Lately I been looking at a friends MSN status, and he asked “Are We Teaching The Truth In Love” As I pondered about this phase, I started to find the youtube of the hymn as well as the Lyrics.

Reading it, kind of reminded me of an old minister who once told me, “Nowadays, perhaps we have became Pharisees already”. In church, we have stressed alot in Gods justice that he cannot tolerate sin.. and he will trample on the wine-press of judgement (Is 63:1-6). We often like to be quick to decide if that is right or wrong, sin or no sin. Sometimes I feel that we do it so fast, that before Gods feet lands into the wine-press, we crushed all the grapes already.

In Paul’s time, there are two types of preachers, both of them spoke the truth. Some of them teaches the truth out of love for the people. And they wanted to save as many souls for God. While some others teaches to show that they are nice and good, and out of personal glory. (Philippians 1:15-18). Actually, I guess if we were to ask Elder James, he would rather the members not to be teachers, as teachers receive a stricter judgement from God (Jas 3:1-2). None the less, God wanted the truth to be taught to the whole world, so that man could reconcile with God and be saved. (1 Tim 2:3-5). Therefore, he uses his blood to purchase each and everyone of us to be a teacher in the truth, and to lead others back to God. (Matt 28:18)

So, now understanding the reason why we are teachers in truth. Should we teach the truth in love, or to teach it like a pharisee? The choice is really up to us, But in this hymn, there were too examples of Jesus teaching the truth in love.

Example 1: The rich young ruler (Matt 19:16-22, Mk 10:17-27, Lk 18:18-29)
There was a rich young ruler that came to Jesus to ask how he can inherit eternal lives, Jesus told him the truth, telling him to keep the commandments. The young man has kept all of them in his life, but he asked if theres anything else he lack. It was then Jesus wanted him to become his disciple, so he told him “If you want to be perfect, sell off all your belongings and give them to the poor, and follow me” Jesus was extending an invitation to him to become his disciple… should he had taken it up, perhaps he would have been the 13th disciple. But the man went away sorrowfully, because he was unable to part with his life of Luxury.. for he had great possessions.

Actually, there are times when, being a disciple of the Lord, you have to forgo many things that you have. Things that you hold on too and honestly, even in the journey, sometimes God allow not so nice things to befall us. This is a very heavy cross to carry, and that is the hard truth to bear, and not everyone has the ability to bear it. But Jesus taught this young man out of love, he was hoping that he would be able to learn, and to become his disciple, but in the end he left, being unable to take up the challenge

There are times, in our teaching of the truth, we would talk about things that are not too easy to be done. (IE: Forgiving 70X7 times, Love your enemies, Walk a second mile, Keep the sabbath, bless those who curse you). There may be times where people may not have the strength to keep it… Do we then get angry with them, persecute them, help God trash his wine-press, or do we teach them the consequences, encourage and to pray for them to be able to hold on to these teaching of God? How should we react when people are unable to accept the truth that is taught? Can we be as gracious as Jesus, to still tell the truth, yet not get angry, upset, or judgemental when some people still fails to learn?

Lets pray and hope that we can teach the truth like Jesus.

Example 2: The Adulterous Woman (John 8:1-12)
In this occasion, there was an adulterous woman, caught in the act. The people had captured her, and sent her in front of Jesus, claiming that according to Moses law, the woman ought to be stoned to death. It is no doubt that this woman had committed a huge sin before God. Over here, Jesus wanted to teach the truth to 2 groups of people. The people who wanted to stone her, and the woman herself (who should be so ashamed of herself)

Jesus wrote on the ground, while the people are talking, and shouting and demanding… Then suddenly, Jesus said “He who is without sin, let him cast the first stone” and he continue writing on the floor. Slowly, her accusers started to move off one by one, until theres only Jesus and her. Jesus simply asked “Where are all the accusers? Has anyone condemned you?” she answered “No one, Lord” So Jesus replied “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more”.

The people who dragged this woman before the Lord are also teachers by their own right. They claimed to be “exercising the justice of God”. They wanted to ensure no such sin comes into their lives.. Sometimes in our own life, we wanted to be just, and condemn all the evilness around.. But alot of times, we tend to forget that we are mere man, and our righteousness is like filthy rags before God (Is 64:6-7). Before God, we are no better than the adulterer, because as long as we break one of the law, it is equivalent to breaking all of them (Jas 2:8-13). Jesus is not telling us to condone sin, he still wants us to be just, but at the same time to love mercy and to walk humbly with him (Micah 6:6-8) … As we are sinners just like her. Jesus wanted to teach this to the accusers… but they are too hot to listen… this is why Jesus only said. “He who is without sin, let him cast the first stone” …. Slowly the people got the message… and go off one by one.

Over here Jesus taught the people out of love, he did not raise his voice, nor did he condemn the accusers.. he only left them to consider their own sin before stoning her… and that teaching is done, both out of the love for them, as well as his love for the sinner woman.

Just as the people walk away, Jesus asked the woman… if her accusers are still around… and the woman answered… no… Jesus did not condemn her.. But Jesus did not attack her as well… Jesus did not ask her.. what really happened.. or what she had done … Why she has done it… Rather he just said “Neither do I condemn you… go and sin no more” Jesus wanted her to repent herself, and to make a resolve not to sin again.. This is one of the rare occasion where God forgave an adulterer… (The last record I can remember is David, that is way hundreds of years before her)

Alot of times, we keep thinking, God will tread his wine-press, he will punish all the sinners and the wicked… This is indeed true, but do you think God enjoy the process as much as some of us do? (Ezekiel 18:19-30). God hates sins, but he doesn’t desire the death of a sinner… He would rather want the person to turn and live.. (Of course, by this I do not advocate that adultery is a not a sin leading to death 1 John 5:16-17) .. But alot of times, we do not need to “execute” this judgement on Gods behalf.. rather, if the other party is repentant and is willing to mend her relationship with God, we should just allow the person to continue to listen to the words of God.. and let God make that final judgement himself.

Like the hymn mentioned.. sometimes we may not know how to say it, sometimes we wonder when is the time for us to put our foot down, and when is the time for us to show mercy…

Should we now no longer discuss the issue of sin?  or water down the Christian warning about sin?… My answer is a straight NO. But rather, we should expound this truth, not in a judgemental way, always prowling around to condemn .. rather, we should continue to speak against it, in a firm, but gentle way.

God unfortunately, did not leave behind a ISO Standard SOP book for Christian to follow.. But I see the wisdom of God in doing that, because, alot of time, the wisdom to handle the matter comes from God.. and its not really something that one can draw out in a flow chart with yes and no arrows.

It is hope that, by studying the two examples here, we would all learn to teach the truth in love. Let our righteousness not be higher than Gods, that we judge and condemn even before God strikes. Let us learn to be firm and clear in our message.yet are able to carry the grace and mercy of God to the sinful world to know.

Title: Teaching the Truth in Love
Artist: Acapella

Are we teaching the truth in love
Telling it like it is
While holding pure motives
And showing that we care
Are we teaching the truth in love

A man came to my Jesus
Telling all that he had done
To fulfill the good commandments
He knew every single one
But Jesus said there’s something
That indeed he did lack
Yes the Savior told the truth
He didn’t hold the message back

He was teaching the truth in love
Telling it like it is
While holding pure motives
And showing that He cares
He was teaching the truth in love

A woman caught in evil and without an alibi
The truth, so very obvious, made no attempt to lie
With all the foes against her how she felt so all alone
Until Jesus asked the people who would throw the first stone

Teaching the truth in love
Telling it like it is
While holding pure motives
And showing that He can
He was teaching the truth in love

Sometimes it’s hard to know exactly how we are to share
With our Master’s words of confidence, directly, do we dare?
Should we water down the message, should we tell them only parts?
Will they see Him in our message, will they see Him in our heart?

Repeat Chorus (x2)

We’re teaching the truth in love
Give Him the peace of His Love
Yes in love, oh yes in
We’re talking, we’re talking love
Oh, in love, yeah.

for those who are wondering, yes, the hesitant prize fighter is still fighting the darkest hour of his trial.. his strength is fleeing by the moment… even kneeling down to pray…. makes him feel strength less. Sometimes he needs to sit down and pray.. as his strength is drawn out from him quickly… he just feels that this matter is too important and ought to be made known to everyone.. hence he is writing this.. please continue to pray for him..