“If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.”
– 1 Cor 13.1-3
From the beginning, God has given humanity two laws by which to live, love him and love people. All of His interaction with humanity has been to that end. American tolerance culture has confused love with blanket acceptance. Sometimes the most loving thing to do is to step in and speak truth. We know this in principle, when we repeat mantras like, “Friends don’t let friends drive drunk” or when we popularize shows like “Intervention”. It is loving to help a friend stop a destructive behavior. But the way and intention by which one helps must be out of love, if we seek to honor God.
My mentor is amazing. She is head over heels in love with God and has the most dynamic prayer life of anyone I know. She trusts God with her future, her decisions, her health, her family and her life. A few years ago she was in a major accident, and almost died. Upon returning to church and using a walker to get around, a woman that she did not know, even by name, approached her and said, “You must have a major sin in your life for this to have happened to you”.
This is neither truthful nor loving folks.
While it is true that all suffering in the world is the result of sin, those who are in Christ Jesus and have repented of their sins are not under condemnation (Rom 1, 8). If you have confessed Jesus Christ as Lord, nothing in your life is retribution of God for your sins. Because Jesus took it all upon Himself on the cross. There are consequences to our decisions, and at times they can be life altering. But God is not seeking vengeance upon anyone who is covered by the blood of the lamb. His wrath has been satiated. He is no longer angry with the believer.
But let us consider regulated truths. Divorce is almost always, but not always a sin. God hates divorce, but he also regulates and redeems it. If a spouse has been unfaithful the offended spouse may leave. If one has been abandoned for any other reason than infidelity, the abandoned spouse is not guilty of the sin of divorce, provided he pursues God, restoration and holiness under the authority and leadership of the Church. To assume, therefore, that anyone who has been divorced has neglected the mandates of scripture over his life is unloving and sinful (Matt 19.3-12, 1 Cor 7.10-15, Deut 24.1-4). And to chastise him without knowing the details is unloving.
Therefore, when interacting with our brothers and sisters in Christ, we must be aware of two things: Truth and love. We must be confident that we know the truth of the situation and the Truth of Scripture, and we must gird ourselves in love, seeking our brother’s sanctification and growth through the interaction and confrontation.
This is not an excuse to neglect accountability. We are commanded to hold one another accountable, to push one another on to holiness and righteousness, but in order to do that well we must do it through truth and in love. Who are you loving today? Who are you pushing on to maturity? To whom have you humbled yourself so that you can be held accountable? Are you saturated in Truth? Are you acting out of love?