Ephesians 4:15 has become a go-to passage for those who think that speaking against sin is not loving. When the preacher gets up to preach against sin, someone will say something like “but we have to speak the truth in love.” I agree that the truth must be spoken in love, but I do not think Paul meant “don’t ever preach about sin, or raise your voice too high when you preach.” I do not think Paul meant that we should never hurt the feelings of people by talking about sin. So the next time your preacher or a Christian brother or sister speaks against sin, even if they raised their voice volume against it, instead of thinking they are mean, unkind or unloving, try to remember first just how serious sin is to God. Try to remember first that Jesus died on the cross because of sin.
When Paul said “but speaking the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15) notice first that Paul said to speak the Truth. The context of Ephesians 4 tells us that truth unites God’s people. Verse four through six, shows us the platform of true unity, the seven foundational truths. I understand that the manner of speaking is important, and must be considered. But let us not forget that the Truth is the power of God to change. Sometimes we become too careful to the point we end up not speaking the Truth.
Ezekiel needed to speak the Truth:
““When I say to the wicked, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn him or speak out to warn the wicked from his wicked way that he may live, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand.“Yet if you have warned the wicked and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered yourself.” (Ezekiel 3:18–19)
If Christians do not speak the Truth like Ezekiel did in the form of warning someone of their sins when needed, we are guilty of not showing the true love of Christ. Paul never backed down from speaking the necessary Truth. When he did, he was made an enemy by some: “So have I become your enemy by telling you the truth?” (Galatians 4:16). We should be aware that when we do speak the needed Truth, we will be viewed as an enemy by some. But may we never become an enemy of the Truth.
We need to be bold in our faith by doing what God said to do. Do not compromise the practicing of Truth for the feelings of others. Compassion without the Truth is what man pleasers like to do. Yes, we must speak the Truth in Love, but it seems there is lots of loving language thrown around with the absence of Truth. We need to have the Truth and love in mind.
Let us love by speaking the Truth.