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"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander." ~ 1 Peter 3:15-16
Do you recall any occasions in which you are caught in between telling the truth and being the lovable, nice guy towards someone? If so, you can bet you are in good company. I suppose christians are the ones often faced with such difficult situations, at least I do. Let me explain in details and as simple as I can. Often, I found myself capable of recognising doctrinal errors to the extent of minor details in a person's paradigm. To which doctrinal errors, I actually meant deviations from well established and "obvious" (the most reasonable interpretation) doctrines from the Bible. This happens usually at the level of interaction between people who do not have the christian world view, but it also happened to me on the level of interaction between christians alike. Perhaps, partly due to my character (I am a CS, as last measured with the DISC test), I tend to focus on the beliefs the other party has, which is actually the foundation to their existence. You might be saying I am a "critical" person now. But let me affirm you that indeed I am. I prefer critical thinking rather than be sitting ducks the whole day long. Socrates meant what I feel when he said, "A life without reflections is not worth living." (I forgot the exact qoute, but the content is similar)

What happened is that there will always be tension when I am aware of the departure from the Truth as in the Bible. Truth, being what is right, can never accommodate wrong, or Lie if you like. Thus when I know something is wrong, I cannot tolerate it being wrong, without telling its wrong, either explicitly or implicitly. It's a matter of time before I actually convey the idea. Surprisingly, I never understood why God allows me to see the Truth even from the start (Still, I thank Him that He did), but I learn to understand why as life continues. So you see, I am no "nominal" christian as defined by the world, but one that continues to dig for treasures in the bible and daring to challenge existing traditions and opinions. I am not here at all saying I am the Mr Who Know All The Answers (there are many who are far better than I am), but what I am saying is that I have got a little bit more knowledge than my counterparts. (I wouldn't dare to say I am more spiritual than them, it would be an overstatement if I did) And precisely with this "extra" (or is it that expectation has dropped) knowledge, I am capable of spotting the wrong or the blindness of the other party. Of course, it may be argued that a wise man may be blinded by his own wisdom but that's another issue altogether. It's sufficient to point out that tension exists when facing conflicts with the Truth.

So do we speak the Truth in the risk of offending the other party, or do we compromise the Truth for the sake of Love for the other party? I do hope that you are able to see that the answer lies beyond the two posts. We can never afford to compromise the Truth, and not to love, for God is Love and God is Truth. (Note that the saying Love is God etc is not valid for it's only a one way definition here) A proper understanding is that Truth and Love go hand in hand together, with neither one overtaking the other even for a measurable second. It's only in this light that Truth and Love go hand in hand together that we see the tension surfaces. Do you then feel this tension of speaking the Truth, and yet not be critical in spirit but speaking out of Love? It's like building a snowman on top of a fire stove. If you do feel as I do, I am glad to have you walking along side with me. Many times, it happened to me. Sometimes I became critical; sometimes I compromised by remaining silent. Oh God, how hard is it to speak the Truth in Love... I acknowledge that I am a limited being, inadequate to speak the Truth in Love. May You hear my prayers and teach me Thy way; and impart me Thy wisdom that I may live by speaking Thy Truth in Thy Love. Discipline me when I have become critical and judgmental in spirit, for that is not the Spirit of Christ.

Knowledge puffs up, but Love is humble. Teach me Your Love, Father...

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