We long for love, joy, and truth. And yet, we often feel the pressures of the workplace require us to hide and misrepresent the truth.
In this passage, the word truth extends beyond spoken truth. As Simon Kistemaker explains it, the word Paul uses indicates a broad concept of truth—something like sincerity or moral truth:
Love searches out the truth and rejoices when love is triumphing over wrong. Love and truth are inseparable partners residing in God himself.
Love, joy, and truth are inseparable in our lives because they are three of the inseparable qualities of God’s character. God is love (I Jn 4:8) and truth (John 14:6) and in him there is joy (Ps. 16:11).
Where there is no truth, joy is fleeting and there is no love.
The Absence of Truth at Work
In our fallen world, we face the lack of love, joy, and truth every day. Half-truths and insincerity are commonplace—especially at work. As we and our colleagues pursue our idols of success and are dominated by our idols of failure and insecurity, we obscure the truth by commission and omission.
Unless pushed, we often avoid revealing the full truth about ourselves, our projects, and our products.
To get a pet project approved, we are tempted to sell all of the pros of the initiative, while not revealing all of the risks and downsides. Love, joy, and truth are inseparable in our lives because they are three of the inseparable qualities of God’s character.
To protect our image, we might not admit the amount of work-time we spend surfing the Internet, developing our side-businesses, or just staring out the window. We want to be seen as diligent and fully committed, but sometimes we’re not.
And then there are resumes. A best-selling career adviser actually encourages young professionals to stretch the truth on their resumes. She says, “…a well-written resume to one person is a pack of lies to another. Make sure yours falls somewhere in between, which is no small feat.”
Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight (Prov. 12:22)
We have unrealistic expectations of ourselves and others, meaning our expectations are often not rooted in truth. Our self-made idols lie to us and relentlessly and cruelly steal our joy.
Rejoicing with the Truth
To help us understand God’s timeless truth, Paul offers this simple and profound statement: Love rejoices with the truth.
Tim Keller, in his book The Meaning of Marriage, connects truth and love to being known. He says,
To be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.
These ideas apply at work as well as in marriage. Truth enables us to be truly known and loved. And in that, we can rejoice.
When we know the truth and share it with others, we are better equipped to manage our lives. We know what works and what doesn’t work. We make better decisions. We know how to help and serve one another. In all of these ways—and more—we can see God’s intended plan and rejoice in it.
We can’t stop our colleagues from obscuring the truth by commission and omission. But, we can, by the power of the Holy Spirit, control ourselves. And, we can love—by rejoicing in the truth.
Editor’s note: On “Flashback Friday,” we publish some of IFWE’s former posts that are worth revisiting. This post was first published on Sept. 16, 2014.