Over the past few weeks I have been flooded with comments and emails about my recent articles regarding homosexuality and the Supreme Court decision.
While I know that this is a trending topic right now, the response I have received has been overwhelming; and for the most part it has been positive.
One question many people have asked me is how can we speak the truth in love in a way that is not offensive.
I think above all the statements that speaking truth at all is offensive and that hating people’s sin is negative have deeply disturbed me because it shows an area of our heart that has caved to tolerance and allowed a segment of society to silence us entirely.
That is dangerous!
I argue that it is neither offensive nor judgmental to speak truth to those around us. Furthermore, it is neither critical nor negative to hate people’s sin.
The Bible commands us to hate sin.
God hates sin.
The danger with love and grace that are not balanced by righteousness and holiness is that we begin to tolerate sin. Our perception of sin changes, and we no longer see it as a danger to our relationship with Christ and our eternal destination in heaven.
Furthermore, this call for imbalanced love and grace usually ends with a distorted picture of hell. Either we tend to brush inside the existence of hell at all, or we are not wholly convinced that all sinners will find themselves in it in the end.
I begin with this warning because we simply cannot speak truth in the purest context of Scripture if we are not:
a) Wholly convinced that all sinners are eternally damned to hell and
b) That sin is a serious offense in the eyes of a holy God who simply will not tolerate sin in heaven.
I can say firsthand that I know that it is, indeed, possible to speak the truth in love to those around us in a way that is able to be received and appreciated – and even applied. But it is all about the approach.
I recall a colleague of mine who found herself in a very difficult situation in which she discovered that she was expecting. The father didn’t want her to have the baby and she now faced a difficult choice: to keep the baby and lose her boyfriend or do what she already knew deep inside was wrong.
It was never a secret in any place of employment that I held that I was a Christian. Knowing my deeply held beliefs, she came to me for advice and I lovingly but openly shared about how I felt and why. Sadly, she chose to abort.
Later that year, I invited her to a production that a church in our city was showing called, “Heaven’s Gates, Hells Flames”. Divinely, one of the scenarios they showed dealt with abortion. She called me early the next morning in tears asking me what I thought, and I had the opportunity to share the gospel with her.
I don’t know what the end of that story is. Shortly thereafter I left to attend Bible School, but on my last day of employment she thanked me sincerely for being a gracious and true Christian.
There are three things we must bear in mind when we speak the truth and confront sinners about their sin
1. Our words must be completely saturated in Agape love. If our approach is motivated by any other motive, it will be difficult, if not impossible, for the listener to hear what you say.
Dear friends, the recent events, while they may anger us, must ultimately break our hearts. Is God angry? Yes, sin – whether committed by sinners or saints – always angers Him. But it is a perfect anger.
If anger is our motivation to speak we have begun to sin in our anger. Perfect anger should lead to brokenness of heart because of what it does to people, even the people who commit the sin; because of where it leads people, because of how it enslaves people. When we begin to look at sin within that context, we should be driven to our knees in tears, anguish and intercession for their deliverance.
And when our heart breaks in love for them and a passion to see them set free and walk in wholeness and liberty, then we can speak truth in love because our words now flow from a fountain of love.
2. We should earn the right to speak first. I think that there is a misconception on both sides of this argument that we should confront anyone we encounter who is living in sin. This is neither right nor is it productive. I think if we sit and think about it for a moment, we realize how ludicrous this idea really is. Naturally, to speak the truth in love in an effective way, we need to earn the right to speak.
3. Bring it back to the Bible. We can argue politics, science, medicine, culture, or any other side topic, but at the end of the day these all must bow the knee to God’s Word. God’s Word does not and will not submit to the institutions of man.
While some may argue that unbelievers wont listen to God’s Word, so we should back up our argument with additional facts, I insist that if God’s Word cannot stand alone, it simply isn’t powerful enough. And if God isn’t a big enough God to provide us with a Word powerful enough to confront sin on Its own, then He must not be a very big God.
But since we know that He is, in fact, Almighty, and since we have evidence in Scripture and history to prove the powerful nature of the Word of God alone to stand against the most vilest of sins, then we can and should conclude that when confronting someone about their sin, we can and should always bring every argument back to Scripture.
I know it can be intimidating to speak out, especially in today’s society where Evangelical Christians are among the least tolerated in the world.
Even in our own ranks we’re not very tolerated. The stakes are high, when you choose to stand on God’s Word, as it is written in black and white.
But let us remember that it is better to be loved by God and hated by man! There is a reward for those who choose to stand on the Word in the face of persecution.
And mark my words, what we see now is only a small taste of what is to come.
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