What a beautiful illustration the Apostle Paul gives of the Church in his letter to the Ephesians. We are a ‘Body’ which is building itself up in love and growing up into Jesus. He’s the head of this ‘Body’ and we are the limbs and the joints which hold it all together.
At least that is what God’s intention is for the Body of Christ. But sadly we have to admit that the parts don’t always work properly. Something can go wrong and, instead of growing, the ‘Body’ remains stunted in immaturity. Some Christian believers are like children who are easily deceived and are unable to test all things to see what is trustworthy and true.
Paul says the way to reach maturity is ‘speaking the truth in love’. But some of us are not entirely sure how to do this. We can decide to tell the truth at all times but our words can be so harsh and unkind that others are crushed and lose confidence in wanting to share their ideas and gifts with us. On the other hand we can be so fearful of hurting someone’s feelings that we never confront wrong behaviour or tell people when they’ve made a mistake.
Jesus sometimes sounded quite harsh when He spoke to the Pharisees. This was when they needed to be confronted with sinful behaviour and being bad shepherds of God’s people. Jesus wanted to protect those under them from being led astray from God’s purposes. It was necessary to speak the truth very clearly. I’m sure Jesus was able to love the Pharisees although He hated their sinfulness. Loving someone means we want the best for them. Jesus wanted the very best for them as well as all the people who had to submit to their leadership.
Other times Jesus spoke the truth so tenderly and gently, telling forgiven sinners to go in peace but to sin no more. He described Himself as gentle and humble in heart and Isaiah prophesied and said of the Messiah ‘a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench’ (Isaiah 42:3).
If we could only speak the truth as Jesus did then each part would be working properly and the whole ‘Body’ would grow as it should into Jesus Christ the ‘head’.
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, I want to grow up in the Body of Christ together with all my brothers and sisters. Please help me to have the courage to speak the truth but to do it in love in the way that Jesus would. Amen.
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