“My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.” (James 5:19–20, NIV84)
Our job is not to declare ourselves right and the rest of the world wrong. Our job is to use the truth in such a loving way that we are able to share it with those who are not adhering to the truth. My point is this: Our goal is not to get to the end of our lives, or the end of time, and say to the world around us that “We won! We were right and you were wrong.” Our goal is to proclaim to, explain to, and persuade those around us with the truth. Our goal is not to be on the winning side. Our goal is to win people to the winning side. The motivation for our task is not “rightness”; it must be compassion. Jesus came into the world as the Word of truth desiring to win its occupants to his perspective. He was gentle and compassionate. He spent time and energy teaching, preaching, and living the truth in an attempt to win souls to the truth.
Why all this effort? Why this approach to convincing others of the truth? Because so much is at stake. Truth and falsehood is a life-and-death issue. Understand, this is not an issue of differing opinions. It is an issue of spiritual life and death (heaven or hell). Sin separates us from the truth that can save us. Jesus lovingly and gently communicates truth to our hearts because mankind’s eternal welfare is at stake. He doesn’t want to just prove that truth is right. He wants to prove that truth saves and redeems. This is our task! It is to communicate God’s truths to a world that is dying in such a way that the world hears us. We must always remember that every individual we communicate with is an eternal being. We must unite them with the truth of their Creator and Redeemer. The only way to do this is with love and compassion, and a hunger to save the lost.
May our defense of the truth always be seasoned with love and compassion.