Telling the truth has always come naturally to me. Anybody who knows me knows that I have always been direct, straightforward, and bold. I was that “rude child” who you really had to watch because in my innocent bluntness, I might accidentally tell a grown up with bad breath that they needed to pop a mint.
Showing love, however, is not so natural. I grew up with a loving family. But my parents version of showing love included making sure we had food on the table, and patiently sitting through Pop Warner football games and boring band concerts. We didn’t get the sugar coated “birds and bees” speech. We got the truth. We didn’t get Santa Claus and tooth fairies. We got gifts marked “From Mom & Dad” because my parents surely wouldn’t stand for some fictitious fat man taking credit for their sacrifices. We were taught to call a spade a spade and keep it moving. Grandma always said, “If you ain’t got nothing nice to say……. say it anyway ’cause these people need to know the truth”.
I am a deadly combination: naturally wired to share truth, but lacking the natural ability to show love. And I realize, people like me are the reason the world hates Christians. We are quick to share the truth, but slow to share God’s love. In order to be an accurate respresentation of Christ, we must provide a healthy balance of both.
I remember how much I hated being around Christians before I got saved. It was partially because I probably had some demons twerking all up in my spirit, but mostly because so many Christians felt the need to share their God, without first recognizing that I was hurting. I didn’t need a lecture, I didn’t need a scripture- I needed a hug! The laaaast thing you want to hear when you have hit an all-time low, whether it is struggling with homosexuality, battling a pornography addiction, having an abortion, or getting fired on your day off for stealing boxes is, “you are going to hell, and God is very disappointed in you, so you need to go change.” Lady, tell me somethin’ I don’t know. Even if there is truth to what you are saying, how is this helping me right now? Instead of condemning me, pray for me.
As a Christian, I get it. The righteous are as BOLD as a lion! But the reality is 99.97% (including myself), HARDLY qualify to be called righteous. As we are sharing the Gospel, we must remember the days when we were “ex-somethings” so that we are compassionate to others who are struggling to overcome their sins. Now don’t get it twisted, I do encourage you to continue to share the truth. People are dying and going to hell because Pastors are giving them ear tickling sermons that make them shout- but don’t convict them to change. We need the truth, but we more importantly need someone to tell us that God still loves us flaws and all, and there is hope for our situation. Non-believers need to be told that through Christ, they can overcome their battles. They need to hear that WE are human and WE have made a whole lot of mistakes too. My entire testimony in 23 words is “though I am completely unworthy, God still managed to take the ugliest, most embarrassing, most disgusting things about me and make them beautiful.” In my experience, transparency is more effective than truth.
I never want to be the type of Christian that makes people feel the way that I felt about Christians before giving my life to Christ. Many of them carried a judgmental and dismissive attitude that turned me away from anything that had to do with the church for years. BUT, let me be clear…… if you are already representing yourself as a Christian, I will always hold you to a higher standard. I firmly advocate righteous judgement from fellow believers, and I personally welcome a good rebuking when I’m wrong. We are the body of Christ, and if my “ankle” is acting a fool, it’s causing pain and imbalance to the rest of the body.
As always, I pray this meets you WHERE YOU ARE, and I also pray that the Holy Spirit will give all of us a heart to love on people WHERE THEY ARE. The purpose of the Gospel is to share God’s amazing, incomparable, everlasting LOVE. I am grateful that God is showing me how to be softer and less judgemental.
Ephesians 4:15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.
One time for the nation,
Dedicated to Kalaiah V. of Dallas, TX