Friday, March 29, 2013

Don't Shut Up


A few weeks ago, some good friends of ours came to us about a difficult situation that they were facing in the church.  They are new Christians and two of our favorite people, and we were hurt that they were hurt, but after praying and looking into the Word of God – the truth was pretty plain.  We both knew it in our hearts, but we were afraid to tell our friends…we didn’t know how to respond.

Well, thankfully, God gave us the courage to just be totally frank about what God’s Word says and what we know to be true – instead of being offended, they were touched and moved to change to be in line with God.  And not only that, their choice has dramatically changed their demeanor – there is a fire and passion in them that we’ve never seen.  We were floored, and so thankful that we got to be a tiny part of this.

This got our wheels turning, and God has been speaking to our hearts since then.  Here’s the verses that keep coming up to me from all different types of mediums:
 

“For you were once in darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.  Walk as children of light finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.  Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.”           -Eph. 5:8-11
 

Expose them.  Yikes.  We realized that our culture has so engrained in us that it is rude to push your beliefs on someone else and it is offensive to call something wrong or immoral.  And yes, we all know the people who go out with a religious spirit and cast judgment on everyone when they clearly have their own issues they need to confront.  Somewhere along the way, the enemy shut me up.  I didn’t want to offend anyone, I didn’t want to seem closed-minded or inconsiderate, and I definitely didn’t want to be pushy. 

The fact is, that some people will be offended by the Word of God, but the people with whom I have a relationship and who care about my thoughts – those are the people with whom I have a responsibility to tell the Truth to…even if they might be offended that my stance is firm.  I can stand firm in the Truth and still love.  But I cannot love well and watch others waste themselves in ignorance when I know the Truth…it’s like withholding the cure for cancer from a dying friend because I’m afraid they won’t like the way it tastes...they may hate the way it tastes and spit it out at me, but at least I tried to save them, or they may choke it down and live to thank me for giving them their life back.

The truth is painful at times, but Hebrews 12:11 says that no discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.  However it produces a harvest of righteousness for those who are trained by it.  God keeps reminding me that even though the truth may seem painful or hurtful to others, that if I walk in love and not condemnation, grace and not judgment, and tell the truth, that some may heed it, and be changed, healed…it takes guts my friends to be so brave, but that’s part of loving well.  Expose the deeds of darkness my friends.

 

A few verses earlier it says, “Be imitators of Christ…walk in love…but fornication and all uncleanliness and covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for the saints (just another word for Christ follower). 

For this you know that no fornicator, nor unclean person, nor covetous man who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of heaven.

Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.

Therefore, do not be partakers with them.” (vs.1-7)

 

Seriously y’all, who wants to be the person that says that fornicators will not inherit the kingdom of heaven???!!!  We live in a culture that does not value marriage, and if you do get married it may be to a person of same gender or a person you’ve lived with for several years.  The Bible is clear – this is not the way of the Lord. 

Does it mean that God hates these people? NO!  It means that Christ died to pay for our sins and give us eternal life and the Holy Spirit so that we can know true intimacy with Him, but you must you must you must, accept His gift, seek His spirit, and follow His ways, not the ways that you want or just make sense to you.  Because when we do things His way, our lives will be full, we will know true joy and peace. 

And I know these things, I’ve reaped the benefit, but sometimes I’ve allowed the enemy to scare me into closing my mouth because I didn’t want to hurt someone’s feelings or make them feel judged.  But I’m not judging anyone – That verse said no foolish talking or course joking – believe me those were my toes being stepped on, but I know that the bible is true and right and that God’s word always brings about the fullest life, so I must ask God to help me change and I must choose to obey, and I must share the truth with anyone willing to listen so that they have the opportunity to receive the wholeness God has given me.

Don’t let the enemy shut you up.  There are precious hearts that need to hear the truth from a tender and compassionate heart.  People need the Truth – the Truth is what sets us free!

 

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