This is something that has been on my mind A LOT lately. It may be and seem a little scattered, so for that, I am sorry, but I just felt the need to share this:
As a Christian, I have seen both sides of the extreme…
I have seen people be so horrible to people they lack love. They just point fingers, call names, with no care or concern in helping the people they are hurling insults at get back into a right relationship with the Lord, OR start a relationship if they are not yet a Christian. This can be truly damaging, causing people to run even farther away from the Father, or worse, never run TO Him at all.
However, I have also seen the super soft side as well. People who are so worried about being “loving” they forget to tell the truth. It as almost as if they turn a blind eye. They tell us just be loving, do not ever offend anyone, do not ever call someone out. They forget we are called to do this. They forget we are supposed to guide people to the Lord. They forget in speaking truth and sharing the gospel, it requires honesty. It requires us to tell that friend who is struggling with an affair that they need to to stop, what they are doing is wrong, it is against God and their spouse… but in doing this, they should be there to HELP them through that time. Pray for them, offer support, encouragement, etc. They forget that if someone you love is listening to someone who is claiming Christ but a false teacher (and yes, there are MANY out there) we are to WARN them. We are to call those people out, and label them for what they are. — “I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. 18 For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites,and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.” Romans 16:17-18 — this view scares me.
We ALL sin. We all screw up, and if someone had not have been honest with US, we would have never come to Christ. Remember that. The gospel in and of itself can be “offensive” because it requires us to die to self and our selfish, sinful desires… not something most people really WANT to do. They don’t want to give up watching porn, or careless sex, or weekly drunken parties. When someone shared the gospel with us, I am SURE there was something we found offensive, even though it was the truth, but it is because we do not want to give up something in order to follow Christ. Remember, though, life with Christ is so much better than life without Christ with that “one thing” you don’t want to give up.
Sadly, sometimes, the truth DOES hurt. When I had friends tell me to get out of the abusive relationship I was in, no matter the pain I was feeling, it hurt. I didn’t want to be told what I was doing was wrong and damaging to me. When I struggled with eating disorders and people, out of love, expressed concern, I got defensive and angry. That happens 99% of the time when you call someone out on something.
That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t
REAL love will tell those they love the truth.
“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers,12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood,to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped,when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” Ephesians 4:11-16
Do you see what vs 14 says? “That we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves...” This is talking about those who believe everything they see, being drawn into anything and everything that looks good and pleasing to us. It is those who think just because a pastor or leader uses the name God, or Jesus, or Christ, they MUST be a Christian and are ok to listen to and follow, It is following the crowed, being like the lemmings. It is “going with the flow”so to speak. Sadly, there are some even in the “christian” circles who do this and lead people astray. Makes me heart sad. This is friends who are telling us, oh it’s ok, just get a divorce if you are not happy or don’t feel like being married anymore (just to be clear, I do think there are circumstances in which this may be necessary, God hates divorce, yes, but he allows it in certain cases). It is people who tell you can be a Christian yet still live like the World. It is people who turn a blind eye to the fact friends or family is suffering from drug or substance abuse, simply because they don’t want to make them mad,or hurt their feelings…
People, PLEASE. REAL love will tell those they love when they are in danger. It breaks my heart the amount of hurting people out there that we look over, or don’t say anything to for fear of hurting them by telling them something they are doing is harmful to them, against the Lord, or could be eternally damaging.
There is a balance. I will admit this. This is why we need to go to the Lord for the words. Look to Jesus example in the Bible. He was ALWAYS loving to people when he shared with them, yet he still spoke truth. He told them He had a BETTER way for them to live! A BETTER life, but in order to have that better life, it would be dying to yourself. It would mean giving up things that go against God’s holy Word.
Verse 15, says “RATHER,speaking truth in love…” This isn’t an option, the Lord is telling us what to do! He is telling us we HAVE to, we are CALLED to, step up and speak the truth… BUT, make sure we do it in love. Being mean and rude, etc, will do more harm than good. Lovingly guide them back into a right relationship with the Father.
We absolutely CANNOT be loving and not share the truth. We also cannot simply share truth without being loving. BOTH are dangerous. Someone on a board I am on had a great quote about it…
“Love without truth is damnable. Truth without love is damaging”
1 Corinthians says that love does NOT rejoice in wrong, but rejoices in the TRUTH. I think people forget sometimes we are meant to point people to the ultimate TRUTH. Jesus Christ. How, in the world, can we do that, unless we speak up and tell the truth?