Facts don’t care about your feelings.”1 That is the title of an article in the winter issue of Libertas magazine. The title is actually a quote attributed to an individual by the name of Ben Shapiro who is evidently known to say this phrase during various political discussions. One might easily see how this phrase could be used to argue in favor of certain political stances, but this article is not about politics. In fact, if this author might be indulged a little, I would like to add to this quote by saying, “‘Facts don’t care about your feelings’ . . . but Christians should.”
It is true that sometimes folks are “turned off” by the truth of God’s word. Those folks may try to distract us by using an emotional argument like, “If you love me you won’t judge me.” At the same time, Christians need to recognize that we can be unloving when we teach Bible truths. If we show people the error of their ways “and have not love, it profits me nothing” (NKJV) . . . to borrow a principle from the inspired apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 13. Paul told the church at Ephesus that growth in the body of Christ comes from “speaking the truth in love,” among other things (Eph. 4:15). Just as worshipping God in “truth” to the exclusion of “spirit” (a proper attitude) is vain (John 4:24), so too is speaking the truth to our neighbors without the motivation of love. There must be balance in what we say and speak.
Nevertheless, truth is truth no matter how one feels about it. It simply will not do for those who are in error to suggest that a Christian is unloving for having the courage to share the truth. Jesus is the most loving individual to have ever walked among humankind (John 1:14). If he shared the truth with people in error, so must those who follow him.
Jesus was not afraid to look someone in the eye and tell the truth, but his motivation was clearly guided by love. When Jesus looked the Samaritan woman in the eye in John 4 and told her the truth, it was not a comfortable conversation for her. While the record begins with Jesus asking her for water (John 4:1-9), she ends up asking him for water—living water (John 4:10-15). This request leads to Jesus telling her, “Go, call your husband, and come here” (John 4:16). The woman may have thought she had an easy “out” when she responded, “I have no husband” (John 4:17). Imagine her surprise when Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly” (John 4:18).
If a similar conversation were to occur today, no doubt some people would stop and say, “Who are you to judge me? If I’m living with a man then that is none of your business! If I divorce and remarry as much as I want, then who are you to say that I’m wrong! God wants me to be happy!” Even though Jesus approached this woman out of love and concern for her soul, a Christian trying to help someone in a similar sinful state today might well be deemed “unloving.”
There is, however, a very important line of questions that must be considered in the case of Jesus and the Samaritan woman. What if Jesus had never addressed her sinful situation? What if he had never confronted this woman’s history of divorce, and remarriage? How different would her life be (as well as the other Samaritans in the city of Sychar) if Jesus had not had a difficult but necessary conversation with her? Furthermore, how would he have addressed her misunderstandings about worship had he not confronted her with the truth (John 4:19-24)? The text tells us, “The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, ‘Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?’ Then they went out of the city and came to Him…And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, ‘He told me all that I ever did’” (John 4:27-30, 39).
The fact is that a woman and an entire city had the opportunity to be saved from their sins due to an uncomfortable conversation. How could anyone sensibly argue that teaching this woman the truth in John 4 was an exercise in being “unloving”? The New Testament is filled with conversations that might well be considered “unloving” by the culture of today. One amazing example of this type of thing is when Peter confronted sin by telling his audience: “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36). That “uncomfortable” statement led to 3,000 souls being saved (Acts 2:41).
The evidence in Scripture is stacked against the false notion that teaching Bible truths is unloving. When a Christian has the courage to help someone out of error, they should be commended instead of condemned. In addition to fornication and unscriptural divorce and remarriage, society now has plenty of opportunities for Christians to have “uncomfortable” conversations which may cause them to be labeled “unloving.” So, as the song asks, “Who will follow Jesus, standing for the right, holding up His banner in the thickest fight, listening for His orders, ready to obey? Who will follow Jesus, serving Him today? Who will follow Jesus? Who will make reply, ‘I am on the Lord’s side. Master, here am I’?”
Spencer has served as the associate editor for the Carolina Messenger for four years. He has been preaching for 21 years. He currently preaches part-time in West Columbia, SC.
- Jensen, Jessic, ed. “Facts Don’t Care About Your Feelings: An Interview with Ben Shapiro.” Libertas. Winter 2019: 22-25.