drift. There is no conflict between speaking truth and loving others unless we put it there. One can love those who do evil while abhorring the evil they that do (Romans 12:9).
In Paul’s words of encouragement to Timothy we find both conviction and compassion. Timothy is encouraged by Paul to “not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God” (2 Timothy 1:8) and “The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 2:24-25).
A true compassion for others is not in conflict with a deep commitment to Jesus Christ and His word.
It is the gospel by which the true spiritual and eternal needs of all can be satisfied. The loss of these great truths because we compromise them away in favor of increased acceptability in the world is disaster. There must be balance. “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16 NIV)
Our human fallen nature is to lash out to those who oppose us, to ridicule and demean those who hold views which we disagree with. I am so tired of reading “Christian” statements which attack the “left” and vindicate the “right”. We’re adding to the division, not diminishing it. Our witness and tone is no different from those to whom we self righteously attack. They attack us and we do likewise. Back and forth it goes and it seems as of late it just never stops.
Many Christians are turning off their TVs and stopping any online interaction with others because they are just sick and tired of it all. And yet, it continues, relentlessly. Slinging derogatory adjectives, writing off entire segments of our society because they are wrong and we are right. Have we forgotten about Christ’s commandment to love? Did we at any time receive the option to disregard this teaching? What makes “us” different from “them”? How did Jesus interact with the Samaritan woman at the well?
This is a timely message on love by the late Billy Graham. Take the time to read it, consider it and tell me what comes to your mind. Is it difficult? Of course it is! We need to be on our knees praying for God’s love to flow through us instead of lashing out. We’re not walking in the Spirit, we’re running after the ways of the flesh. Can we do this on our own? Of course not, that’s the whole point! But we’re so right and they’re so wrong. Really ….. I’m hearing an awful lot of sounding brass, or tinkling cymbals (1 Corinthians 13:1 KJV).
The long and the short of it is that we’re all sinners. That’s you and me and them. When we forget that, when we forget the grace that has been shown to us, we are in dire danger and I’m thinking we are pushing it.
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!