Different Physicians, Different Personalities
But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. Revelations 2:4-5
It’s not entirely fair to make blanket statements, but different physician specialties are known for their different personalities. For instance, I’d say most internal medicine physicians that I know are highly organized, intelligent, and good with minute details. Those are all positive traits, but that personality is sometimes not terribly flexible and doesn’t necessarily thrive in chaotic environments, like the Emergency Room. Me on the other hand . . . well, I’m no internal medicine physician. I’m disorganized and terrible with small details. I like big, tangible problems and I don’t mind chaos. In residency, I quickly realized that I didn’t enjoy internal medicine clinic, but I loved the ER. Different personalities have different assets and liabilities, which is important for each of us to recognize. We all have strengths, but each strength comes with its own corresponding weakness.
This is what Jesus pointed out in today’s passage. In his letter to the Ephesian church, Christ commended them for their commitment to the truth. They simply didn’t tolerate false doctrine or evil in their church. That was a good thing – a strength or an asset. The converse liability to this trait though, was that they weren’t very loving. Though they once were lost themselves, they’d become judgmental, condescending Christians. They used to love their neighbors, but now they could only see the sins and flaws of everyone around them. Christ commanded them, not to give up on their pursuit of truth and holiness, but to also return to the behavior they once practiced – loving their neighbors.
Truth and love always must accompany each other (Ephesians 4:15). Love without truth is chaos and turns out not to be very loving at all. Truth without love though, is judgmental legalism, which completely misses God’s authentic truth.
In church, we’re often prone to this same flaw of the Ephesians. We’ve known faith for years. We don’t commit any big sins. We don’t do drugs or struggle with our sexual identity. So, we look down on those who do. Every church needs those who recognize and refuse to tolerate nonsense, but if that’s all we have, then we’re probably an angry, condescending, judgmental church.
Jesus perfectly balanced truth and love and he asks that we seek to do the same. We can’t tolerate evil and false doctrine in church, but Christ never asks us to hate others in his name. Our commitment to truth cannot mean that we abandon love. Jesus loves us and so, we must always love those whom he puts in our path.