There’s an art to making a perfect Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich. It takes just the right amount of peanut butter and just the right amount of jelly. Too much peanut butter and it sticks to the roof of your mouth. Too much jelly and it falls out of the sandwich leaving you a jelly blob in your lap. What a mess. But just the right balance of jelly and peanut butter can make your dining experience perfection.
There’s lots of times in life when it’s good to find just the right balance.
- To be a good parent you need a balance of fun and discipline.
- To be a good boss you need to give a balance of direction and freedom.
- To be a good spouse it helps to have a balance of connection and independence.
There are many things about being a Christian that lend themselves to balance as well.
In Ephesians 4:15 the apostle Paul tells us to speak the truth in love. This sounds like one of those things we would all agree with but what exactly is Paul suggesting we do here? The truth is that Jesus Christ is the way to be saved from sin. But that’s not all. The Bible share lots of truth about ways to live a God pleasing life. It covers everything from good parenting skills to successful business practices to handy marriage tips. All of this is truth. The message of love is that Jesus accepts you exactly where you’re at today and if you mess up again today, Jesus will accept you again tomorrow. Can I hear an AMEN to that?
Preaching truth without love sounds like “Do it this way or else.” Preaching love without truth sounds like “Oh, you did that? That’s OK.” Can you hear the missing ingredient in both?
Preaching truth with love sounds like “Jesus would love to help you with that. Try moving towards Jesus instead of away from Him. He’ll be there with you if you fall.” This makes speaking truth in love sound so easy but if you’re like me, it’s not.
As Christians it hurts to see others hurting when they’re choosing to move further from Jesus instead of closer. So we react strongly-too often without a mix of both truth and love. Maybe they’re making such bad decisions all you can think to do is smack them with some truth to get them to stop. Or maybe they feel such a sadness and regret for their decisions we load them up with “It’s alright” messages and forget to say the truth- “It’s not alright.” Which side to you lean towards? Not enough truth or not enough love?
Most of us struggle with sharing about the Christian life with balance. But Paul knew what he was talking about- speak the truth in love. But remember- like a good PBJ- it takes a good dose of both.