In the third of our Stand and Speak series running up to Easter, Andrea Williams comments on how there is nothing better than Biblical truth.
One thing we often hear at Christian Concern is that people love that we stand for truth. That we don’t back down but keep standing for Jesus even if it makes us unpopular.
But not everyone perceives us in the same way. Being bold and unashamed on controversial topics can make some people believe that we’re deliberately being contentious.
There really are people who stir up controversy for its own sake. But that’s not us. We do speak on issues in society where the battle for truth rages hardest. But we only ever speak truth because of our deep conviction that sharing the truth of Jesus Christ is an act of love to a confused and broken world.
Jesus – the God of love in human form – was surely the most compassionate man who set foot on earth. Yet he frequently confronted the sins of those he spoke to. He said that he was the way, the truth and the life. Love and truth are entirely compatible. Love and truth are friends.
Rejoicing with the truth
Telling the truth can be awkward. It can be uncomfortable to point out the elephant in the room – the truth that everyone is aware of but that no one is acknowledging.
But it’s also often the loving thing to do.
In a passage often read at weddings, the apostle Paul explains that love…
“…is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.” (1 Cor 13:5b-6)
There’s no good excuse for Christians to be irritable or resentful in the name of truth or love. But Paul is completely clear that true love does not rejoice at wrongdoing – it doesn’t applaud evil. More than that, love ‘rejoices with the truth’ – it’s not merely correct but is joyfully true.
Jesus is the way, truth and life – if he’s the most loving, compassionate man who ever lived, if he’s the revelation of God’s love for us, truth and love can never be incompatible.
There’s no need to scale back on truth to be loving. Nor can we use truth-telling as an excuse for cold, loveless hearts. We are to speak truth with love (Eph 4:15) at all times.
That’s always our aim at Christian Concern. We want to see a growing movement of Christians in the UK and across the world who are passionately vocal about the love and truth of Jesus everywhere they go.
Truth is under attack
We live in an age where truth is under attack.
We are being asked to shield people from the truth because it sometimes hurts. We’re told to go along with claims that your gender is whatever you say it is. That two men, or two women can be married. That Islam is a religion of peace and Muhammad was a prophet. That abortion is a safe medical procedure that harms no one and is every woman’s right.
The call to ignore the truth and go along with these ideas is deafening from society and even from prominent church leaders.
“Woe to those who call evil good
and good evil,
who put darkness for light
and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20)
It is not up to Christians to distort what God says in the Bible or in nature to fit in with what society says.
All sex outside heterosexual marriage is sinful. Homosexual relationships are sinful. Two men who are ‘married’ in the eyes of UK law remain unmarried in reality. A woman who has medical intervention to present herself as a man (i.e. a ‘trans man’) remains a woman. Islam is a false religion and Muhammad was not a prophet. Abortion kills babies.
People are only saved from their sins by faith in Christ.
These statements are straightforward and simple for Christians to believe. But they’re not often easy for us to say publicly. And they’re even more difficult to say publicly without being labelled reactionary, bigoted or unloving. It’s so tempting to pull back and give our tacit approval.
That’s not the way of love, or of truth. True love speaks.
“For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” (Mark 8:38 ESV)
Our beliefs are not excuses
There’s a popular idea in western culture that people only hold or say these beliefs because they hate certain types of people. That people hold ‘anti-Islamic’ views because they hate Muslims. Or that they think homosexual sex is wrong because they’re ‘anti-gay’.
That does not describe the Christians I know. I know it doesn’t describe me, our staff team or the wider Christian Concern family. But people in society are determined to believe it, or wrongly claim that we’re full of hate.
There’s little we can do if they insist on falsely portraying us that way. Sometimes we have to brush the sand off our feet (Luke 10;10-12).
We need to look at ourselves honestly. If we are noisy gongs or clanging cymbals, making a racket by speaking loveless truth we should repent. But it’s wrong to be bullied into silence on critical issues facing our society, simply by people mislabelling us as hateful.
“Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practise cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing.” (2 Cor 4:1-3)
The desire for truth
“All flesh is grass,
and all its beauty is like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower fades
when the breath of the Lord blows on it;
surely the people are grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
but the word of our God will stand for ever.” (Isaiah 40:6-8)
We live in uncertain times. What could be better for us and for our society than the certain word of God?
Let’s regain our confidence in God and in his truth once again. Let’s preach the word, in and out of season (2 Tim 4:2) and trust that through us, God would be opening eyes, changing hearts.
Because nothing’s better than Christ, the Truth.