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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Speaking the Truth In Love

Today's blog is admittedly a shameless reprint from author Jon Walker (who writes for Purpose Driven). It's just so profound and so on-target that I thought it was really worth plagiarizing! What I really see when I read this is a practical encouragement for doing what the Bible tells us anyway.

Warning Each Other by Jon Walker

“Exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” (Hebrews 3:13 ESV)

We need people in our lives who will love us enough to warn us when necessary. Just as “iron sharpens iron” (Proverbs 27:17 NIV), we’re to push each other toward Christ-like behavior and protect one another from failing in our faith.

God calls us to “tell each other the truth, because we all belong to each other in the same body” (Ephesians 4:25 NCV). The basis for warning each other in loving truth is that “we all belong to each other.”

Our warnings are not to be mere rebukes; they should be positive and redemptive – calling us to a higher place and reminding each other of our godly purpose. They are exhortations for restoration, and are given as loving corrections with a humble heart and compassionate words.

The apostle Paul said, “So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.” (Acts 20:31 NIV). Can you hear the passion and compassion in his voice? When our warnings are motivated by love and based on committed relationships, they rarely come across as harsh or mean.

In fact, when we warn others, we tell them how much we love them.

And as part of a Christian community, we also should be ready and willing to receive warnings from others. The fact is, we all have blind spots. Just like a driver sometimes needs help to see what’s in a car’s blind spot, we need friends to help us see things in us or near us that we don’t see ourselves. And in the same way we would warn a driver, the point is not to tear down the other person, but to keep him safely on the road.

Paul also says the warning should be immediate – “as long as it is called ‘today.’” We should seize the moment because waiting to warn only leads to disaster.

So what?

· Take a loving risk – You show your love for others by lovingly letting them know of blind spots. It takes a risk to show love in this way, but what will it cost if you don’t warn your friend? Who in your life needs to hear a word of warning?

· Loving restoration – When you point out a blind spot, it should not be done in anger. Your motive should be to restore your friend to a strong Christian walk and witness. Ask, “How can I make this warning tender?”

· Listen, don’t defend – Are you willing and prepared to receive a similar warning? When someone points out a blind spot in your life, listen – and don’t defend yourself. Take it to God and ask if it is true. If it is, ask him what you should do about it.

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