Speaking the Truth in Love

HOW we say something can be as important as WHAT we say. It is not enough that what we say is true. We can say it in a way that is brash or in a way that is kind. Sharing the truth in love does not mean that we share the truth because we love, but that we share truth in the way that love shares truth. Love always hopes. When we share what is true we are not rattling off the negative facts like a pessimist. We share the truth with hope.

When we speak of a problem it is not the end of the world (or the nation), it is an opportunity for a solution. Before you call me an optimist, neither optimism nor pessimism is Christian. To hope is Christian. Without biblical hope, all we are left with is the world’s philosophies of optimism or pessimism based on our personal preference. Truth carries a substance that is otherworldly. It is the reality of heaven infused in our very words. It is the power to release hope where there was fear. It is the power to give life where there was death. It is the power to give freedom where there was bondage.

Love does not dishonor others. Just because something is true does not mean we can speak it in a manner that brings dishonor. Love always protects. It does not just protect family and friends, but the stranger we have never met that we are talking about on social media. It does not just protect the one whose name we know, but the whole group we may be discussing. It protects celebrities and governing leaders too. I Corinthians 13 is not only how we are to treat those in our inner circle it is how we conduct ourselves in the way of love. A mature believer is one who speaks truth in love (Eph 4). Love is the way truth is shared not merely the reason truth is communicated.

Love is not easily angered nor easily offended. It speaks in such a way as to set people free, not to keep them bound by their wayward ways. It does not point fingers, it shields the one under attack. Not because the one has merited the love, but because Jesus did the same while we were yet sinners. “Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” Truth is not communicated in offense. Offense is communicated, and the truth becomes secondary.

Politics is not an excuse for negativity, dishonor, anger, offense, or ridicule. While truth can be partisan, love is not. This means that we still have the responsibility to communicate truth in love no matter what the position of the other may be. They are not idiots. They are not imbeciles. It is possible “they” are the ones who see something we need to see. It is possible “they” have never seen what we see and therefore cannot know what we know and think like we think. Most likely “they” are not doing anything to us on purpose. It is important not to assign motives to people. It only serves to maintain the culture of “us” versus “them” when we do that.

Governing how we communicate truth will require that we slow down and listen to ourselves and how we may sound to others. It also necessitates that we listen to how others hear what we are saying. I have found that communicating my ideas to people who do not believe them help me to learn how I sound to them. It matters. If I fail to understand how I sound to others, I cannot do better at letting truth be heard in a way that honors the one listening.

To be continued . . .

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It’s Not Just About Me & Jesus

The problem with the me and Jesus Gospel is that it is all about me – it is about Jesus – but my Jesus. It’s about my personal experience with Jesus. It is about my going to heaven when I die. It’s about you – only in that it is about your personal relationship with Jesus and you going to heaven when you die. It’s about me living in a way that honor’s Jesus, but it isn’t about me living in a way that loves my neighbor for my neighbor’s sake.

We say it’s all about Jesus. And while that is true — it’s not true usually in the way we mean it. There is an entire narrative of Scripture that is leading up to a whole new world. A new Kingdom full of new creations in Christ.  Continue reading “It’s Not Just About Me & Jesus”

Thinking about Donald Trump

downloadDonald Trump invokes a plethora of different responses from the public. I believe one could write a good article on why Donald Trump should not be elected President. I also believe one could write a good article on why he should be elected President. This article is neither. I am writing this article because of the lack of thought behind almost every post I read where Trump is concerned. (There are a few great voices making some great points for or against Trump). Continue reading “Thinking about Donald Trump”

Being Christians Who Honor

One summer evening Joseph and I were walking at the beach where we approached a growing crowd surrounding a few street preachers. The street preachers carried signs proclaiming God’s judgment. Anxiety filled the air. The message preached stirred the crowd against the preacher and an angry bystander nearly came to blows with him. Beach Police broke up the fight before it became dangerous. Then the police wearily watched the proceedings from a distance.

I became aggrieved for the police who had to keep the peace in response to a Christian activity. I wanted to write to the department and thank them for their service and apologize on behalf of Christians for the lack of decorum and love exhibited by these preachers.

Hollywood

I feel nearly the same for the actors and directors who receive the brunt of Christian aggression for the movies they produce when we find them to be offensive. I wonder what impression Russell Crowe or Christian Bale gain of Jesus Noah-- Russell Crowe by the words we use to expose their respective attempts to play Noah or Moses. We fault them for thinking, believing, and behaving like people who do not know Jesus. I cringe when I think of the impression we are giving them of the Church that is magnified by all the Christian Magazines and news sources attacking them and their work.

Certainly we can be a voice of truth. We can offer critique and commentary on what is good and true and what fails to achieve these goals. When we do this, we do it with words seasoned with salt and full of grace and truth. We do it with the understanding that we are not at war with those who do not know the Lord. We are not those who demand our own way. Even Jesus stands at the door and knocks rather than busting the door down and announcing Himself.

The Executive Office 

Even more important to our treatment of bystanders or Hollywood is our treatment of our President. We have become as outrageous as Fox News pundits in how Continue reading “Being Christians Who Honor”

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