“Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech” (2 Cor. 3:12).
“The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the Lord” (Jer. 23:28).
“Great is my boldness of speech” (2 Cor. 7:4).
Luther and Knox and Wesley and Fletcher, and many others who have arrested the attention of their fellows, have been charged with bitterness of spirit and harshness of utterance. Had they contented themselves with honeyed words lisped in monotone, or an occasional refrain about the sweet by and by in a minor key, they would have not succeeded. Their hearts were on fire, and the words which flowed from their lips and pens were red hot also. Why, the things that Luther said were far stronger than anything you will hear or read today.
Shall we who live in these last days speak less plainly? Shall we whom God has called to so glorious a work be less explicit? God forbid. If the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts it will be pure and tender; it will also be true and terrible. Love utters strong words and strikes strong blows to save souls, to rescue the perishing, to glorify God. So let us one and all be kind and loving, but desperately earnest in carrying out the life-work God has given us. Time is short. Eternity will be long. We have no time to lose.—Reader Harris.
Heirs of the truth they held of old,
The truth for which men were martyrs;
We lack the love that made them bold,
Stronger than fires and waters.
Brave hearts we lack, that yearn and long,
Touched with diviner feeling;
The simple faith that made weak men strong,
True to their work and willing.
Certainly it is possible to reconcile meekness, yea, and kindness, with the utmost plainness of speech. But this will infallibly be termed bitterness by those who do not receive it in love. Their returning us hatred for goodwill is the cross we are called to bear.—John Wesley.