Joe Stanley is a proud Texan from San Antonio. He has 25 years of experience in small church pastoral ministry. He has a degree in Christian Education, a Master of Arts in Theological Studies, a Master of Divinity and is currently working on his Doctor of Ministry. He and his wife Glenda have 2 children and 1 grandchild.
I often hear people talk about hypocrites and how judgmental they are. They insist that we should be just like Jesus and only show love to everyone. I agree! In fact, I could not agree more! Jesus is our example and we should be just like him.
However, do you think that everyone that Jesus dealt with really felt his love? If that is so, then why did they crucify him? Before we make statements like this we need to examine Scripture to see what it really says.
In this first example, Jesus clears the temple:
“In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. And he told those who sold the pigeons, ‘Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade'” (John 2:14-16 ESV).
Do you think the people that he whipped felt his love and would they describe Jesus as loving? Jesus also frequently referred to the scribes and Pharisees as hypocrites:
“Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in.” (Matthew 23:12-13 ESV).
Do you think that these religious leaders would describe Jesus as loving? Jesus was actually warning these religious leaders because they did not measure up to God’s standards. He was warning them that if they did not change they would face God’s judgment.
The Painful Truth
It was out of love that Jesus spent so much time to try and reach the Religious Leaders of Israel. He loved them so much that He continually tried to shock them and shatter their preconceived notions of their own righteousness.
In our culture we believe that love is a warm feeling that we have for another person. We also believe that if a person makes us feel bad it is not love. We think that if a person really loves us they will only tell us good things, the things that we want to hear and that will make us feel good about ourselves.
In reality, if someone really loves you they will care enough to lovingly tell you the truth – even if it is painful to hear.
What does this means for us? When God opens a door for us to speak into someone’s life we should “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15).