We just found out that my sister-in-law has terminal lymphoma. She called one of her good friends to tell her the devastating news, and this woman’s response was, “Well, it’s not a matter of if we die, but when.”
Wait… what? Who says something like that to someone who just got a cancer diagnosis…to someone who will be leaving behind a husband and three children so early in life?
Unfortunately, Christians do. We say horrible stuff to each other all the time. We hide behind the excuse that our statements are true. I should say True with a capital T, because if it’s scriptural, then we feel especially self-righteous. But there’s a catch… we’re told in Scripture over and over to love each other—that it’s the highest commandment, in fact. And speaking so insensitively is not an expression of Christian love.
Even if we’re holding someone accountable for sin, which is also a command, it should be done with compassion. Empathy. Humility. And humility means that we not only keep in mind our own sinful state, but it means our confrontation is motivated by a concern for that person’s soul, not a secret pleasure in pointing out someone else’s shortcomings.
Moreover, we should be careful that we’re not mistaken about what’s Truth in a situation because we tend to be pretty judgmental creatures (of others, that is). I’m reminded of the time my ex-husband and I sat with our church elders, and my ex stated openly that I deserved his verbal and physical abuse since I wasn’t submissive enough. Knowing absolutely no details of our marriage, one of the elders readily agreed that it must be my fault and told me that his wife struggled with submission too when she was my age. I never felt so alone or far from the love of God as I did in that moment. I moved on, thankfully, though I still feel sorry for his poor wife.
But I digress. The point is that the Christian life is not a multiple choice test. We don’t get to choose between
A) Truth or
It’s a fill-in-the-blank, and it goes like this:
A true disciple of Christ Jesus will live a life based in and continually expressing Truth and Love.
I know the intentions aren’t always to wound others. Sometimes it’s just a careless tongue. So please… can we all just stop and think before we speak?
“It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us. And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.” ~ 2 John 1