Speaking in Love: What is that exactly?
About 20 years ago, I heard a man say to his brother, “F*** you! And I mean that in love!” It struck me at the time that his definition of love might be an unusual one. Other people almost hide the truth so that they are speaking in love; is that really love?
Paul made an interesting comment:
f I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
1 Corinthians 13:1
Love is clearly a big deal for the Christian because Jesus has commanded that we love one another. (John 13:34). In the next chapter, Jesus tells His disciples that if they love Him they must obey His commands. (14:15); therefore since He commanded that we love one another, and if we love Him we must obey, we must love one another if we love Jesus. If we don’t love one another then we don’t love Jesus: Tough spot!
Love in the Biblical sense is not an emotion; it has nothing to do with romance. It is a commitment to put others ahead of ourselves in service to God. If we love God and we are His servants, then we must put others ahead of ourselves: this is what godly love looks like!
As love relates to speech, it looks like someone who will tell the truth, never speak rashly or in anger, and someone who always speaks in a manner that is uplifting, empowering and in truth. If our brother has fallen into sin, then love requires that we speak to that brother in a manner that helps him to see his error and that brings him back to God. Of course this is done not as a rebuke, but as an encouragement. Speech that is not in love is just noise; speech that is in love is a life-giving thing.
Funny isn’t it… Biblical love always seems to come back to self. Serving God and serving self just don’t go together very well.