My Bible reading this morning caused me to come across a passage in which the Apostle Paul speaks of people perishing because of their refusal to “love the truth” (2 Thess 2:10). That’s an interesting phrase, isn’t it? It got me to thinking: Just what does it mean to love the truth?

Of course, those of us who are familiar with our Bibles know that passages such as John 14:6 refer to Jesus, himself, as the “truth.” It could be that this is all Paul had in mind when he wrote to the Thessalonian believers saying:

The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, 10 and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness. (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12)

Again, perhaps all Paul had in mind here was the refusal of some people to love Jesus who is the “truth.”

On the other hand, for a variety of reasons, both exegetical and existential, I want to suggest that it’s possible on a grander scale to love/accept or hate/reject the concept of “Truth” in general, or the “truth” about this or that situation in particular.

In our book Beyond the Bliss my wife Patti and I refer to the life discipline of being dedicated to the truth, demonstrating the importance of this dynamic to various issues that can cause the best of marriages to unravel. It seems to me that being “dedicated” to the truth and “loving” it have a lot in common. (I’m assuming here a “soft” rather than “hard” postmodern view of truth: that while we cannot claim to possess complete objective certainty about any matter–even our own motives according to Proverbs 16:2 and 21:2–we can with God’s help possess a “good enough” view of things to discern truth from error and navigate our way through life in a God-pleasing manner. According to 1 Corinthians 13:12, though we see as through a glass darkly, we still see; though our knowledge is now in part, we still know.)

A long time ago I embraced the idea that to love someone with God’s love (agape) is to wish them the highest possible good no matter the cost of this to oneself. This is the way God loves us. This is the kind of love which, according to 2 Thess 2:10 we can and should have for the “truth.” Certainly we should love Jesus in this way. But we all know that there are times in our lives when embracing or accepting a particular “truth” about a particular situation will be an inconvenient, personally costly thing to do. What should we do in such situations? I want to suggest that we should love the “truth” anyway, despite the personal cost and incovenience!

Why is this so important? I’m afraid that if we ever get used to not loving the “truth” about any particular matter, if we ever get used to suppressing the “truth” in any situation due to a desire to avoid the painful consequences that will accrue should the “truth” win out, we run the risk of eventually not loving the “Truth” who is Jesus himself. According to Ephesians 4:15 it is by “speaking the truth in love” that we as individuals and communities “will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.” In other words “truth” and “Truth” are related. We can’t truly love Jesus the “Truth” if we are not people who are radically dedicated to the “truth” winning out in our daily lives. We simply can’t be in the habit of suppressing or denying “truths” in particular and still be lovers of the “truth” that is Jesus! 

We can’t truly love Jesus the “Truth” if we are not people who are radically dedicated to the “truth” winning out in our daily lives.

So, is there some truth about a particular matter you are currently tempted to suppress rather than accept because of the personal cost involved? More than that, are you doing all that you can to make sure that the truth about this or that matter wins out? Let’s not just be dedicated to the truth, as important as that is, let’s be lovers of it! The truth is our friend. The “truth” about the situation you’re dealing with, and Jesus the “Truth,” are related. Let’s never be guilty of hoping that the truth doesn’t prevail. Let’s never grow weary of speaking nothing but the truth to one another in love (Eph 4:15).

Something to think about.