02 August 2015

Becoming a Both/And Christian

Over the years, one of the topics that I have given the most thought to has been the balance of truth and love. In my experience, most Christians don't do it well. On the one hand, there are those who are crusaders for truth. They know their Bibles well--at least parts of it.  They are prophetic voices, speaking with conviction and clarity about issues facing the church and the world--abortion, sanctity of marriage, and religious freedom, to name a few. The church, the world, needs these prophets.

But too often, they fail to recognize that the Bible tells us that we should let everything we do be done in love (1 Corinthians 16:14). They use their words as weapons. Their primary goal is to win the argument, not love the person. And in so doing, they become clanging cymbals.

On the other hand, there are those who fail to take a stand for seemingly hard biblical truths. They know their Bibles well--at least parts of it. They assume that to be loving, they should not speak difficult truths to people and so they say nothing. Their desire is to bring comfort and hope to a hurting world. They promote a feet on the ground ministry of mercy, binding up wounds and feeding the hungry. 

But too often, in their desire to be loving, they promote a soft, convictionless tolerance. They are content when the church conforms to culture, so long as they don't take hard stands.

But, the church needs more both/and Christians. We need the truth crusaders to continue to speak prophetically, but who recognize that words can harm. They need to act with gentleness and respect. They need to understand that a failure to control the tongue can ultimately harm the cause of Christ.

We need the other group to understand that failure to speak is ultimately a failure to love. They need to know that truth matters in real, tangible ways in the lives of every person they seek to love. They need to learn that a failure to use the tongue can ultimately harm the cause of Christ.

We need both/and Christians. Truth and love. Prophets and priests. We need Christians to do what is right (stand for truth), to do so with mercy, all with a spirit of godly humility.

No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good,
    and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy,
    and to walk humbly with your God.

-Micah 6:8 (NLT)


Steve & Laura said...

I agree with what you say here, Jason. It is difficult for some people to speak up and say what they believe, especially when they don't consider themselves a Bible scholar. There are many good people who live good lives, and are great friends and neighbors to their non-Christian acquaintances, but there comes a time when you have to be ready and willing to speak up and articulate what you believe and why you believe it. It is difficult to not come off as judging, and if God has not softened the listeners heart to what you are saying they may be defensive no matter how you say it. After 63 years on this earth I can see eternity coming at me at a very fast pace, and all of those unsaved friends, family, and neighbors are going to face that very soon themselves. We need to "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." 1Peter 3:15
Therefore study your Bible's daily, get in Bible studies with good Christian friends, and listen to good Bible teachers on Christian radio. Be prepared so we don't have any excuses when the opportunities come.

Flyaway said...

I have a zeal for the truth so I was thankful that God put me in a Moms in Touch group (now Moms in Prayer) with a friend who has a big heart for the Lord. She helped me to love more and I hope I helped her to discern truth more.