1 Corinthians 16.13-14, “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.”
A lot can be said as we stand on the cliffs in our lives, as we done the armor of soldiers readying for battle, our cleanly polished shoes, our conquering sword, our truth we hold within our hearts. Let now you men ready for battle Lord, but as we first fight in our homes for your glory and purpose and truth, let us hold to this truth and never forget. All of it, every single action in our lives, is meaningless, a resounding gong, less than dung, if we have not love.
James MacDonald stated, “all truth and no love is brutality…absolute truth in the hands of absolute sinners is absolute brutality.” He also said, “All love and no truth is hypocrisy.” Men all over the world, in too many homes, come down upon the world and those closest to us with this brutality or hypocrisy. We say “I love you Lord, and I would give my life for you and your service,” to stand firm in the faith and champion the truth, acting like men who are strong. Or we love with reckless abandon, and perhaps the world will notice this, and our fame becomes a stench in the nostrils of God because it is about our glory and not His for His truth is not evident. But, and please listen to this:
If we are not the most loving people the world has ever known, we have failed. If a homosexual, transgendered person, an adulterer or a murderer, a sex offender or an addict, can look down an isle of people, and see a follower of Christ, and not say that they are the most loving person in the world, then no amount of truth will amount to anything. We never celebrate, accept, or condone sin in any capacity, but we never trample them with the truth of God without the love of God. We are to never hammer people down in the earth where they are at, we are to push them to the cross where Jesus is at. Paul says we could have the tongues of angels, and yet, if we have not love, we are failing. Oh church, we are failing.
The truth becomes our mantra, our call, our banner that we wave. Have we become so brutal in truth that we care not for the love to which we are called and to which binds truth and makes it powerful? What are some ways in which you know you are all about truth and lacking in love? Again, MacDonald had some poignant statements here.
First, you know you are all truth and have no love if you see passive resistance around you. If people are afraid to approach you then guess what, you need to work on your love. Or, if people say you don’t listen to them. Are you one of those people who always finishes other’s statements? You think you know what they are going to say so you cut them off. Guess what? Maybe they NEED to say what they are going to say to you, maybe they NEED to express it, and maybe you NEED to just be quiet! Or, perhaps you are one of those people who pride themselves in being a “realist”. You always have to be right don’t you? Is this you? Search your heart and think back, when was the last time you were wrong and you freely admitted it? Perhaps you need to love in your life a lot more. Not perhaps; you do! Who cares if you are right? Do we think in our arrogance that we are moved up in the ladder of life if we are always right with our wife, that somehow it makes us a better person, better husband, or better father? Men we are failing! If being the head of your family, and leading this gift from above the Lord has given you, means getting your way in everything than you are failing. We must love better. Everything must be done in love.
Or what about this: when people disagree with you, do they have to separate from you? What if your sister disagreed with you on something, and wouldn’t budge? Has it been months, years, or even decades since you talked with them? Guess what, you need to work on love. These are all tell tale signs that you are all truth, and no love. We must grow in our love! In all things: Love.
And guess what, according to MacDonald, he would say, that if you disagree with any of this and are forming an argument in your mind against these things, than you are all truth and no love. But we don’t swing the pendulum too far from the middle, for love without truth is just hypocrisy and is JUST as meaningless. One can even make the case, however harsh this may be, that if you are not growing (men or women) in love, than you are not God’s man or woman. Think about that.
Self-righteousness melts in the face of true love. Self-vindication vanishes when true love is present. And the glory of God—that which we seek to lift high above everything—will affect change to the world when they see love coupled with truth. According to Christ, this is the way the world will see Christ, by the way we love each other.
I will end on a few points that MacDonald gave, as well as give a few of my own:
On the Major things in life, we are called to action. Ask yourself, is this a critical path that I need to intervene in? What if I don’t take action here in this situation? Is it a chronic problem that is recurring and painful and you need to step in? Does its proximity bring it to your attention. We do indeed need to enter in and lay heavy the truth coupled with love; but love must be present. Most things in life, just to help you out, are not majors.
On the Minor things in life, we are called to acceptance. We must let go of our preferences. So what if things around you do not always make sense. There’s no “sense judge” or “logic dictator” in your household is there? Do not boast in this; accept the minor things and let them be. Let your wife keep the bathroom the way she keeps it. Let your friend put his feet on the dashboard. Let your husband leave his hair in the sink after he shaves. Let it go.
In everything, love. And in this, if we find that we are not loving, if truth is more important to us than Christ’s love displayed through that truth, than we have failed, and the truth is not in us. And if this is the case, repent. We have work to do with the Lord, and it begins on our knees before the loving God who calls us to Him, and before those whom we have crushed and damaged. Engage them with the Love of God. For the love of God, love God, by loving others.