Title: Speaking Truth In Love
Date: April 5, 2022
With all that is happening in our world today, it is so easy to get distracted. As we pray to make a difference in our culture, we often think on a large scale. While there is definitely room for that kind of thinking, we must not neglect the small places we tend to believe make little difference. Even if God chose to use us only in one person’s life here on earth, the eternal rewards are inconceivable. And let us not forget change comes one person at a time!
Our Father uses us in so many different ways. We all have unique gifts and resources. However, the Lord does give each of us responsibilities, and one of those is to speak truth in love, whether a person is a believer or not, whether it is our family, friends, co-workers, and yes even those we may encounter and yet really don’t know. For in today’s society, we can agree that what was once hidden in darkness is not so hard to recognize anymore!
My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this, whoever turns a sinner from the error of his ways will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.
Notice the phrase “If one of you should wander from the truth,” which implies James is addressing believers! This means we are ALL subject to wander! No man can boast of being free from error. You may be thinking, “I really don’t know anyone who has wandered from the truth!” But most of the time it is not always apparent; it’s not necessarily black or white, but can very much rest in the gray zone. It’s never our place to judge others, however if we look at it from James’ vantage point, we apparently can save our wandering friends and family from death! Depending on the delusion or severity a person has bought into, I am supposing that can mean physical death, but most certainly spiritual death as well.
Salvation once received can never be taken from us, but we can spiritually die from God’s blessings of peace and joy. We can lose the benefits of strength and courage. And this consequence would scare me the most: we could remove ourselves from God’s wisdom and guidance. So, the question is how do we turn a sinner from his error? For most of us this is so hard to do! Of course, we cover it in prayer first! But truly how do we do this humbly, kindly and rooted in love?
Our next question is this…. Do we live to please man or God? If we know our Father commands us to do this, why do we struggle with doing it? There isn’t one of us who likes confrontation! We all can agree it’s so difficult to bring someone’s errors to light. Yet on the other hand we must be careful not to water down the truth. Speaking truth can be frightening, and as we all know can lead to conflict and potential pain. Sometimes we ignore speaking truth and justify it to ourselves however necessary.
In all fairness, and maybe with what began with good intent, the Christian community has taken the concept of grace a bit too far. We have traded being kind for tolerance. It’s not unusual these days to hear of churches, pastors and so many people from all walks of life reframing God’s word, omitting the full counsel of God. And all for the sake of not wanting to face the truth of the One who created the universe! When we take into account that God’s principles are the enemy of delusion and sin, we can then understand why Satan tries so hard to keep us from sharing truth…because he knows it has the potential to heal!
I’m sure I’m not alone, but I find it difficult to share someone’s error for fear of sounding judgmental, pious or arrogant, especially to those whom I respect the most. I can only imagine how difficult it must feel in the workplace when careers are on the line. I’m sure there are some people who even have to put on an agreeable face, when in reality they are opposed to their co-workers’ opinions and ways. James’ advice for delivering and expressing godly truth “covers a multitude of sins.” When we have those hard talks, imagine the damage control it can lead to!
The other day my oldest grandson unfairly asked his three-year-old younger brother who he loved more, his grandma or his auntie. As the sweet little boy pondered the very difficult question, he smiled and quickly pointed to the two of us at the same time! His sweet nature did not want to hurt either one of us, so his quick solution: please us both!
I feel like my little guy at times! There are occasions when I choose to play it safe! On one hand I want to please my Father, and on the other hand I want to please others. I may easily forsake His promptings in order to avoid hurting someone’s feelings! Proverbs 27:6 says “Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy!” Oh, dear Lord, help me to be honest and bold with others as well as myself! Grow me to be a lover of others’ souls in order that I may never live to see regrets. And may my tough love cover a multitude of sins!
Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.
Brothers if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
One commentary I like to read is by Matthew Henry. He so beautifully explains the verse in James that we started out with today that I thought I would share his words:
“The salvation of one soul is of infinitely greater importance than preserving the lives of multitudes, or promoting the welfare of a whole people. Let us in our several stations keep these things in mind, sparing no pains in God‘s service, and the event will prove that our labor is not in vain in the Lord. For six thousand years He has been multiplying pardons, and yet His free grace is not tired nor grown weary. Certainly, Divine mercy is an ocean that is ever full and ever flowing. May the Lord give us a part in this abundant mercy, through the bliss of Jesus Christ, and the sanctification of the Spirit.”
One of God’s commandments is to love others. To love deeply is not just an emotion, it is also an action. Dear Father may our actions speak louder than words, and may they please you well! Amen!
Delighting in safe pasture,