Thursday, August 21, 2008

Speak the Truth in Love

Here is something that has been on my heart and mind for about 3 weeks - I have written, deleted and pondered over this post.

In my 33 (almost 34 years) I have noticed that sometimes the most damage to relationships has come from other Christians. (Myself included). I know that their heart is trying to do right but in their course of sharing the Word of Christ - they end up hurting a lot of people. Maybe we are more lenient towards non-believers and give them slack because we think they don't know what they should or shouldn't do - or maybe it hurts more because as Christians - we feel they SHOULD think more before they speak and act. Either way, it hurts.

Sometimes it is in being unforgiving.

Sometimes it is being quick to judge and point fingers.

Sometimes it is being exclusive in friendships.

Sometimes it is passed along in jealousy.

And sometimes it is just painting a picture of Christ that is so unappealing that people mistrust God when they should be mistrusting the validity of a personal opinion.

As Christians we are called to seek what is right in the Lord's eyes. There are some things that are black and white in the Bible. But, there are more areas that are left open with what I think as the intention for us to seek God and his answers. It seems like some of us harp on those black and white issues and turn our own eyes away from the grey areas in our own lives that are probably displeasing to God.

I am sure that I have done this at one point or another. Not intentionally, or maybe intentionally ... I am not proud of it either way.

"Prayer requests" at the water cooler. Was it passed along in prayer or was it gossip? Wouldn't our God have known what the prayer was if we hadn't divulged all the details?

Kinda a grey area... I know it talks about gossip but what about the slip - the "I wasn't thinking before I participated" kind? The one where later - sometime days later you think back that it may have not been the right thing to do.

Recently I had a friend who is seeking the Lord and what is right more intentionally than ever. She is wanting to do what is right & what is good but she can't come out from behind the judgment of what she has done in the past. It is brought before her and made her question her walk of faith and the goodness of the believers. She feels she is not accepted at church when in fact - we are ALL sinners and ALL needed Christ to shed His blood for OUR sins against Him. Christ would have been the first one with the "Welcome" sticker on his shirt - shaking her hand as she walked in the door. He would have told her He was happy to see her - and he would have MEANT it.

I have been thinking about this more and more and I am saddened each time. And then God spoke to me. It is always great how He gets my attention - I must not listen for Him very well - maybe it is because I am never still and waiting on Him.

Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." Psalm 46:10

My being still means waiting and seeking, and praying like He can't hear... be still Lisa, be still. I never seem to give Him the chance to answer...

His lessons seem to come at them most quirky times... and from unlikely sources. So, as Noah and I were at the kitchen table working on our "school". We had a CD playing and Hermie and his friends started singing the Ephesians 4:15 song and it hit me hard.

"Speak the truth in love.
We should speak the truth in love.
Ephesians 4:15 says we
Should speak the truth in love."

Lord, how many of the issues of our relationships would be erased if we would do as you say? Are we supposed to speak the truth? YES. Are we supposed to hold each other to the standards that you set forth in the Bible? YES. Are we supposed to brow-beat, belittle, or pass judgement? NO. Lord, you make is SO clear.

"Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ." Ephesians 4:15

That is how we are to be like Christ. We are to speak the truth in love. That is what Christ asks us to do. Don't judge - that is His domain. Speak the truth. Speak in love. And, on the receiving end, we need to take it in love and before getting defensive or over hurt - we need to receive the truth and then work with God towards fixing the issue.

Christ doesn't need us to make things happen ...
He can point out the problem areas to us without the aide of others...
But, he has asked us to speak the truth in love because we can help build the Kingdom of Christ and we can help each other accountable.

Dear Lord, please help me to speak the truth in love and to know when I have not done so so that I may right the wounds I may have caused.

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1 comment:

ocm said...

I've been pondering your post since I first read it. It struck me as true and resonated.

As I thought about it, I was convicted about the sins of "omission" I commit regularly. Rather than say anything...I remain silent.

There may be a new person at CG and I just sit quietly because I'm tired, want to talk to a friend or some other selfish reason.

It is me. It is my comfort and selfishness. To submit to Christ so that HE pours out...

Thought provoking post. Are you seeing your actions change?

: )