Over the past few weeks I have been flooded with comments and emails about my recent articles regarding homosexuality and the Supreme Court decision.
While I know that this is a trending topic right now, the response I have received has been overwhelming; and for the most part it has been positive.
One question many people have asked me is how can we speak the truth in love in a way that is not offensive.
I think above all the statements that speaking truth at all is offensive and that hating people’s sin is negative have deeply disturbed me because it shows an area of our heart that has caved to tolerance and allowed a segment of society to silence us entirely.
That is dangerous!
I argue that it is neither offensive nor judgmental to speak truth to those around us. Furthermore, it is neither critical nor negative to hate people’s sin.
The Bible commands us to hate sin.
God hates sin.
The danger with love and grace that are not balanced by righteousness and holiness is that we begin to tolerate sin. Our perception of sin changes, and we no longer see it as a danger to our relationship with Christ and our eternal destination in heaven.
Furthermore, this call for imbalanced love and grace usually ends with a distorted picture of hell. Either we tend to brush inside the existence of hell at all, or we are not wholly convinced that all sinners will find themselves in it in the end.
I begin with this warning because we simply cannot speak truth in the purest context of Scripture if we are not:
a) Wholly convinced that all sinners are eternally damned to hell and
b) That sin is a serious offense in the eyes of a holy God who simply will not tolerate sin in heaven.
I can say firsthand that I know that it is, indeed, possible to speak the truth in love to those around us in a way that is able to be received and appreciated—and even applied. But it is all about the approach.
I recall a colleague of mine who found herself in a very difficult situation in which she discovered that she was expecting. The father didn’t want her to have the baby and she now faced a difficult choice: to keep the baby and lose her boyfriend or do what she already knew deep inside was wrong.
It was never a secret in any place of employment that I held that I was a Christian. Knowing my deeply held beliefs, she came to me for advice and I lovingly but openly shared about how I felt and why. Sadly, she chose to abort.
Later that year, I invited her to a production that a church in our city was showing called, “Heaven’s Gates, Hells Flames”. Divinely, one of the scenarios they showed dealt with abortion. She called me early the next morning in tears asking me what I thought, and I had the opportunity to share the gospel with her.
I don’t know what the end of that story is. Shortly thereafter I left to attend Bible School, but on my last day of employment she thanked me sincerely for being a gracious and true Christian.
There are three things we must bear in mind when we speak the truth and confront sinners about their sin
1. Our words must be completely saturated in Agape love. If our approach is motivated by any other motive, it will be difficult, if not impossible, for the listener to hear what you say.