Sunday, March 20, 2011

Speaking Truth

“Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ” (Ephesians 4:15)

What is your understanding of the value of relationships?

How do you handle conflict in relationships?

How do you respond to the Biblical guidelines to help others grow up in Jesus?

These are questions I had to wrestle with this week for life group. It’s amazing how when you’re going to have 20 women in your living room to discuss these things, the LORD will put you to the test in your own relationships!

This week has been full of difficult conversations, some planned, some unplanned. Having to go to someone you love dearly and share with them areas of their life where they’re walking in complete disobedience is so hard. Having to go to people and share that they are on a path of destruction, continuing in darkness, separated from our Heavenly Father is difficult.

I just kept telling myself “Speaking truth is not always easy . . . but if it leads someone to repentance, LORD I’m willing”.

I can’t explain the burden I feel when my friends and family are not walking in the fullness of Christ here on earth. The burden is even deeper when I know they’re not going to spend eternity with Him. I pray often for my loved ones, but there comes a time when you have to look them in the eye and share. That was this past week for me. I couldn’t get the question out of my head “What am I doing to help others grow up in Jesus?” I know that one way I can help others grow up in Christ is by speaking truth to them, even when it doesn’t feel good to hear.

I told someone I’d much rather have the gift of hospitality than whatever this gift is, a burden to speak! It has cost me relationships sometimes, other times it has deepened them beyond belief. At the end of the day, I recognize that these conversations can cause people great sorrow. I just pray it is not worldly sorrow, but sorrow that leads to repentance (2 Corinthians 7:10).

I think of soil. When you are trying to grow something, you need fresh, fertile soil. Sometimes these conflicts and conversations means you have to break that hard soil to get to that fertile soil, to plant seeds that can grow, survive, and produce fruit. So this week, with my shovel in hand and my prayers in heart, I have been plowing away.

I am hoping that through these conversations my loved ones will see the light, leave their old ways behind, and walk with Christ in abundance . . . on earth and in eternity.

“Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.” (Romans 10:1)

“My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.” (James 5:19-20)

“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.” (Matthew 18:15)

“A rebuke goes deeper into a man of understanding than a hundred blows into a fool.” (Proverbs 17:10)

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)

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