"Thank God there are those in the contemporary church who are determined at all costs to defend and uphold God’s revealed truth. But sometimes they are conspicuously lacking in love. When they think they smell heresy, their nose begins to twitch, their muscles ripple, and the light of battle enters their eye. They seem to enjoy nothing more than a fight. Others make the opposite mistake. They are determined at all costs to maintain and exhibit brotherly love, but in order to do so are prepared even to sacrifice the central truths of revelation. Both these tendencies are unbalanced and unbiblical. Truth becomes hard if it is not softened by love; love becomes soft if it is not strengthened by truth. The apostle calls us to hold the two together, which should not be difficult for Spirit-filled believers, since the Holy Spirit is himself 'the spirit of truth,' and his first fruit is 'love." There is no other route than this to a fully mature Christian unity." (emphasis mine)
I read the Word of God and the words of godly men like Stott and Bonhoeffer, and many others, and I still feel like a broken vessel which knows not how to love others while embracing His Truth, while upholding God's Word, while giving it preeminence and not compromising it. Stott says that "this should not be difficult for Spirit-filled believers," I think that is the only line in this quote with which I do not agree. I find it one of the most difficult things to learn. I pray I will always be brave enough to stand strong on the Truth that is so often changed, but humble enough to recognize when I am not loving like Jesus would.
The more I ponder on these things, the more I recognize that only in God we can find perfect justice and perfect love.
Learning under His sun and by His grace,
*Thanks to Tim Challies who shared this quote on his blog today and to my friend Melissa who pointed it to me.