Ravi Zacharias, in one of his books, quotes an African proverb which says: “A man shows what he has inside by what spills out when he is bumped.” Much as we might wish to avoid it, we are going to be bumped, by circumstances that we did not foresee and by people who do not see things as we do. If the words that then come spilling out of our mouth are caustic and foul-smelling, this is not a good sign.
The African proverb just quoted is simply a reformatting of the words of Jesus in Matthew 15:18: “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.”
The apostles give similar instructions: “Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be” (James 3:10). “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:1-2). “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice” (the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 4:31).
The only conclusion to draw from this is that doctrinal truth is not the sole test of authentic Christianity. As Blaise Pascal said, truth without love is really idolatry. Yet we dare not make a choice between the two. Truth is every bit as important as love to our salvation. In 2 Thessalonians 2:10, the Apostle Paul speaks of ” all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.”
How then can we be saved? To ask that question is to reveal doubt about the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer. It is one and the same Spirit which guides us into all truth (John 16:13) and grants unto us the fruit of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, goodness, faith (Galatians 5:22).