As I read these words this morning, something happened that often happens when we read God's Word. I was convicted. Not shamed. But, convicted.
I thought back to a conversation I had months ago had with a friend. She was telling me a story about something that had happened. I listened. I could see both sides of the situation pretty clearly. She definitely was just as much to blame as the person she was talking about.
[ Isn't it so much easier to see others faults as opposed to our own? Eek. ]
God gave me words in that instant to share with her and to speak truth about her part in what had happened. Instead, I kept my mouth shut.
By doing this, I hid love by not speaking truth to her.
I showed compassion and even agreed with some of the things that she spoke about. [knowing full well that she was also in in the wrong]
I didn't want to speak truth to her about this because I wanted her to know I "understood", and I wanted her to know I was a "good shoulder to lean on and cry on." I wanted her to know that I "had her back", so to speak.
What I should have done was share the truth of what God was laying on my heart to share. She needed wisdom, but instead I didn't want to be the friend who always has a
"teaching moment" to share.
I was more concerned about showing compassion and pity regarding her sin in that situation, than I was to showing her love and speaking truth.
"Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but and enemy multiplies kisses." Proverbs 27:6
Truth can hurt sometimes.
The bible says in Hebrews 4:12: For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
But, sometimes pain produces the best and sweetest fruit. Childbirth, anyone?
We tend to show too much pity on our friends and family, instead of showing them the way, the truth, and life.
Compassion has to be followed by truth.
Take this scripture for example.
Jesus tells us this in John 14:6, Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
This can be a hard teaching for some of us to teach. Many want to believe that their good deeds, kind hearts, and loving ways will get them into Heaven. But, this just isn't true.
We want to water things down for others until the piercing of Truth is not felt. Which, leads to no repentance.
This is so dangerous.
How can we ever turn from sin unless we see and feel its looming destruction?
Godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation. 2 Corinthians 7:10
Are we really being a good friend if we are not speaking truth and leading them to what God says about the situation?
I think we want to be liked. We want to be called again. We want to be more "relevant" with our words. So we tend to avoid the truth altogether when responding to our friends situation, or we water it down so much that its value is diminished.
Again, so very dangerous.
Sometimes I think to myself, I am going to look crazy if I share truth with this person. I don't want to be shunned or for them to think I am being "judge-y".
However, listen to what 1 Corinthians 1:18-19 says: For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”
So, if this person that I need to speak truth to is a believer, the words of God's Truth are the Power of God. The words can, if heeded, bring healing and remedy, even if the person doesn't want to accept it at the time.
God tells us to have compassion for people, but we must not ever have compassion for sin itself. Sin leads to death, in one form or another. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23
Maybe the sin is not physical death, but it can be the death of a relationship, and the death of our spiritual growth in Christ.
The bible says in Proverbs 27:17, "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another."
Sharpening requires a little pain. A little cutting away of the fat of the flesh.
When we are iron to each other, we do just that. We sharpen each other. Even when it is painful.
Of course, this sharpening is always for the betterment of each other. It is never for us to be condemning, or throw guilt, or for us to have a prideful heart as we shed light on their sin.
Oswald Chambers says this: God never gives us discernment so that we may criticize, but that we may intercede.
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8
We are to cover each other in love. We are not to expose each others sins in the form of gossip or betrayal. I picture us literally laying over our friends and protecting them from the gossip of others. Not covering up their sin, but to love them enough to speak truth to them and guard what they shared with us.
One more thing about truth...
Real Truth only comes from God's Word.
Our opinion on a matter is not truth. Period.
Our opinion will not bring healing.
Only God's Word can save and bring healing.
We are to clothe ourselves with compassion [Col. 3:12], showing it to each other, not the sin itself.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Philippians 2:3-4
How would our relationships change if we really, truly, began to speak God's Truth in love to each other instead of being agreeable to sin?
working on this,