There is a trap in the pursuit of truth, and many pastors, professors, and Christians in general have fallen into it. I have fallen into it, and over the past four years or so, am trying to climb my way out of the pit.
The trap is this: if we are not careful, the pursuit of truth gets in the way of loving others.
For me, it happened this way:
In Bible College and Seminary, I was assigned many books to read and papers to write. Seminary was all about accuracy, truth, dotting every i, crossing every t, making sure I had the proper word count, and writing in Turabian format.
In class, we had discussions about election and predestination, open theism, inerrancy and inspiration of Scripture, millennialism, tribulationalism, dispensationalism, infra-, supra-, and sublapsarianism and many other “very important” subjects that you discuss every day over dinner.
At this time , I was working as an editor, where I sought out spelling, grammar, and punctuation mistakes in newsletters, theological journals, books, commentaries, and websites. I was entirely focused on searching and destroying tiny mistakes and errors, like a misplaced period, or an extra space.
Much of this crept into my every day life as well. I was so caught up in being right, so focused on being accurate, so intent on discovering and speaking truth, so engaged in answering questions (that nobody was really asking), that I forget that that truth is not end in itself. Love is the goal of truth.
In my pursuit of truth, I often neglected to love others. I forgot that while truth is important, truth in a vacuum causes arrogance and pride. I forgot that God gave us truth to help free people from bondage, rejection, and fear.
It is not that we can sacrifice truth on the altar of love, but somehow, both are needed to live like Jesus, and love others in this world. Our entire lives, I think, are spent learning to balance truth and love.
Have you ever fallen into the trap of truth? Maybe you have gone the other way, and have let truth slide in the name of love. What suggestions do you have for balancing truth and love?
This post is based on the Grace Commentary for Luke 6:6-11.