What I Learned When I Taught the Truth in Love

Most people would likely consider themselves as “good”. Many of those claim to believe in God and the Bible. Some of them even claim to be Christians. While “62% of people (in the U.S.) say that they are deeply spiritual” “only 14% make their decisions based on what God’s Word says.” However, how many in that last category respond positively when their wrongdoing is brought to light or confronted by another Christian? On the other side, how many of us only use the Word when confronting someone in their sin? Recently, I attempted talking to an individual about a sin – one he was being very public about – using only the Word. Using only the Word in this instance had so many challenges, the first of which being how his sin is terribly affecting a dear friend. I prayed over the situation for two days. Each passing hour until I confronted the issue made me feel sicker. In the end, I spoke the truth in love, only to be added to the person’s “block list” on Facebook. His response resembled that of a non-believer: “You have no idea what is going on in my life. You really don’t even know me. I do not need any lectures.” In other words, “I’m going to continue doing what I want because it feels right to me.”

If I’m honest, I, too, have responded to criticisms in this way, at least as a knee jerk reaction. I also have to honestly say I haven’t always allowed the Bible as my only measure in forming opinions or judging others. I believe I’ve grown in these areas, but will always have further to go. In the past, I probably would have continued to be angry and argued back. Today, I continue to pray for this person. I hurt for my friend, but this battle isn’t mine.

No matter which end of spiritual discipline you may face, consider the other person’s motives, speak only from/listen only to the Word, and move forward in the Word. As a confronter, you may lose a few friends along the way. As the confronted, you will have to make changes in your life. How different would the world be if the stats above were 100% of believers use the Bible to make their choices?!

Following the unfriending and blocking, the person I confronted with Scriptural truth decided he needed to defend himself to me. The summary of his statements could be summed up as “I am entitled to happiness. I deserve to get what I want. It’s my choice what I do with my life.” He responded to scriptural truths with “I feel” or “I think” or other such statements. He even went as far as finding “spiritual leaders” who support his bad behavior. (Basically, false teachers, who misuse scripture to build a “church” and their own personal wealth). This set my thoughts down a path that grieves me. We live in world filled with messages of entitlement beginning at a very young age: everyone gets a trophy, punishment is rare, challenging tasks are brushed off if a child “can’t handle” or simply “doesn’t want to do” the task. Sadly, even believers fall for these lies and begin living as spoiled children, caring only about their own wants. 

I recently read an article about the toxicity of the “all about me” mentality. In one snippet from the article, Dr. Jean Twenge states, that people in this generation (today’s teens and twenties) “feel entitled, don’t think about consequences and think that everything will turn out great.” Two things about this person’s reactions surprised me. First, he claims to be a believer, yet neither follows the Word, nor respects when others provide redirection from the Word. Second, he is responding in this childish way, not fitting to the “generation” to which he belongs.

Believers have the responsibility to hold one another accountable using only the standard of God (See Galatians 6:1-2Colossians 3:16James 5:19-20). One can correctly state that we choose what to do with in this life. God gave us free will. God also gave us rules and guidelines that would make our lives better (maybe not always easier, certainly not the most popular). God’s rules come with promises, both of great reward and calamity (read through the Old Testament to see this played out). God is faithful in all things, true to His Word, and we each receive the consequences of our choices, both good and bad, either in this life or at the end of time.

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