Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, 23 since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; 24 for
“All flesh is like grass
and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
and the flower falls,
25 but the word of the Lord remains forever.”
And this word is the good news that was preached to you. – 1 Peter 1:22-25
There are some people whom I know love me, and for whom I truly give thanks. They may not always agree with me, but they have my best interest at heart and will speak the truth in love. Not everyone in my experience over the years has been willing to do that. Those folks come in two flavors.
One flavor is epitomized in a conversation I had with a fourth-year seminary student the first day I set foot on the Concordia Theological Seminary campus in Springfield, Illinois. Somehow we got into a conversation in which he was determined to straighten me out and make certain that I walked the straight and narrow theological pathway in terms of who my friends were and with whom I aligned myself in the church. This brother in the faith spoke the truth according to himself, but I did not experience it as loving at all – sad.
The other flavor will smile and say whatever they think pleases you to your face, yet harbor ill will and a contrary thought in their hearts. Eventually their lack of humble honesty not only suppresses the truth, but also quenches true brotherly love. They mediate neither truth nor love – doubly sad.
Then there are those women and men of good character who love deeply from the heart. They love truth and the brother or sister. They are willing to speak the hard word when necessary, but those words are offered in a spirit of humility and grace. They know that God’s word is a word of law and a word of grace, and that the word of grace always prevails.
Grace is precious to those who love truth. Truth is able to be embraced within an atmosphere of grace. True brotherly love honors grace and truth. It loves truth and the brother or sister. It is a precious thing and a product of God’s Holy Spirit mediating that same grace and truth to us centered and founded in Jesus Christ our Lord.
This is the good news we share and believe.