Wednesday, May 22, 2013

'Speaking the Truth in Love'

In this internet age there are hundreds of blogs, numerous opinionated individuals and in general far too many people who believe they are most correct and who cannot humbly see the point of view of others.


As Christians, within the community of Jesus' church we are called to something different, something better:    "Speaking the truth in love"


So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and
teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may
be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of
God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here
and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people
in their deceitful scheming. Instead, SPEAKING THE TRUTH IN LOVE, we will grow to
become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.
(Ephesians 4:11-15)


If you write a Christian blog don't be mistaken; we are in fact acting as teachers.  In that case, as described in Ephesians 4:11, our role has been handed to us by Christ.  Our mandate is to "speak the truth in love".  The scriptures carry many warnings for those who would presume to be teachers. 

Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know
that we who teach will be judged more strictly (James 3:1)

The reason I am writing this is that I love to read various Christian blogs; however recently I have found that the "love" portion of speaking the truth in love can be sorely lacking.  In the case of differences in opinion, instead of calmly discussing the issue, or presenting a positive case for our point of view I have seen people take the approach of mischaracterizing others views and raking individuals over the coals.   

In the Church this should not happen, but it does, and this saddens me. 

Some verses that came to mind as I thought about this -

Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace,
along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. Don’t have anything
to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.
And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone,
able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope
that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth,
and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil,
who has taken them captive to do his will. (2 Timothy 2:22-25)


But avoid foolish controversies... because these are unprofitable and useless.
Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that,
have nothing to do with them. You may be sure that such people are warped and
sinful; they are self-condemned.  (Titus 3:9-11)


These are convicting verses.  I know that I can be opinionated at times, and that I like to speak the ‘truth’.   I believe there is a place for healthy dialogue and discussion, but scripture clearly draws lines.   When we omit the ‘love’ portion of ‘speaking the truth in love’ we are sinning against the Lord who bought us.

I wanted to write this post as a reminder from Titus 3, to others and to myself:

“Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient,
to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and
considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.   At one time we too
were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and
pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.  
But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us...”
(Titus 3:1-5)


We have been saved from malice and envy, from being hated and from hating one another.  We have been saved in order that we may be peaceable and considerate, and always gentle toward everyone.


I think this is part of the reason why I have been slow in getting this blog going, I know I am prone to being opinionated, I can be judgemental, and at times I forget to “always be gentle toward everyone”.  Humility is definitely something God has been teaching me lately, which always makes me think twice before posting anything. 


However in writing this I was encouraged form James 3:2 We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check. 


No one is perfect.  We are all broken vessels who God can use to accomplish his purposes; however, let us not forget where we were, what we are saved to, and to stay humble at all times.  If we feel the need to ‘gently instruct’, let us ‘speak the truth in love’.


Further along in James 3 is a verse my brother pointed out several weeks ago that has been running through my mind daily:

 “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.”  (James 3:13)

Teachers, Christian bloggers – be wise; you know what to do.


Andrew Smith said...

A very humbling post for all Christian bloggers. The verses you selected should be required reading for any Christian who wants to blog or is already doing so.

nadineasmith said...

Whoops that was my comment, I didn't realize it was logged in as Andrew.