I signed into my WordPress account the other day and was looking through the blog feed. From time to time, interesting things pop up, new stuff can be learned, and I find new blogs I want to read. As I was scrolling, “The Courage To Be Open”, the title of this blog really caught my attention.
As Christians we are called to be salt and light, but we are also called to be kind, compassionate, gracious, and loving – in other words, to be like Jesus. Throughout the four gospels, I do not recall Jesus speaking harshly or in a condemning manner to anyone else besides the Pharisees and Sadducees, the religious “authorities” of the time.
I know that there are very strongly and passionately held beliefs regarding the subject matter this blog talks about, but I would challenge each of us as Christians to take to heart the words of the Apostle Paul:
“Let your speech at all times be gracious (pleasant and winsome), seasoned [as it were] with salt, [so that you may never be at a loss] to know how you ought to answer anyone [who puts a question to you].”
Colossians 4:6 (Amplified Bible).
Despite our personal feelings and opinions, we should always speak with grace first.
“And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25 Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth,],” II Timothy 2:24-25 (NIV)
What do we accomplish by speaking out so quickly in judgment? What right do we have to inflict so much damage with our words?
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” Proverbs 18:21 (Amplified Bible)
Our words, when they are not spoken with grace but rather with judgment and condemnation, bring about a death in the heart of the hearer. How many of these “deaths” does it take before the spirit of the hearer is irreparably damaged?
People of God, let us show the love of Jesus to all that we meet. After all, according to the Scriptures,
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23, NIV).
There is no disclaimer included…ALL have sinned and ALL fall short. While this does not nullify our right to have a strong or differing opinion, it also does not give us the right to judge the heart of the person or to tear them down with our words.
29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen… 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
(Ephesians 4:29, 32)
If you come across a fellow believer who is hurting or a person whose orientation or lifestyle you do not approve of, take the time to care for that heart. Regardless of who we are, where we come from, or what we have done, we all want the same thing – to be accepted for who we and to be loved. Perhaps, through your love, their heart will be opened and, if there is work to be done or things in their life to be corrected, the Holy Spirit will then have a willing vessel through which to work – you.
Dare to be open. Dare to be the one who makes a difference, even if it is in just one life. After all, for that one person, the results of your kindness can change their whole world.
In case you would like to read more, the following verses would be good to look into as well.