What started out as pleasant conversation ended in hurt feelings, tears, misunderstanding, and a chill between myself and someone I dearly love. Oh, how I wished I could take back my words!
I apologized, but the damage was already done. A heated theological discussion got out of hand and it was my fault. It wasn’t as much what I said, but how I presented it.
My harsh comments about a popular preacher with whom I disagree did more harm than good. My friend was hurt by what I said about someone she liked and learned from. I realized I had approached it all wrong. And now I couldn’t get out of my mess.
The next day, quite by “accident”, I stumbled across something written by Hannah Anderson. Her words stung. I want to share them with you.
Discerning people use their insight to serve those around them . . . They use knowledge to build up and unify – not tear down or create division . . . Sometimes this means having the patience to wait while others think through what you already know . . . Sometimes it means foregoing your preferences for the good of others. Sometimes it might even mean being misunderstood precisely because others can’t yet see what you do . . . They resist the temptation to flaunt knowledge or prove themselves right.”Hannah Anderson, All That’s Good
All I can say is, “Ouch!”
(Side note: It always amazes me how God will put something I need to know right before my eyes even though I wasn’t looking for it!)
“He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” John 15:2 NIV
Yes, God pruned the branches that needed pruning so that I would bear more fruit. I don’t think I’ll ever be the same.
We must learn what it means to love one another in every form it might take. Even in speaking Truth, we must think of others above ourselves. We must always ask ourselves, “Am I walking in love?”
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3 ESV
I think of the Apostle Paul who said,
“Knowledge puffs up while love builds up.” 1 Corinthians 8:1 NIV
Am I saying we shouldn’t speak the Truth? Not at all! The Bible teaches us to correct and rebuke.
“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.” Ephesians 4:15 NIV
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” 2 Timothy 3:16 NIV
“Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” 2 Timothy 4:2-4 NIV
What I Learned
- People who are hungry for God often read lots of books by Bible Teachers and listen to a variety of popular preachers. Be careful in your zeal for Truth not to crush their spirit.
- Give careful thought to how you approach a controversial topic.
- You don’t have to share everything you know. Sometimes it’s best to stay silent. Build on the Truth you share.
- Discussions go best when your opinion is asked for.
May the Lord speak to our hearts and teach us how to interact with one another in love. May we become more like Him everyday, overflowing with humility, gentleness, respect, patience and kindness.
This Is My Journey Unscripted.
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