Yes, Jesus did say “May it be known through your love for one another that you are My disciples”…. through your love for one another, not your hate for one another. Following this, many who would suggest that this means winning people over by love, by not speaking up but letting our actions do the talking.
How often would you examine or question the source of love showered on you? Aren’t all human beings capable of showing some good despite how much of bad they have in them? Don’t all human beings whichever faith or religion they belong to, have some tendency to do good, to show love? At the end of the day despite the choices human beings make in regards to their religion or lack of, aren’t each and every person created in the image and likeness of God?
I know too many non-Christians who are wonderful people who filled with love and good works. Does that bear witness to Christ?
Bearing all this in mind, thus is it only our ‘actions’ that speak and bear witness to God? What does the Bible say about this? What does Jesus ASK us to do?
Jesus loved people – He showed love tangibly and embrace the oppressed and the rejected. Yet Jesus also SPOKE, He spoke and spoke and spoke going about the Father’s business.
Jesus asks us to
go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age – Matthew 28:19,20.
GO to the people TEACHING them (that means telling them, instructing them in detail) ALL that He has taught us…
Does He say ‘loving’ them is the way without words? How can you ‘teach’ without words. Love isn’t just about being nice and sweet to people! Jesus commands us to seek FIRST the Kingdom of God and HIS righteousness – not righteousness as the world sees it, not righteousness as the ‘Christian culture and traditions’ perceive it and interpret it but He calls us to seek HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS. This is about doing what the Father would want us to do to glorify Him.
Love is being able to see people through God’s eyes… it is about loving the sinner and not the sin. Jesus was accepting of those who had BROKEN and CONTRITE hearts, who REPENTED of their sins. Yet with those who were self righteous and religious calling themselves followers of God and erring in their ways, He rebuked them and yet did not shut them out.
Paul calls us to speak the TRUTH in love and GENTLY RESTORE those who are CAUGHT IN SIN. Speaking the truth is a part of loving. Any good parent does discipline their children just as our Heavenly Father disciplines us. Yet God sees our hearts and sees our motives – He sees beyond our appearances discerning whether it’s fake or sincere. He KNOWS!
Jesus’ very words:
Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” – John 4:23,24
Worshipping in the Spirit AND in truth is not an option. Jesus uses the word ‘MUST’ and they are the kind of worshippers that PLEASE God as He SEEKS them. Many have their own doctrines which they claim as ‘truth’ – either something that isn’t even in the Bible but ‘Christian / church traditions’ have taught them or based on an isolated verse or even worse a PART of a verse in isolation, taking one side of the coin and making a doctrine solely from that which in turn MISREPRESENTS God’s nature and attributes and hence bears FALSE WITNESS to Him.
Test EVERYTHING you hear – even if it’s from the pulpit – against the WORD, don’t just make sure that there is a Bible verse that says that but also says it in context of the entire Bible… That is TRUTH? How often have you said something and someone repeats it without the context and it comes across quite opposite to what you meant? Doesn’t that hurt you? Then let’s not do that with God’s Word either.
For example, God rebukes DRUNKENNESS as much as He rebukes selfish ambition mind you! Those are acts of the fleshly nature. Yet God doesn’t say anywhere ‘don’t drink’. If He had said that, then wouldn’t it be hypocritical of Jesus to turn the water into WINE? No, it wasn’t grape juice. Grape juice would get fermented in that heat in a jiffy. It was alcohol that was served at weddings. Of course, if you don’t like alcohol or desire to refrain from it, that’s great. There are those who promote drinking as a sin yet would enjoy brandied fruit cake. Different people sin differently – drunkenness is indeed a sin and so is selfish ambition. Do you avoid being in leadership positions to avoid selfish ambition or do you lean on God more and more to bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit?
Is the knife a good thing or a bad thing? A lot of things are about how you make it. It’s not truth to say something that God didn’t say directly and in context. People who can’t use a knife properly need to stay away from it – just like one who can’t control themselves with other things.
If we are leaning on the Holy Spirit, surrendering to His leading, then we can rest assured that:
… when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come – John 16:13
Paul knew that loving people wasn’t about pleasing them but rather it was about going about God’s business of speaking the truth IN LOVE with the desire that they will be walking on the NARROW PATH:
Each of us should please our neighbours for their good, to build them up – Romans 15:2
Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God?
Or am I trying to please people?
If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ
– Galatians 1:10