I John 4:4-6, “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood” (NIV).
What an odd place to cut this off… In all fairness, we have added a section break here, but I think, maybe, we should take it out, because the remainder of I John 4 speaks to love. To draw a line between truth and love is absurd, and for whatever reason I have heard, seen, and read about this false dichotomy a few too many times over the past couple of weeks.
I’m totally done listening to the argument that truth trumps love or that God is somehow more ‘truth’ at the core of God’s being than ‘love.’ In a stroke of irony (which is so painfully often the case), this is a lie. I’m willing to stand by that statement.
Love is, of course, complicated. I’m not sure how many times I have uttered, “We don’t have enough words…”
It’s something of a soapbox issue for me, and I’m not going to give in to the temptation to beat a dead horse, today (don’t worry, I’ll definitely return to this at some point, because I always do), but we have to eradicate this idea that we can somehow separate these two—truth and love—and still call either by the same name with any sense of integrity.
Honestly, I’m a little mad, though, and I try to keep a balance to my life and my words; but, I’m going to fall way on the side of love, today… if there is a side to fall on, at all.
I think what I’m seeing is a panic over the resurgence of love in our midst. I think what I’m seeing is a subset of people who are scared to love, so they feel as if they must attack love by calling it something it is not. I think what I’m seeing is a movement to call lies the truth in order to quell the love that might finally be breaking through the earth and blooming into something beautiful (and terrifying), and I’m just going to call it like I see it, because I’m miserably great at that.
Truth is important to me, too (to a fault), but I absolutely refuse to sacrifice love for falsehood masked as the truth! Be careful, friends. The degree between truth and deception is almost imperceptible. That’s what makes it deception.
So no… you cannot have love without truth. I concede. But I think everyone knows this, innately. We don’t need to talk about it. We certainly don’t need to preach it. If you don’t trust someone, you won’t keep pushing toward love. It’s natural. It’s self-protection. I can’t figure out why anyone would spend time studying this or promoting it. It’s pretty close to, “If you don’t breathe, you’ll die.” Seriously, don’t waste the research.
Sadly, I think maybe you can have truth (at least to a certain extent… maybe you can just have facts) without love, and this is precisely what makes it impossible to insinuate that truth might supersede love in God’s nature. It can’t, because you cannot have God without love... at least, not my God… which is, of course, why theology matters.
Let me reiterate… What we believe about God will inform everything we do in God’s name. Let’s… perhaps… be careful to understand the God we believe in before making a move on that God’s behalf.
I John 4:16, “…God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them” (NIV).
But please, don’t take my word for it. This is just a piece. Go read the whole chapter…