Friday, July 15, 2011

What do You Have to Say?

Do you have someone in your life that just knows how to push your buttons, even when their comments or actions are not even directed toward you?  Maybe you have friends, relatives, or co-workers that loudly espouse their political views, their social values, or their religious beliefs that, in your opinion, are so ridiculous you just can’t believe they could be so … stupid.

I see this all the time on Twitter and Facebook.  Someone supports (insert name) and tells everyone that doesn’t agree with them that they’re stupid.  Someone else detests (insert name) and tells everyone that supports him/her that they’re stupid.  I often see those comments and I write a response so sharply worded that I just know it will either change their mind or at least will make everyone else think I’m smart and that person is as dumb as a brick.  Fortunately, I delete 99% of those responses instead of posting them.  But once they’re out there, they’re out there.

I heard a message by Andy Stanley recently called “The Separation of Church and Hate.”  He talked about how important it is for the church (meaning all who belong to Jesus Christ) to extend grace so we can make a difference, rather than just making a point.  This doesn’t mean we can’t or shouldn’t speak truth.  We have the responsibility to do that.  But we need to be careful about what we say and how we say it.  We need to get into the habit of showing grace

I recently told a story of an experience I had in Guatemala as I shared the message of salvation with Margarito.  As I talked to him, I realized that I may have been so intent on getting him to accept Christ that I had given him the impression that I was angry with him for not being ready.  I paused and asked Giovani, the translator, to tell him that I wasn’t angry with him.  I just wanted him to understand how important it was to receive God’s gift of salvation.  I immediately saw his countenance soften as Giovani conveyed that message to him.  After that, I was able to speak more compassionately to him.

Colossians 4:5-6 tells us “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.  Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” - TNIV

What do you have to say?

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