5/5: How to Speak the Truth in Love

 

Paul spends most of first and second Corinthians correcting the problems of the congregation in the church at Corinth. This church experienced the operation of the spiritual gifts in abundance, yet it seemed to have the most serious problems. Paul is sharp and direct with them because he loves them and wants them to experience the best God has for them.

At the end of his rebuke, he could have felt justified in ending the letter by saying something like, “I’ve tried to teach you but you blew it. You’ve made your bed, now lie in it. You’re on your own until I see some definite improvement.” With all the mistakes this church had made, that’s probably what they deserved, but Paul doesn’t do that. Instead, he signs off with a wish for their welfare:

  • “Finally, brethren… Become complete. Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen” 2 Corinthians 13:11 and 14 (NKJ).

“Become complete” comes from the Greek word meaning “to repair, mend, or restore;” and “be of good comfort” comes from the Greek word meaning “to call near.” In other words, these final words of Paul invite the Corinthian believers into his arms and into the arms of the Lord as they strove to get things right. Paul then left them with a reminder of the grace (getting what they don’t deserve) of the Lord Jesus, the love (the agape affection) of God, and the communion (partnership and fellowship) of the Holy Spirit – all of which come to us from God through others.

If Paul, who obviously was speaking for God, can rebuke the believers, yet leave them with a sense of love and comfort, how can we do any less when we must give some hard truth or tough love to someone in our circle? Let’s be mindful of how God has had to rebuke us, yet His arms are always open for us to receive His love regardless of how many times we have fallen or failed.

That’s what speaking the truth in love is all about (see Ephesians 4:14-15). Hate the sin – speak boldly for its eradication and for the necessary change – but make sure it is very clear that you love the sinner.

________________________

©2013 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.

And pick up a copy of Sharon’s new book, Power Suit: The Armor of God Fit for the Feminine Frame, available at Christian bookstores, online, from New Hope Publishers, from the Life That Matters Ministries’ website, and now also available on Kindle!

 

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~ by sanewriter on May 6, 2013.

One Response to “5/5: How to Speak the Truth in Love”

  1. Now, that is the truth.

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