“The elder to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth.” (III John 1)
It was for no light reason that the Spirit of God inspired John to add these words, “in truth” to this opening verse of his third letter. (Notably He did it in II John 1 as well, when He had John write that he loved “the chosen lady and her children” “in truth” also.) This is important because many varieties of “love” abound which are NOT really love “in truth”:
— There is a hypocritical “love”, which is actually not love at all. It proclaims itself to be genuine, but in reality it falls well short. It may be a mere “fondness”, but it does not attain to the depth of agape, sacrificial, selfless, love. Or it may not be love at all, rather a using of the other person for one’s own pleasure, or glory, or financial gain.
— There is also a “love” which is not “in truth”, in the sense that it is not based upon the foundation of the truth. The relationship may be built on lies; or an inability to really speak the truth, or upon things which contradict the word of God.
John wrote that the love which he had for Gaius, and for the church of the second epistle, was love “in truth.” He really DID love them; he didn’t just “say” it. And the love that he had for them was a love built on the truth of God’s word, not the shaky foundation of lies and deception or worldly ideas.
Who in your life can you truly say that you really love “in truth” — not just with a mere surface fondness, but in deep, agape love? And is your professed “love” really “in truth” — based on the sure foundation of the truths of God’s word? If not, then no matter how you may “feel” towards them on Valentine’s Day, you do not love really them “in truth.”