Loving my neighbor is not the thing at which I excel. Case in point: I’ve found myself responding in kind to some recent online bickering over the true meaning of Christmas. Silly, isn’t it?
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: We who are Christians are being idiotic when we expect non-Christians to think and act like Christians. Selah.
Jesus put another way, “Leave them; they are blind guides. If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” Matthew 15:14.
Now don’t get me wrong. Sometimes the most loving thing we can do for our neighbor is to speak the truth in love. But read carefully here: the key element of that conversation is love. Are you speaking to stir up a response of faith or are you just trying to stir up trouble? I’d like to say that my responses were strictly meant to be helpful, but the truth is that I really wanted to slap them upside the head for being purposefully dense about Christ. It irritated me and I responded in kind. At the heart of my response was not love for Christ, but love for me.
I’m not sorry I spoke the truth – I’m glad I did – but I wish my heart had been right because then I might have used words that drew them toward Christ instead of pushing them further away. Remember, it is Christ’s love, forgiveness, and acceptance that draws us to Him, not condemnation.
God is just as concerned with our hearts as our doings. Let me ask you this: What is in your heart when you are speaking the truth to a non-Christian? Is it love or is it condemnation? Is what you say designed to draw them to Christ or is it merely a posture of defense against those who do not believe?
I’m going to continue to speak the truth, but by love, because I want to be a fragrant flower that draws people to our glorious Savior. How about you?
Lord Jesus, help us to speak words that bring people closer to You. Check our motives, Lord, and teach us to differentiate between our own selfish desires and love of Christ. Let us truly be about your business. Give us courage to speak the truth in love to those who do not yet know you, that they might be led out of the darkness and into your marvelous light. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.