Love is the most often used word today to describe how we should be tolerant and caring toward one another. Love is a very good word! Unfortunately the way the word love is defined is as varied as the people who use it.
The way “love” is most often used today is “if you do what I want, believe that I’m right, align with my worldview” then you are loving. Anyone who says “no” to this definition is ascribed to the realm of unloving, hateful, bigoted, racist, etc.” This definition is self-serving and narrowly defined according to the person who demands its application.
There is a second definition to love, a biblical definition. “Love is not merely having compassion for others but a willingness to guide and speak the truth to them.” Jesus, speaking through St. Paul, put it this way: Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Ephesians 4:25 What is the Word of God saying to us today? Genuine love, the kind of love God the Father has for us in Jesus Christ, is the ability to love to the point where we speak the truth to others even if it costs us that relationship.
One of the shocking findings of Geo. Barna research is that 95% of all pastors are basically “People Pleases” while less than 5% are “leaders.” “People Pleases” make getting along the highest priority of their life. While they believe in the truth, truth goes to the back of the bus while the bus is driven by my need to be accepted and liked. The end result is a false relationship based on a myth.
Let’s apply this to one of most controversial topics of our day, “Abortion on Demand.” “People Pleases” are quick to site the hardship this will bring on a single women, the financial outlay, the potential family rejection, and the end to a single women’s freedom. On the other hand, when we love but make truth just as important we start with the hard facts that the baby in the womb is truly a human baby! Viability has nothing to do with it since a newborn out of the womb is not viable if the mother doesn’t feed, cloth, and care for that baby for the next couple of years!
Love with truth means that the baby in the womb needs to be protected and love and the single women needs love and protection at the same time. Biblical truth means that we do everything possible to protect the baby in the women and at the same time we do everything possible to support, love and guide the single mother. Biblical truth is not one reality pitted against another but a desire and willingness to address all the issues involved and seek healthy solutions.
This is the kind of truth that defines the Bible. It tells us the way it is, never plays down the truth, but always seeks real solutions to the human condition. Followers of Jesus must stop letting the culture define their morality through pressure and intimidation. We must define the truth based on Jesus’ Word and actively seek to be part of the answer. The Bible calls us to do both because love by itself is not enough!