Monday, August 10, 2015

Gentle speech, curses and rebukes

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The Christian life is one of constant awareness. We are constantly aware that we are bought with a price, and that we we all to Him. Jesus has standards for His ransomed people in which He wants us to live. And because He is our Beloved King, we strive to follow His standards.

Sometimes it's hard to know what to do when. We pray for everyone unceasingly (1 Thessalonians 5:17)...until we are told not to pray for such a one anymore. (1 John 5:16).

We must share the Gospel with all people (Matthew 28:19) ... until we are to shake the dust off our feet (Mark 6:11)...and not give pearls to swine (Matthew 7:6).

I'm not saying the Christian life has contradictions, but I am saying that God knows best in situations what to do and we must stay repented up, prayed up, and studied up in order to discern what His will is when encountering situations that we find ourselves in.

Another situation that demands discernment is our speech. The Bible says a lot about our speech. It is supposed to be patient, gentle, and filled with love. And yet sometimes we read in the Bible that the Apostles were sharp, insulting, and berating.

Here are two essays which speak to the two different ways we're called upon to speak His wisdom and truths.

Love is how we speak truth, not how we avoid it.
Anyone who spends any time at all in the Bible will soon realize there is a continuous emphasis placed on actively loving one another (i.e.: Leviticus 19:18, John 15:12, Romans 13:8-10, Galatians 5:14, James 2:8, 1 John 4:21), even those who qualify as enemies (Matthew 5:44). First Corinthians 16:14 tells us to "do everything in love." But many people struggle with this all-encompassing directive especially when they find themselves facing the difficult task of confronting sin in a family member or co-worker. Inevitable questions arise like, "Is it even possible to lovingly rebuke someone?" and if it is, "Does lovingly rebuking sin in someone else mean that we cannot be direct and forthright with the person we are confronting?" As Christians, do we have to sugarcoat what we say to others in order to fulfill God's command to love them?
And yet there seems to be times when it is necessary to use sharp, cutting language.

Surprised by Scripture: Love and Spirit-inspired insults
Our expectation of the Spirit-filled person is that they would sincerely love people; that they would be manifestly gentle; that they would speak with kindness and patience in all circumstances. And those are good, biblical expectations. But the book of Acts shows us the Spirit-filled life is full of surprises. ... Here’s where our expectations about the Spirit-filled life get upended:

But Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him and said, “You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord?” (Acts 13:9–10)

...This doesn’t sound like what we would call kind or civil or gentle. These are biting words, pointed words, sharp words directed at a particular person. In this case, the fruit of the Spirit is name-calling, insults, and harsh words. In this case, Spirit-prompted boldness means not mincing words about the wickedness of this magician. When Spirit-Inspired Insults Are Necessary:
Read both essays to see the bookends of speech we are expected to think about when we are confronting a person in sin. These things are not contradictory, and they are not for all Christians all the time. Some people, usually leaders, can and do make Spirit-inspired insults...and yet sometimes the pointed confrontation is necessary to employ against the sinning one, even to the extent they are ushered from the church under discipline and handed over to satan. (1 Corinthians 5:5).

The idea is that we are always striving to walk in the center line of His ways, constantly seeking Him to determine the proper course of action in any given situation, so that His name is glorified.


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