Years ago, Emily and I would joke about me wielding a mighty theological hammer of truth. We did this mostly because I was kind of a jerk bag who hadn’t mastered tact, especially in theological conversations. (I’m still working on that.)
Though change has been slow and faltering, looking at the truth behind our joke convicted me deeply. This not a behavior I look back on with pride, but with regret. How many times have I assisted in hardening someone’s heart to the truth of the gospel by presenting facts thoughtlessly? How many times have I hindered someone by speaking out of turn or with the wrong spirit?
The truth is, I don’t know. And I’ll probably never know. But what I do know is this: that the motivation behind sharing the truth is love. Paul, as J.I. Packer reminded us in Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God, was made “warm-hearted and affectionate in his evangelism” by love. His heart broke over their spiritual condition. And so he shared the truth with this in mind: that his hearer’s greatest need was reconciliation with his or her Creator.
I pray the same thing will be said of me someday. That love for God and others will continue to transform how I communicate the truth. That those who hear would experience Christ’s love for themselves. And that they, too, would be motivated by that love to share the news with others.