Before crystal clear digital television, rabbit ear antennas were used to receive signals. If the antenna wasn’t configured perfectly, wavy lines and crazy colors would shoot across the screen. If the distortion was bearable, the show was watchable; if the screen was scrambled and jumping, no matter how badly you wanted to watch, you had to change the channel. Likewise, if we’re Christians, but not acting in love, people will turn us off.
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.” (1 Corinthians 13:1) The Apostle Paul is admitting that the purest truths of men and angels are simply bothersome if not delivered with love. Though dialed into truth, if we’re not broadcasting in love, our picture comes across as unwatchable. “Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” (Romans 13:10) Love makes the difference.
The truth of God is very different when love is removed; like the jumbled picture, it’s unwatchable. In John 8:1-11, when we meet the woman caught in adultery, the Pharisees correctly cite the Mosaic Law stating adulterers are to be put to death. (Leviticus 20:10) They have the Law correct, are ready to stone her, but they have no love. Jesus doesn’t deny she’s sinned, but His response is loving, as He says, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” (v. 11) In Luke 13:10-17, the temple ruler has the Laws of the Sabbath correct, but having no love, becomes furious Jesus heals a woman with a disabling spirit on the Lord’s day. The Creator of love responds, “Ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?” (v. 16)
Unfortunately, many professing Christians have become those clanging cymbals Paul mentioned, speaking Biblical truth without a loving heart. “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35) If we tap into this incredible love Jesus demonstrates, we’ll have power to bless those who persecute us, turn the other cheek, and go the extra mile. Best of all, God’s truth will be pleasing to viewers as it’s sent out in love. “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” (1 John 4:11)