Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Speak the Truth

Churches have become soft. They are too worried about hurting feelings and driving people away from church. The focus is on love and grace, and too often sin gets overlooked.

Now don't get me wrong, we are supposed to show love and grace. But we need to speak the truth as well.

The church takes a stand on the controversial sins like homosexuality and abortion. But then they gloss over sins like divorce, remarriage, sex before marriage, and gluttony, which have all become not only socially acceptable but normal.

The finger is pointed at those outside the church, but the sins inside are being overlooked. Instead, they are shown grace. They are forgiven, so it's alright to sin.

No wonder we are called hypocrites.

That's not what the Bible teaches though. In many of his letters, Paul rebukes the churches that he writes to. He points out their shortcomings and sins. He wants them to know what they are doing wrong so they can correct it. He even tells the Corinthians "Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it—I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while— yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance" (2 Cor. 7:8-9).

The Bible doesn't sugarcoat sin, and neither should we. I struggle many times with speaking the truth to someone who is going down a path to sin. I want to tell them the truth, but am afraid that I will discourage them, or cause them to turn away from God completely because they don't like what they hear. But worrying how someone will receive the truth isn't my job. I just need to speak it.

The truth does need to be spoken in love, not judgement, but we can't just sit back and say nothing. Or worse, we can't help them justify the wrongdoing.

I'm not saying we need to just start pointing fingers and judging everyone. First, we need to take a close look at ourselves, but we do need to stop turning a blind eye. We need to be speaking the truth in LOVE.

I know that I am not perfect. There have been many times in my life where someone has had to call me out on something I was doing. While I may not have liked it at the time, I'm grateful for it now because it caused me to take another look at what I was doing, and make changes. Again, speaking the truth is not passing judgement on someone. It should be bringing attention to a sin, so that it can be corrected.

The trick is finding the balance between truth and love. The problem is that the body of believers has become so afraid of being judgmental, that they error on the side of love. They think they can just love through the sin, but if no one ever brings light to the sin, they can be loved right to hell.

On the other side, you can't become so consumed with speaking the truth that all you do is judge. The sin needs to be brought to light, but not beat to death. And when you rebuke someone, it's important to encourage the good they are doing also.

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