As believers, we are called to speak boldly. This term has an array of interpretations and expectations. We often assume it means exasperated language and action, on the contrary, it refers to standing true to what you believe. Confrontational structure is not a means of getting someone to understand what you understand; that tends to come across forceful and judgmental. A lot of what the Christian community faces today are those two adjectives. We are called hypocrites, due to our approach.
Which doesn’t make sense to me, yet, it is excruciatingly true. Because I’ve caught myself doing it.
We have an underlying insincere nature, because we are selfishly built in our sin. We automatically assume we are right and that person is wrong; we have a hard time sympathizing with those that think a bit differently and logically grasp on a separate spectrum than we do. Essentially, for some reason it is hard for us to fully understand others, yet we expect them to understand us?
This is a balance we desperately need to grasp, in order to spread the gospel in the way we are called. Rather than formulating strict ways of approach, allowing our temper to get the best of us, and letting agitation gloss the words we speak – we need to let love and understanding break through, first, and always.
Meaning, we need to remember that the core of sharing the good news of our savior requires exemplifying grace and patience.
James 1:19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger
I read this verse as a command, an unquestionable way of action, and a complete guidance as to how we live our life.
I believe the root of our frustration with others stems from our utter desire for them to know the God we know; to understand the sacrifice and love that He provides; and to find the purpose they are longing for. But instead of that desire producing fruit, we often see the opposing outcome spill from our mouths and slip through our actions. We allow the devil to take advantage of our weakest parts, and forget why we originally took that step.
Its crazy to me how contradicting this truth seems. That in moments that should be filled with God are the moments we lose to the enemy. We replace our solid intentions with our sinful nature. That’s how the devil wins, he knows when to creep in, and it’s always in heightened emotion – regardless of it being from a good motive.
So first, we need to recognize that this is a part of who we are as human beings and that it is an inevitable battle we face. We live in a free world of personalities, will, emotion, fervor, instinct and nature; clashing, challenging, and arguing are bound to happen in a world that free spirited. So, the challenge becomes taking the uniqueness of everyone and placing them on the foundation of Christ.
So, what does that mean?
It means we all act, think, and process differently, so to combat that, we approach every conversation, situation, and event with a patient and loving heart. We first seek to understand, rather than “correct,” because truly, correct is not the right word – but it tends to be what we feel.
There is no way to put a “right or wrong” mentality on someone who doesn’t know Jesus, because without Him there is no moral code. So, to the person you are trying to reach, they are simply lost, not wrong. If you alter your mindset to this, you’ll automatically develop a more sincere and genuine approach. Think about it, when you hear the word “wrong,” you think to argue, to rebuttal, to defend. These are all aggressive and exasperated and will make your response feel that way as well. But if we use the word “lost,” we want to rescue, seek, and cleanse. A naturally gentler and kind desire.
Let that be the way we reach those that do not know Him, and even those that do. I pray that my heart is softened on a daily basis, that I may be stronger in these moments, and recognize when my approach is too harsh. Though my passions and intentions are for the Lord, that urgency can lead to a false example of Who I want them to know.
So, I continue to pray. I continue to plea for a gentle spirit, and an understanding heart. I pray that my words reflect God and my actions mimic Him. I cry out for my instincts to mold themselves into a sympathetic accession, so that those receiving it can see Him in me, rather than me in me.