Helping Words Aren’t Always Kind

**Here’s an piece from Joseph Lam, making his first (and hopefully not last) appearance. Praise God for your input, Joe! Happy reading!**

Asked at a conference last spring what he thought about gay marriage, Brian McLaren replied, ‘You know what, the thing that breaks my heart is that there’s no way I can answer it without hurting someone on either side.'”

Unfortunately, this is a quote from one of the most famous pastors in America today, who Time magazine lists as one of the Top 25 Evangelicals in Ameica.. It should never be that one of the most well-known pastors should cater to social norms and political correctness. Even though homosexuality is a sin that the Bible condemns, Pastor McLaren continues to beat around the bush in an attempt not to offend anyone. All of this stems from one thing: the desire to please men over God. More and more, pastors and teachers are following suit, and being led away from teaching sound biblical doctrine and are instead being seduced by the world’s calling. Some leaders in the church are simply more concerned with what other people think than with what God thinks.

Political correctness. It is not only a notion that has affected the media and schools, but it has also crept into the Christian church. We can see it in our sermons, our conversations, and our interactions with one another. Instead of proclaiming Christ crucified, we have become almost embarrassed to state that Jesus is the only way to salvation. In our Bible studies, we will simply read books instead of delving into the Word of God. We are careful to not offend anyone, even at the expense of biblical truth. Church sermons have become empty of Christ and have turned into self-centered moralistic boosters, inspiring the congregation members to feel better about themselves.

Now, my aim is not to bash on Brian McLaren’s catering to society’s standard, but to really take a look at ourselves because we are guilty of the same sin. I confess that there have been times when I am afraid to correct others because I would rather avoid having to go through a little awkwardness or conflict. I would rather shrug and tell myself, “Why shake the boat? We agree on most stuff.”, “I’ll talk about it some time later.” or “Someone else will do it.” Why can’t I just always stay devoted to God only, and why can’t I just keep my standards to what the Bible teaches? It is so simple, but it’s not easy at all. The world can often dispense harsh criticism to Christians who hold to a biblical worldview. Our friends might think we’re weird, stupid, or close-minded. We hear our professors and teachers tell us that Christians are wrong and that the Bible is a book of lies, and we can even start to believe it. As Christians, we cannot fall into the trap of passivity and non-confrontation, either. Our encouragement and spurring on should be rooted in biblical truth and love. This does not mean that our words will always be kind, soft, and feel-good. As 1 John 3:18 states, “…let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” Kind words, if laced with niceties and intentions of non-confrontation, do not promote or nurture spiritual growth, but simply cover up problems and set up false hope. If we truly love each other in truth, we need to always stay true to the Bible and what it teaches. Of course, our words should not be purposely blunt or harsh, but they should also not conceal or compromise any biblical truth. Colossians 3:16 says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom…” By God’s grace, we can heed to the words of Paul.

I personally know that if it wasn’t for some harsh words and firm rebuking, I would not have grown nearly as much in college. If my discipler did not love me enough to rebuke me and correct me when I was doing something wrong, then I would probably be continuing in the same bad habits. If my close friends were willing to let me backslide instead of keeping me accountable, then I might not even be attending church anymore. Were their words always kind, comforting, and soothing? No. But they were definitely helpful, and I can be grateful for them when looking back.

Sites: *http://www.time.com/time/covers/1101050207/photoessay/17.html http://www.carm.org/religious-movements/emerging-church/brian-mclaren-quotes-bible-homosexuality

j.lam

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