If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1-2, New International Version)
As those who have been reconciled to God through the blood and righteousness of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, saved from eternal damnation and separation from God, we have wonderfully Good News to share with the world! We who were once lost and sinking in sin and are now experiencing new life in Jesus Christ want to ensure that others who are where we once were have opportunity to receive “life and life to the full” and are no longer slaves to the devil, the thief who seeks “to steal, to kill and to destroy” as told to us in John 10:10.
As ministers of reconciliation and in our zeal to share the Gospel with a perishing world, we know that the culture is not one that runs to God but from God. We should not expect to be readily received. However, in our desire to disciple, to educate, equip and speak truth to those walking on destructive paths, we must remember to do so in love, with grace. Otherwise, we are like a clanging cymbal as described in 1 Corinthians 13:1. Can you imagine that in your ears? Quite unpleasant and will likely not have the desired effect on our listener as we hoped. We may have much knowledge and speak with great faith but without love, without grace, we are nothing, as 1 Corinthians 13:2 tells us.
A few years ago in my boldness to share and deliver the gospel with a “punch” in hopes that people would really get it, a dear brother in Christ who is one of my spiritual mentors gave me this wise counsel: “Not everyone can handle 100 CC’s of truth. Lean on the Holy Spirit for the words to say, when and how much.” Wise words. For even if we’re chomping at the bit to pour out everything we can about the gospel, too much truth at one time can be too much and not fully absorbed, particularly for the non-believer or spiritually immature. Also, remember that you, others, and most importantly, the Holy Spirit are partners in this Kingdom work. You and I are God’s fellow workers. As described in 1 Corinthians 3:5-9, “one plants, one waters, but it is only God who makes things grow.”
God bless you dear brothers and sisters in Christ as you live out the Great Commission wherever God has placed you. The world desperately needs what we have and needs to hear this wonderfully Good News. In doing so, invite the Holy Spirit into your conversations in advance to give you His words and temperament for that divine appointment—to speak the right amount of truth in love and grace—without compromising the gospel or your witness.
Here’s a great article that prepares us for how to engage in the right spirit for such encounters: