If you have yet to believe God exists or the Christian gospel is true, I want to reveal something to you. When a Christian says or writes something that challenges you at the point of faith, it is an expression of love. You matter.
George W. Truett (1867-1944) learned early in life that love and truth are graceful companions. He is a favorite son of Hayesville, North Carolina who became a Christian leader of renown and influence. He spent the first 22 years of his life there, before migrating to Texas and later becoming the pastor of First Baptist Dallas. He was one of the most famous preachers of his era, introducing many around the world to the Savior.
At the age of 19, Truett professed faith in Jesus Christ during a revival meeting. At the time, he was a schoolteacher at nearby Crooked Creek in Towns County, Georgia. The next year, he founded Hiawassee Academy with the support of his McConnell cousins who lived nearby.
Truett loved his students, and that gave him the freedom to speak truth to them. His biography tells the story of Jim, a crippled lad 16 years old. Jim appeared at the school one day during chapel. After the service he stayed behind. Truett asked, “My lad, what do you want?”
“I want to go to school! I want to be somebody in the world.” Because of Jim’s poverty, Truett gave him free tuition and books.
Truett later spoke with the boy in his office. Jim explained that his father died in a mill accident, and his mother was struggling to support Jim and his two sisters. Truett laid his hand on Jim’s head saying, “Jim, I believe in you thoroughly, and I want you to know that I love you.”
Startled, Jim said with a sob, “I didn’t know anybody loved me but my mother and sisters!”
One Friday evening as Truett led evening prayers for the boys, Jim stood up with his crutches. Through laughter and tears he said, “Teacher, I have found the Savior! That time you told me you loved me started me toward Him!” It was the first soul Truett ever led to the Savior, and it was love and truth that won Jim over.
The message of truth must be motivated by love. Ravi Zacharias said, “If truth is not undergirded by love, it makes the possessor of that truth obnoxious and the truth repulsive.” Our example is Jesus. When he proclaimed truth to people, “He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd” (Matt. 9:36). His gospel begins just so: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son” (John 3:16). May that love motivate you to believe and share the truth.