Speak the Truth in Love


From my Facebook timeline

Though it’s far from trending, an intense debate raged regarding one of my posts on my Facebook timeline a few days ago. It’s about “Our sexuality is not a joke,” a Rappler article where the author, “a staunch gender rights advocate,” [1] appealed
But let’s be clear here: when you treat our issues as jokes, you perpetuate the culture of hate and discrimination, the culture of patriarchy and sexism. And when you defend those who make a joke out of us, you give more power to those who constantly oppress and abuse us. [2]
I commented, “That's why I tell my sons not to share gay jokes or make fun of them.” We Christians are often accused of discrimination. To my shame, to some degree it’s true. And it reinforces that image when we make fun of the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) community. Often it’s said that jokes are half-meant. And, at times, behind it is hate. Someone commented that the LGBTs are to be blamed for the way they dress or conduct themselves. That may be so but we are also responsible for our responses and reactions.

One of the comments on my post regarding "Our sexuality is not a joke." From my Facebook timeline

Let us not forget that, even if we disagree with their “sexual preferences,” they are also humans made in the image of God. Our Lord Jesus Christ died for them just as He died for us. When we make fun of them, we degrade them and we disgrace God’s image in them.
With [our tongue] we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water. (James 3:9-12. Emphasis added.) [3]
Let me clarify that I am not in favor of the LGBT lifestyle on biblical grounds. But I think it will not help our cause if we joke about it or speak against it out of hate. Yes, “having put away falsehood, let each one of [us] speak the truth with his neighbor” (Ephesians 4:25a), but we are to be “speaking the truth in love” (v. 15a). We are “to know the whole truth and tell it in love—like Christ in everything.” (The Message). 

Image credit

In his The Message of Ephesians, evangelical scholar John Stott wrote, “Truth becomes hard if it is not softened by love; love becomes soft if it is not strengthened by truth.” [4] In a debate, our manner is as important as our matter. Our approach is as important as our arguments. As we discuss this pressing issue, I pray that we generate more light than heat. Someone said, “Truth without love is not truth. Love without truth is not love.”

“Truth becomes hard if it is not softened by love; love becomes soft if it is not strengthened by truth.” John R. W. Stott, “The Message of Ephesians. Image credit

“Treat People Right” Step

Why do we tend to swing either from love to truth or from truth to love? How can we speak the truth in love?

NOTE: This is Day One of the devotional guide (Volume 1, Issue 15) of our church, Filinvest Community Christian Fellowshipfor the message on How to Treat People Right (Part 1)” last June 7.

[1] Renee Juliene Karunungan (2015 June 2), “Our sexuality is not a joke,” Rappler, retrieved from http://www.rappler.com/.

[2] Ibid.

[3] All Bible verses are from the English Standard Version, unless otherwise noted.

[4] John Stott, The Message of Ephesians: With Study Guide (Nottingham, England: Inter-Varsity Press, 1998). Kindle Edition. 

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