Sometimes in life we are faced with situations we don’t agree with. As Christians we often think we need to keep the peace by keeping quiet. That’s the nice thing to do, right? But what if keeping quiet causes harm. Perhaps we think that our words don’t make a difference, we will offend someone, or our words have to be “happy.”
Let me ask you this, were Jesus’ words happy when he drove out the money changers’ tables in the temple? They probably didn’t like him referring to them as “robbers.” Maybe they saw themselves as trying to help people attain their sacrificial animals. Just because they marked up the prices doesn’t make them robbers, does it? The fact is God calls us to speak truth in love. This does not mean as my friend and I say, everything is kitties, clouds, and rainbows. No, those are things of my childhood Lisa Frank stickers. This is by far not the only scriptural instance of someone saying the hard stuff. Paul said a lot of hard stuff in the letters he wrote. Can you imagine writing to all the churches you’ve ever been a part of and saying, “You know, you guys need to deal with your greed. You are constantly chasing after people for their money”? Or how about, “I know I saw the minister’s husband looking me up and down when I was in my swimsuit at the church camping trip last summer. You guys need to deal with your lust issues”? It would be a little awkward. So, maybe God doesn’t want us to say or write those things to the whole church, maybe sometimes he does want us to shed some light on sin in the presence of others. That’s something we have to discern on a case by case basis, but we know that he always asks us to speak truth in love.
So, what is truth in love? It sounds good. Is it sugar coating the truth? I think it means to come from a place of love and compassion toward another and letting the Holy Spirit speak through you God’s truth. This last weekend a family member challenged a Proverbs verse I put on my Facebook page, asking if my “faith” required constant words of reaffirmation. I wrote and rewrote my response thinking I would really show her for writing something that sounded so degrading in my mind. I could just imagine her sarcastic, know-it-all tone as I wrote. Somehow I just couldn’t leave it alone. Finally I was driving home and this voice in the back of my head kept saying my comments were not being said in love. They were being said in pride and arrogance. Now, is that the way God would want me to respond? The truth is I don’t know what her tone was when she wrote that comment. Maybe it was a completely innocent question. Perhaps my response was not a response to this one Facebook comment. Maybe it was a reaction to all the times she has tried to challenge my faith. So, what did I do? I stopped right there and deleted my responses. All 3 of them! Because being God’s ambassador is not about memorizing the most verses, following the most rules, or thinking you are better than someone else. If you think that’s what it’s about, check again. It’s about loving, not just the easy-to-love people, but everyone. When you do that, that’s when you are able to speak truth in LOVE.
For now I am waiting on the Holy Spirit to give me His response to my family member’s words. I believe at this time I just have to be patient and leave it up to Him. Perhaps there are no words for her right now because sometimes speaking truth in love is simply showing that you may not agree with the other person but you love them anyway, and that is beyond words.
Published on Nov 26, 2012. Words is the latest single from Hawk Nelson and features Bart Millard from MercyMe.
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