On this past Sunday, I observed in my sermon that truth telling is necessary, but most of the life of the early church was in truth living. The saints did not spend most of their time proclaiming truth, rather, they spent most of their time living truth. In fact, this was much of the attraction to the Jewish Messiah (Acts 2:43-47). Yet, many think that truth telling, that is, bold truth telling–which is usually synonymous for rudeness and lack of winsomeness–is the primary means of attracting the unbelieving world to Christ. Hence they will spend the majority of their efforts proclaiming, but not living. Of course, there is no need for a dichotomy; the simple point is that our presentation needs to be bathed in grace and gentleness (I Peter 3:15). Ed Welch summarized well this point when he wrote:
It is not enough for us to merely speak the truth. We don’t just wrap a lavish gift in a trash bag and toss it to someone. One of the pleasures of ministry is that we get to wrap it, include a personal note, maybe even a thoughtful poem, and then smile as the other person enjoys the present.