Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
— 1 John 3:18 (NIV, 2011)
WHAT is love? An age-old question. My thought here is love is truth in action, acted out lovingly. Let me attempt to convince you, by making the following statements, and by supporting those statements with my understanding of what love truly is — love in and among the common people, as a communicated reality of divine delight in relationship.
Love wrestles with the truth. When ‘truth’ is presented it’s to be wrestled with; this is the antecedent to growth. Many times we shirk the wrestling to be done. We shrink in fear of exposure. That we don’t have the mettle. But just a little more fortitude brings a ton of blessing of, “I can do this!” Love wrestles with the truth because it cannot rest until justice is done.
Love must act on the truth. It cannot sit on by and let the truth meander, pretending that falsity will do. It cannot. Love is courage to speak the truth as well as the courage to face the truth. These are both potentially scary concepts, but they’re never scary when they’re lovingly deployed. But such crucial conversations require great skill; great heart; great empathy and understanding. Truth never damages, only ‘truth’ haphazardly delivered without love.
Truth is wedded to love. Imagine them walking back down the aisle having been through the rites of marriage (from time immemorial). Neither is male nor female, but they’re the accompanying set for life. When we want truth like Jesus did, and we want to love as Jesus did, life has all the right input. God gives us truth and love to give. And our truth and love, wedded together as we use them, both interdependent on each other, come via the vine of God; we are his branches and the life force is the truth-and-love set.
Truth acts lovingly. For truth to be harsh would make truth untrue in character. It would be truth missing the mark: a fatal dichotomy. Truth is lovingly deployed. The hardest of hits, then, so far as truth is concerned, is received well. So truth can be relied upon to deliver in trustworthy ways without undue angst; the ripples of anxiety, shockwaves of harm — that damage trust and respect in a relationship.
Truth is heaven brought to earth. Can we imagine the communications in the heavenly realm? Pure truth. Pure love. Truth, in the heavenly halcyon heights, wedded to love as it is, we imagine being perfect. And there are those moments here in earth as we feel them; moments when we feel genuinely impacted by the sweet touch of God’s holy Presence. Truth cannot fail love; perfectly arrayed it’s inspiring and ever building up in nature and stature.
Love is truth in action, acted out lovingly. In truth and love there are no losers, only winners.
Truth and love, united and resolved, build up and inspire growth, joy, and hope.
In truth and love is both safety and growth.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.