A very common but ugly attitude in Christian circles is displayed when someone tells some hard truths to another person and feels justified in doing so by using Paul’s admonition to “speak the truth in love”.
Brother you are behaving badly! Brother you are an angry person! Brother if only you were not so pig headed people might like you. Sister you really need to lose weight. You really need to stop using too much makeup…you really should wear longer skirts…etc etc. All this –they say–is speaking the truth in love.
Paul had nothing like this in mind when he wrote to the Ephesian believers.
Eph 4:29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.
When we look at another person and observe their behaviour, their demeanour, their manner of being themselves do we think that we should say something so as to make them change themselves?
It is a way we learn having been parented..and then as parents ourselves. Looking at what we perceive as negative things in others which must surely be changed or stopped or cut off.
Don’t do that. Don’t say that. Don’t wear that.
I once met a young Muslim man who proudly wished to prove that Islam is better than Christianity. I asked him what his faith had done for him. He said, “We do not drink and we do not smoke!”
Amazing! For many Christians this is how they gauge whether they are on their way to Heaven or Hell. Having a list of do’s and dont’s and attempting to keep the dont’s low and the do’s high. Tiring..but nonetheless this is how many live their Christian life.
Let me speak the truth in love.
We are saved by Jesus living in us….period! That’s it! Do you have Jesus Christ living in you? If you do, His Spirit bears witness with your spirit that you are a child of God. (Rom 8:16)
Speaking the truth in love is to impart grace to the hearers for necessary edification.
Confusion or misunderstanding concerning who you are as a Christian causes this negative approach to edifying others.
We are not an old derelict building in need of restoration.
Many imagine that God saved them, forgave them and now is restoring them. Well yes…and no. God gave you His Son Jesus as your new life. He is completely perfect. He is your only Life. So there is no need for restoration—only for believing and accepting Jesus as your perfection.
Look at yourself with natural eyes and the accuser and the religious mindset will see a dilapidated mess in need of fixing and changing. So we try to change ourselves. This is to deny what Jesus accomplished for you. You are rejecting Jesus and trying to be good enough by your works.
This then leads to seeing others in the same way. So we end up with ministries devoted to helping people change themselves to appear more Christ like. Blah!! Stink!!
Christ Jesus is your life.
You may have asked Jesus in at one time…but have you accepted Him as your perfection? Or are you trying on your own(with God’s help) to perfect yourself?
You have been misled, bewitched and deceived.
Paul tells us that Jesus is enough…more than enough actually.
I am not restoring myself anymore. God has given me a new life-Jesus Himself. God has made me blameless and holy in His sight. God says I am complete in Jesus. I am perfect in Him. I am purified and cleansed and made clean in Him–all the time–constantly—forever!
That old life was put away and God is not at all interested in repairing it or restoring it or raising it back up. I am crucified with Christ it is no longer I that live but Christ Who lives as me–in me—with me.
So speaking the truth in love starts with ourselves. Actually it started with God. He speaks the truth in love constantly. He says you are perfect. We then believe Him and accept Him and speak Him as our only life.
There is no life to fix up and to make right for God. That life was an imaginary thing we told ourselves. God put it to death and set you free to be Christ Jesus in your form.
Of course when we attack the idea of needing to work on ourselves to be a better person…then we are destroying much of the “Christian” activity in the world today….Absolutely!!
Put on the Lord Jesus Christ by faith and enter into rest.