As people of God, we are to speak the truth in love. This is not always easy.
In 2 Samuel 12: 1-7, after King David had committed adultery with Bathsheba and thought he had concealed the matter, God’s prophet, Nathan, approached King David and helped him to see that he had sinned and that God knew it.
Approaching a king in those days with an accusation was a delicate matter. One could be relieved of his head!
Nathan approached King David with a parable. He said to the king, “There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms.
“Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for one who had come to him.
David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this must die! He must pay for the lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.”
Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man!” Though he still had to pay for his transgression, King David repented.
While we may not use parables so much today, we can’t say too much about tact and diplomacy. When we find individuals in the church who need to be corrected, often leaders let it go or sweep the situation under the rug for various reasons, hoping and praying that the problem will go away or correct itself.
Sadly, this seldom or never happens. Ignoring problems simply leads to bigger problems later. The proverbial “molehill does become a mountain” and causes many to stumble.
Church leaders must address such situations and individuals; we must speak the truth in love. Too many of us speak the truth, but we forget about the love part. How often has this run a less seasoned Christian or newcomer away or for that matter torn churches apart. “As my mother used to say, “It’s not what you say, but how you say it.” So true.
As Christians, we must focus more on this old reliable principle and say it in love, with an eye toward correcting the situation, not embarrassing or hurting the individual(s).
While I said earlier, church leaders need to pay attention to this, it is equally important for the laity to hold pastors and church leaders accountable for their actions, too … in love.
Jesus said, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” – John 13:35
My brothers and sisters let us show that we are, indeed, disciples of Christ and speak the truth in love.
I wish you peace, blessings, and love.
The Rev. Larry Dozier is the pastor of The New Earth Christian Church, an online ministry based in Gardena.