What is Speaking the Truth With Love?

We try to tell them the Gospel Truth. They tell us love. We tell them it is LOVE to speak the Truth. I don’t disagree with that. However, sometimes, we figuratively tell them it is LOVE to smack them upside the head and superimpose an obligation upon them. Truth!

It is obvious, at the outset, that non-Christians demand a Love that is more like absolute encouragement. For them, it is not enough to merely tolerate or permit their lifestyle choices, but we MUST wholeheartedly applaud them (or sometimes face retribution, like being shouted down as a hate monger).

And we know what it is like, to get shouted down for opposing abortion, or same-sex marriage. We know that it is a sensitive issue. So we have to preface everything we say that it is not about hate or discrimination. I do not doubt that there are religious bigots out there, I have never met one. I have met plenty of liberal bigots who dismiss conservatives as backward, uneducated, close-minded (and the list goes on). Most Christians I know, as a result of the trollish intimidators have made an effort to be sensitive.

On the other hand, I know many Christians think it ENOUGH to say facts about the beginning of life or the meaning of marriage. It is merely proclaiming it that is love. By proclaim it, they post it for everyone on Facebook or shout it at others in public. But what about showing those you disagree that you care about their welfare? What about demonstrating to them that you care about them? What about showing them first, from where they are, in a way that they understand, that you actually do love?

Were I to walk in a room of strangers, or perhaps former classmates, or even my fellow countrymen, blatantly oppose them and claiming to have the RIGHT ANSWER, I could reasonably be laughed at. I have not demonstrated that I have an authority to make that claim, nor have I demonstrated that I have a personal significance in each of their lives. And who are the people you get into arguments with but people you went to school with who “friend” you on Facebook or Twitter or Tumblr? Are you

not already the prophet with no credibility in his own hometown? Speaking the Truth is futile, we have not established credibility or demonstrated authority. Not only do Christians, and religious people, lack reasonable credibility today, but being friends on any given social network does not make you remotely significant to them. Social Networks do not demonstrate personal significance so as to correct others on the definition of marriage or the beginning of life. Sharing mathematic symbol pictures does not establish credibility either.

Let me try to get to my point. I have a few good friends who prefer coming to me for advice. They prefer me, not because I pat them on the back, and say some LAME PLATITUDE like “follow your heart! Gee-golly whillickers, whatever you feel is right?” No they prefer me, because I cut through the BS and keep them from over-rationalizing and deceiving themselves. After I give them advice, they go “OUCH!” and then they thank me for keeping them from getting into a mess. Personally, I am terribly clever at rationalizing awful behavior. I excel at this more than virtue. I know it well, and I recognize it when others do it.

HOWEVER, there are plenty of other times with these same people. There are times when I call them to check up on them after a heart break. There are times when I reach out to them. There are times when I can absorb their sorrow in silence, WITHOUT ANSWERS, WITHOUT COUNSEL, WITHOUT ADVICE, WITHOUT CORRECTION. There are plenty of times when we can waste an hour on the phone laughing for no reason. There are times when we could have been out all night, forgetting when, why or where. That is speaking the TRUTH WITH LOVE.

It may be a reality that some, especially hard hearted anti-Christian liberals, will bitterly refuse any offer of love or care. It may be a reality that they will continue to dismiss us as bigots unless we give into their demands. It may be that many more people will be somewhere in the middle. Somewhere in the middle where things are riskier and messier. It may be that you do not have the authority of a scientist or theologian to make claims, but you may be able to demonstrate a personal significance. The work of personal and emotional significance takes work and love. I think many people are waiting for a loving response from us, a loving response that does not necessarily require we compromise our principles.

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