The following is a guest article from Debbie Romero* (view the original article on Not Ashamed of the Gospel’s blog). We thought it was a good take integrating relational-ness and relentless-ness into how you reach others. Share your thoughts below the article!
When I see someone sinning, I sometimes get angry, not for myself, but because I see that that person is going to get hurt or going to hurt others through their actions.
It reminds me of my childhood…
I was walking to the store one day with my mom when she stopped and told me, “Wait here!’ She ran across the street and yelled at a boy who had a smaller girl trapped in an inappropriate way.
After returning, she said to me, “I did that to make him think about what he was about to do, he could have hurt that little girl!”
And I’m sure that boy thought twice about doing that again after my mother approached him.
A Lesson Learned
You see, my mom was looking out for someone else’s best interest, not her own, as she usually did.
I wish I could say that we always speak the truth in love with the right motive.
Sometimes we don’t speak things that are intended to help others, but instead, we do it to pat ourselves on the back. It makes us feel good.
This usually ends up having the opposite effect on that person that you’re trying to correct.
Today, before I go and confront someone, I try to think about the reaction of the person being confronted. I try to think, “Did that comment push them farther away from the Lord or bring them closer? Am I going to say it in a way where they could see the LOVE in it?”
The Best Examples of Speaking the Truth in Loving Boldness
It had to be amazing, walking next to Jesus as He spoke to sinners on an everyday basis…confronting them BOLDLY about their sin. However, He did it in a way without standing on a pedestal and pointing His finger, belittling that one person.
When I read John chapter 2, the account of the temple always stands out, because it appeared that anger was present in Jesus. It was righteous anger!
He saw how others were hurt and getting ripped off. To add insult to injury, the money changers were conducting their business in the name of God!
The Right Thing To Do
Everyday, we see people attacking each other with hurtful words. As a Christian we should not join them, instead we should be pointing them to the truth.
Thinking back on my life, there were those times when I felt guilt or my conscience was causing me to feel ashamed. These were the times I was in need of repenting in either my thinking or action.
BUT because I was afraid of the consequences, I continued in sin just like so many other brothers and sisters.
This is the reason we need a Savior!
My step-father once told me, if he had not been picked up for drunk driving, he would never have quit drinking…he was an alcoholic in need of immediate consequences for his actions.
Human nature causes us to make excuses for sinning, or continuing in sin, even if we feel better when we quit!
When Mary Magdalene (Luke 8:1-3) saw her sin for the pain that it was, she followed Christ more closely than any of the others (because He released her from her bondage)! (see Lamentations 1:2, Luke 7:38)
Pointing out others sins in a mean way does not benefit anyone. You may think that you’re doing someone a favor but you may actually harden them more to whatever the issue is at hand.
But there’s a way to speak the truth in love with boldness that can bring you the results that you want. You just have to T H I N K before you speak (credit: Alan Redpath).
Before you open your mouth, ask yourself these questions about what you want to say:
T – is it True?
H – is it Helpful?
I – is it Inspiring?
N – is it Necessary?
K – is it Kind?
This will help you to know whether you’re words are going to be received well or not. If not, then go back and make the necessary adjustments.
*“This article reflects the views of the author. It is being distributed by Dare 2 Share to spur dialogue and challenge youth leaders to mobilize their students to reach their generation for Christ.“
Can you think of a time when you saw the truth spoken in love?