God’s been reminding me about how important it is to speak truth in love to people. Last week at morning prayer, we were thinking about speaking truth in love.
And this last week, we had a Jehovah’s Witness come to our door. We invited her in for a chat which lasted nearly thee hours. During the course of the afternoon we realised that our major difference in theology was about the Trinity; something which we as Christians hold to be a major and fundamental Christian doctrine. Towards the end of the discussion, she pointed out how surprised she was that there were Christians out there who didn’t start threatening her and condemning her to hell, and who weren’t abusive, offensive or rude to her.
Isn’t it worrying that the inference was that there are Christians out there who threaten, condemn, abuse, offend and make rude remarks to people? I was certainly taken aback. Being always ready to give an account of what you believe doesn’t mean to lash out at every opportunity. In fact, we’re always meant to set an example, to be as gentle as a dove whilst at the same time being as wise as a serpent.
So I’m really thinking over what it means to speak truth in love. Does it mean watering down our opinions and beliefs? Of course not; it’s obvious that people are going to get hurt at times by what we say. But there is a manner in which we say things and a behaviour which we should adopt when speaking to people.
I think this manner and behaviour are too often forgotten about in the Church. So until we get our manner as Christians sorted out, what right do we have to moan about the attitude of the world, when it may be to us that the world look to for direction?
Dean is a Minister in the Anglican Church. Currently he is Curate in the parishes of Bedwas, Machen, Michaelston-y-Fedw and Rudry in South Wales. He was born and bred in Wales, is married to Megan, and has two dogs called Taliesin and Melyn, and two cats named Sinsir and Hâf. He graduated from Cardiff University with a BA Hons. in Theology & Religious Studies, and has studied for an MA in Theology, Ministry & Mission at Trinity College Bristol. He also holds a Cert.RSCM from the Royal School of Church Music. He loves playing music, walking, reading, blogging and horse riding as well as going to the cinema and theatre.
Read More @ http://deanroberts.net/about
Well said Dean.I think that sometimes we want to win the argument more than we want to be a good witness to Jesus Christ.
“God’s been reminding me about how important it is to speak truth in love to people.”
Wow, Dean – how has he been doing that? By email? Text? Or have you been hearing voices in your head?
Why, hello AgentCormac.
I don’t understand how you expect me to explain how the Holy Spirit talks to people in such a very small comment box, and with the time constraints that I have 🙂 . But he was speaking to me by showing me the same thing over and over again in many different ways and many different locations at many different times.
Of course, God has an unlimited amount of ways in which he can speak. Though you won’t hear him if you’ve got your headphones in and your music blasting out of them will you? And God is too polite to take them out you see 😉 . Hope you’re well my friend. 🙂
Take all the time and space you want, Dean. I’d be intrigued to know how you ‘hear’ god.
And I find it intriguing that you can’t even begin to tell me how this process happens. But if I am to be enlightened, then surely you must be able to give some evidence for your claim to be in touch with a supernatural being.
And by the way, just because I don’t hear any evidence for ‘god’ does not mean that I am not listening. Quite the contrary, actually. I have spent decades pondering and probing. And to date I haven’t found (or heard) a single scrap of evidence that would make me believe that there is a sky fairy. All I hear is a deafening silence – and endless amounts of obfuscating from those who purport to have ‘his’ ear but have no evidence whatsoever to substantiate what they ‘know’ to be true.
‘Draw close to God, and he will draw close to you’ my friend. A relationship is two way, is it not?
Of course I can’t tell you how the process happens – I’m a mortal communicating with the God who made me. How can you say that we can possibly bend our minds around that eh?
Besides – you and I both know that I can’t give you what you demand of me. Yet that doesn’t mean it’s 1 – nil to you, of course. This whole thing is on experience. If you haven’t experienced God talking to you, then of course you’ll only hear deafening silence. And of course you’ll refer to him as a ‘sky fairy’, whatever that is. Never heard of one of those myself!
“Of course I can’t tell you how the process happens – I’m a mortal communicating with the God who made me. How can you say that we can possibly bend our minds around that eh?”
I don’t wish to appear unkind, Dean – but surely you must try to ‘bend your mind’ around that one. Without a satisfactory explanation, how do you know that what you are experiencing isn’t just a delusion based on nothing more than wishful thinking? A self-fulfilling hope that, because you want to believe there’s a supreme being for which there is, otherwise, zero evidence, your imagination is stepping in to help out?
If you aren’t prepared to think beyond mere faith, or question the credibility of such a patronising and vacuous response as ‘it’s all just too much for us poor humans to figure out’, then surely you have to accept that you may be living a lie.
I know it takes courage to question something in which you strongly believe, Dean. But as Socrates so eloquently put it, ‘The unexamined life is not worth living’.
I do question life all the time, every day, and every Christian will had doubts, yes. But we’re asking different things, whilst at the same time looking for answers in different places. Not to mention the fact that you come from a position of Atheism, whilst I have made a step of faith.
All I can tell you, at least in the context of this post, I know God talked to me through everything he’s been reminding me of, and how the many coincidences sum up to the reminder of one truth that Christians should hold to.
Though, the subject of this post is suddenly becoming less prominent in our comments, so I think we should try and stick to the subject here.
PS- You only think it’s patronising because you don’t believe God is there.
Actually, I find it patronising for a very simple reason. Namely, it makes no attempt whatsoever to answer the question, but rather it overtly and conveniently tries to avoid giving any explanation by glibly claiming that humans are not intelligent enough to be able to comprehend. God moves in mysterious ways – end of chat.
Well, that might be good enough for you, Dean , but I’m afraid it isn’t good enough for me. We aren’t living in the iron age any more, and the days of magic voices and supernatural beings are slipping away into the mists of time. For too long the millstone of religion has held humankind back by relying on well-meaning folk like yourself blindly ignoring the absurdities, contradictions and blatant falsehoods that lie at its heart. And dare I suggest that the sooner you start asking some rather fundamental questions about religion instead of falling back on blind faith, the sooner you might actually step out into the light of reality and see religion for the sham that it is.
Well thank you for your concerns and opinions, AgentCormac 🙂
“Sky Fairy” or whatever the name you use for [God is Love: wise choice from a conclusion from using all the senses] makes me require a blinkin good REASON to speak the truth to know it’s REASON is love and saying it will do good. Otherwise I think it’s just [Spouting facts in hate].
Erm… my pleasure, Dean. Seems like a rather abrupt end to the conversation. I guess you didn’t fancy debating the topic some more.
@ Bexy. Maybe it’s your choice of punctuation that is getting in the way of the communication, but I honestly haven’t got a clue what you are trying to say. Should I assume you don’t agree with me?
No it’s not that I don’t fancy it, AgentCormac. It’s just that I can’t give all my time to answering comments. It’s also because the comments we were discussing were going off topic. And it’s also because I cannot persuade you to have faith in Christ. Moreover, I cannot persuade someone to have faith in Christ when if they search deeply, they will find that they don’t really want to have faith anyway. 🙂
Contrary to what you might think, Dean, I haven’t simply made my mind up to have no faith. I listened, debated, read and weighed up the evidence. Only then did I come to the conclusion that it is all just an astonioshingly transparent fairy story made up by primitive people to keep other primitive people in line. And how can I have ‘faith’ in a fairy story?
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