Fresh Hope – 16th June 2020

1 Corinthians 13:1-8, ‘If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails’.

Love is the essential ingredient in all we do. We can do a good thing, but if the love is missing, it is pointless, useless and ineffective.

Love makes a powerful combo, when teamed with truth. In fact, truth and love must go hand in hand with each other. I love this quote from Timothy Keller, ‘Love without truth is sentimentality; it supports and affirms us but keeps us in denial about our flaws. Truth without love is harshness; it gives us information but in such a way that we cannot really hear it. God’s saving love in Christ, however, is marked by both radical truthfulness about who we are and yet also radical,unconditional commitment to us. The merciful commitment strengthens us to see the truth about ourselves and repent. The conviction and repentance moves us to cling to and rest in God’s mercy and grace’.

Let’s look at the Bible – it reveals a realistic, sometimes unflattering picture of who we are. The Bible takes you by the scruff of the neck at times and addresses you. What we read in the scriptures challenges the core of who we are, but we know it is really the road to liberation. We cannot resist this power that truth has to blow the lid off and turn the light on to issues in our life. Equally, Jesus came with ‘truth bombs’, but he delivered them in love. His mission was to deliver truth, but with an unmatched affirmation that could heal the deepest wounds and hurts of your life.

Loving to speak the truth is different to speaking the truth in love.

Truth without love ruins unity, and love without truth gives the illusion of unity but actually stops the growth. The solution is GRACE – the experience of Jesus’ grace makes it possible to practice the two most important skills in the Christian walk: forgiveness and repentance.

Speaking the truth in love requires emotional humility and emotional wealth – a fundamental inner joy and confidence – this can only come from God… both his example and his empowering grace allow us to be this.

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.