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Truth and Love

The Christian Reformed Church holds an annual assembly called Synod every year. Synod is where representatives from our denomination's churches all gather together (usually in Grand Rapids) to discuss and decide on important matters facing our churches. There is always a lot to learn from our Synod meetings. There are reports from our denominational agencies, we hear about church plants and missionaries and approve new candidates to be pastors. There is a lot of hard work to get through, but it's also a time of worship and fellowship. Part of that hard work is sorting out our differences of opinion and conviction. While there should be room for a healthy sharing of ideas, we should still have clarity about what we believe and how we function together.

Some of you, like me, have been following the articles about the decisions that were made and how it impacts our churches. One of the most pressing matters the past couple years has been the Human Sexuality Report (HSR). A study committee that worked for a few years presented a really long report on the Bible's teachings on a wide range of sexual issues and their practical implications. That report was published for review and approved at Synod 2022. With this really big document with lots of information has come a lot of questions about how we live those ideas out as churches and believers in covenant with one another. There was great debate about how we treat these issues and how we counsel members and churches who disagree. Because this topic deeply impacts people's lives, conversations surrounding it can be quite personal and emotional. Anyone who has been in the church for some time should know that we disagree with each other. I think the thing that matters most, however, is HOW we disagree.

In his closing remarks, the Synod chairperson urged believers and churches to be gentle with one another despite our differences because there is great strength in gentleness. I think that's an important word for us all today too.

Church should be a place of truth and love. It should be where the truth of God's Word is preached, taught, spoken about, prayed over, and lived out. It should also be a place where we fiercely love one another despite our sins and differences. Sometimes we emphasize one more than the other. In the name of truth, we may say or do really unloving things to our brother or sister in Christ. In the name of love, we may ignore God's calling to turn from sin and walk in obedience. The reality is, we need both truth and love to be faithful to Jesus. It's important for us all to remember none of us are without sin. We all fall short. In Christ, however, we are all forgiven. In Christ we walk in obedience. And in Christ we have a community to walk with us in those journeys with Christ. Let's be a people of truth and love as we walk this journey of faith together.

"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him."

--1 John 4:7–9.

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