Paul is exhorting believers in unity and love. In Eph. 4:11-14, he says that God has ordained pastors and teachers for the edification of His people, that they might come to this unity and abound in Godly love. Pastors and teachers are to encourage God's people in the faith. They are not sent to rule as tyrants. They are not sent to ridicule and embarrass. They are not sent to be moral watch-dogs over people. They are sent to preach and teach God's Gospel, its particulars and implications, all aimed towards the glory of God in Christ, the salvation of sinners, and the edification and growth of God's people.
How can pastors and teachers attain this goal? They attain it by "speaking the truth in love." The greatest love we can show anyone is to tell them the truth in light of God's Gospel of eternal salvation and final glory based on the righteousness of Christ alone. The greatest love we can show to lost people is to tell them the truth of how they are lost and how their deeds are evil in light of the only way of salvation revealed in the Gospel. The greatest show of compassion is to expose their disease (the guilt and defilement of sin), and then show them the only remedy (Christ established a righteousness that demands the salvation and final glory of all for whom He lived, died, and arose). The greatest show of love we can give to saved sinners is to comfort them with the assurances of grace and salvation based on God's testimony. Truth and love go together. The lost world will not recognize this love as they do not know us (1 John 3:1). Some have said that people will not listen to your doctrine until they see your love. Now we desire that people know that we love them, but such a statement is not true of God's people as they recognize the love in telling them the truth, and it is not true of lost people as they view the truth of the Gospel as unkind and mean because it exposes that they are lost and that their deeds are evil (John 3:19-20; 7:7; 16:1-3). One thing we know – there is no love in promoting any person in a false refuge by speaking peace to them when there is no peace based on God's Word. That is only self-love.
--- Bill Parker
“He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name sake.”Psalm 23:3
The Good Shepherd of the sheep leads his flock in those righteous paths ordered of the Father and established by the Son. “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delights to walk therein.” Psalm 37:23Christ is that good man, sent of the Father to take every step necessary “to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.” Daniel 9:24 - In Psalm 40:8 Christ said; “I delight to do thy will O God.”He, “who for the joy set before him, endured the cross, despised the shame,” Hebrews 12:2 that he might lead his sheep in righteous paths. Micah 6:8 defines those paths. “He has shown thee O man what is good; and what does the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and love mercy and to walk humbly with thy God.”
Those who walk the path of justice look alone to Christ’s righteousness imputed for salvation.
Those who walk the path of mercy bow the knee at the mercy seat crying Lord, propitiate for me.
Those who walk the path of humility do so knowing their deservedness of eternal death.
Does my walk equal this talk? Only if my motive is grace and gratitude for the law and justice he satisfied for me, the propitiation he made for me and the gift of eternal life he earned for me when he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. I follow him in paths of righteousness when I follow his voice in Isaiah 30:21; “And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, this is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.”
The good Shepherd leads us in paths of righteousness. He is before us. If we “hear a Word behind us”, we have turned to the right or left. We seek to lead the Shepherd. His correction is always the same; “I am the way, the truth and the life, walk ye in the righteous paths.”