Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Speaking the Truth in Love

One of today's Scripture readings is from Acts 20. This section especially caught my attention:

"And from Miletus he (Paul) sent to Ephesus and called to him the elders of the church. And when they came to him, he said to them: 'You yourselves know how I lived among you all the time from the first day that I set foot in Asia, serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials which befell me through the plots of the Jews; how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house...' " (vs. 17-20, RSV)

The highlighted portion really struck me. Paul didn't hold back anything from them that was "profitable". In other words, anything that would help them draw closer to Christ and live more like Him. Even if they sometimes had to be hard words. If you've ever read any of Paul's epistles, you know he sometimes had to use "tough love." He basically showed his love by pointing out ways the people were not living as they should. Abuses of different kinds, or public sins they were allowing to go unchecked. He didn't say these things to be mean, or to show how spiritual he was in comparison. He did it out of love, so that they would grow in their faith. There was never any malice.

I read a devotional today that challenged me in this area. The author said, "Are there people in your life who could use a dose of the truth delivered in love? Are you open to having others pose a gentle and loving challenge to you sometimes?" (David Nantais, Living Faith)

Wow. I am a very non-confrontational person. I sometimes avoid it all costs. But do I avoid it at the cost of some one's place in eternity???

Like most people, I don't enjoy having people point out areas where I need improvement. But do I close out words that could help me grow more to be like Christ?

Food for thought...
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