Gentle Truth Speakers

Jesus' warning about false teachers in Matthew 7:15-23 is a pretty sobering reminder for anyone entrusted with teaching others. I find the privilege of shaping the spiritual lives of people a pretty cool opportunity. I love the role. But the older I get the more I feel the weight of the responsibility. Influence and trust are valuable gifts that need to be carefully guarded. I ask myself harder questions these days as I prepare to teach each week.

  1. Is my thinking comprehensively tethered to God's revealed truth or am I overly influenced by trends in popular thought?
  2. Am I grounded in God's Word or captivated by compelling "original"  (otherwise known as 'trendy') ideas?
  3. Do I get more pleasure out of reinforcing historically orthodox truths or destabilizing someone's belief system?
  4. Is my confidence in my ability to inspire change through a creative talk or in the Spirit's ability to change a life through truth simply communicated?

Growth is always disruptive on some level because it invites change. Spiritual growth invites the Spirit to disrupt unhealthy ways of living to replace them with more healthy ways. So Biblical teaching should have a disruptive role. The subtle risk is assuming responsibility for disrupting the lives of people rather than trusting the Spirit with this delicate work.

How we speak the truth may be as important as speaking the truth. Every time I teach my prayer is that my style not hinder the substance of the truth. James gives me langauge to guard my heart. "The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no partiality and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds pf peace and reap a harvest of goodness." (James 3:17-18, New Living Translation)

I guess my prayer is to be a gentle truth-speaker.

Fighting for your hearts,

Gary Franklin

 

Reflections for your spiritual journey

  1. While you may not have the role of teaching others in a public way we all teach others in private ways. Where do you have the opportunity of shaping the spiritual life of others?
  2. Spend some time thinking about how those you 'teach' experience you.
  • Peace loving or mean spirited?
  • Gentle or harsh?
  • Willing to yield to the Spirit's way or needing others to see things your way?
  • Full of mercy or demanding?
  • Impartial or prejudiced?
  • Sincere or having an agenda?

Using James 3:17-18 as a guide ask to become a gentle truth-speaker...