Tone police often tell us we need to speak the truth in love.
It’s a phrase straight from Scripture (Ephesians 4:15). Christians agree with “speaking the truth in love,” especially as concerns the immediate context of the Ephesians passage:
…walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
The passage about speaking the “truth in love” describes how church members ought to speak to one another — so that each part of the church body can work together properly and so that the church body “builds itself up in love.”
Jesus, John the Baptist, and all the Apostles did just that. They all “spoke the truth in love” in the way Paul described in Ephesians.
Yet they also taught that God commands all men everywhere to repent (Acts 17:30). There can be no contradiction here. It is loving to call men to repentance.
All but one of the men I listed were murdered for what they taught.
We ought to infer that when men hate us, that not necessarily a sign that we are failing to measure up to the standard set by our Lord.
In fact, we have reason to suspect the opposite: If people don’t hate us, we might be doing something wrong.
Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.
Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.
Being persecuted is not a sure sign that we are in God’s will.
For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God.
1 Peter 2:20
Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good?
But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled,
but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,
having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.
For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.
1 Peter 3:13–17
Do the right thing, and trials will come.
But take heart. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, be glad that his Spirit rests on you.
Just make sure you are not suffering for being a meddler, but for being a Christian.
Rejoice knowing that God is a righteous judge — and that judgment is coming.
1 Peter 4:12–17
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.
But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.
If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.
But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler.
Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.
For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?