Speaking the truth in love

There has been an awful lot of talk lately about a certain book released by a certain individual. Much of the talk has been very constructive and seems to be the result of good, critical thinking. What troubles me about the whole conversation is what I have observed and, most recently, personally experienced. Please allow me to clarify.

It seems that, regardless of the issue, it has become unacceptable to disagree with anyone on any level without being labelled as a “hater” or someone who is “intolerant” or, worse yet, someone who is “bashing” someone else because of their belief. On one hand I am completely sympathetic to those who have been the victim of behavior that could plausibly be characterized is such a way. It is inexcusable, particularly in the Christian context, to demean and deride someone on a personal level simply because they have a view of a particular subject that differs from your own. However, the other side of the argument is the particular point that I am addressing here.

Disagreement does not equate to condescension by default. It is simply illogical to presume that someone with a differing viewpoint automatically harbors ill will toward the person on the other side of the issue. It can also be quite harmful.

I have experienced just such a situation recently with regard to Rob Bell’s new book, Love Wins.  After expressing various forms of disagreement with the author’s theology (as expressed in his own words) I was informed by someone who I believe to be my friend that they had lost respect for me because of my “bashing” of Rob Bell.  You might imagine that this came as quite a surprise, but it served a very healthy purpose.  I responded to this person by thanking them for their honesty and inviting them to have a personal conversation regarding their feelings.  In the meantime, I took the opportunity to review everything that I had said in all forms of social media over the preceding three weeks.  If you haven’t done this, I would highly recommend it.  It is a fabulous way to be more objective about your own words.

After reviewing my words, I was relieved and perplexed all at the same time.  I was relieved because I confirmed my suspicion that I had not said one solitary thing of a derogatory nature aimed at any individual.  I had simply taken issue with a particular author who, by his own testimony, had revealed his diversion from biblical truth.  However, I was perplexed because now I had no answer as to why my “friend” felt the need to send me the message that they sent.

After pondering this situation for several days, I have come to the conclusion that some people must assume, by default, that any disagreement on content must necessarily indicate an assault on character.  This is truly unfortunate and saddening.  It is unfortunate because it is simply untrue.  These two things can, and often are, mutually exclusive.  It is not always easy, but it is always possible to disagree without being disagreeable.  It is saddening because this is the way, apparently, that many people are beginning to think.  If you disagree with me then you must necessarily not like me.  If you disagree with me then you must necessarily think I am a horrible person.  It would be profoundly saddening if this were indeed the reality in which we currently live.

Two important passages of Scripture come to mind for application in the life of the church.

“As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.” -Ephesians 4:14-16

“Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints. For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” -Jude 3-4

Brothers and sisters, a Christian never has the luxury of being unkind.  However, a Christian also cannot afford the luxury of remaining silent.  We must strive together for the faith of the gospel (Philippians 1:27).  This means that from time to time we will be in the position to stand up and fight for the truth of God’s Word.  I pray that when those times invariably come, God’s people will have a greater fear of God than they do of man.

Soli Deo Gloria.

Mike.  Out.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Speaking the truth in love

  1. pastor stephen and flora

    Shalom,
    Pastor, Greetings to you in the majestic name of our Lord Jesus Christ . I pray that this humble,friendly message finds you walking in the favor of God.
    God,s minister, God has invested enough message of salvation in you to get out of your country to go all over the world to preach the gospel and win more souls to Christ.
    God has called you out of many, chosen you ,anointed you and approved you for his great Job.
    Pastor, God has a purpose with you life.He has created you to accomplish the great things for him.
    Pastor, this specific task which God has for you and no body else! whether is to plant new churches, to start a bible school or a soup kitchen of the poor,is God,s vision for you.
    Pastor,God Has called you and He placed you in a specific congregation or ministry,because He has a specific task that you support to fulfill here.
    Pastor, God has a task and a purpose for you.He will be with you and He will accomplish the task through His power.He will equip you and give you the power to do it.
    Pastor, He is faithful.if He calls you to a task that is greater than your own abilities,He will also give you the people to support the good work you are doing for Him.
    Pastor God has a plan with your life.yes! even before you were born,He planned you in the finest detail, humble yourself before the Lord He will lift you up[James 4;-10]
    Pastor, you are God,s special workmanship.psalm 139,says that God knew you before you were formed in your mother,s womb!
    pastor, your greatest blessings began when God said,He created you in his image in Genesis 1;26, everything you put your hands to, is going to prosper.
    Pastor, you are so precious to the Lord,silver and gold wasn,t enough.God wanted to purchase you with something more valuable than any precious mental or mineral.so He used the blood of Jesus Christ.
    Surely, in everything we do,we believe in positive changing and affecting the lives of people who we are constantly working towards inspiring change.
    Pastor, working together is to fruitful growth and maturity in the Lord among us.
    My good friend, we are thanking God that we are connected to an anointing servant ,ministry ,who are committed in spreading the GOOD NEWS of spreading a salvation message and win more souls and many to LOVE Jesus Christ .
    We are requesting you to pray for us, send us teachings and we invite you to visit us here in AFRICA for Revival and Reformation conference-2016
    May the Lord be with you when you consider our request.
    Thanks,
    Pastor Stephen and flora

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