I can usually tell when a conversation is about to go south. It becomes obvious when the person asking me a question begins the conversation with, “So, are you saying….?” At that point, the passive-aggressive inquirer fills in the blank giving the appearance to those within earshot that they are asking nothing more than an honest question. I typically answer those questions with a straightforward response that does not dilute the truth or attempt to make the questioner comfortable at the expense of the truth or my integrity.
Something has been taking place within the Church for the last few decades where many believers are no longer confident to speak the truth outside the safe confines of fellowship. We can be so fearful that the truth will create an offense that we remain silent when our voices should be heard. This silence sadly happens too often when we are asked questions regarding issues like abortion, human sexuality, or the exclusivity of Jesus as the only way to God. When these questions come our way, it is because the Spirit is bringing the inquirer to us no matter if the inquiry is honest or dishonest. These encounters test our willingness to honor even the orneriest people who are believing a lie and wanting to make a point. They also reveal the extent of our mercy.
There have been times when I have seen a complete 180 take place in a questioner’s attitude when the answer to their question was the truth spoken in love. Some of those 180s were for the sake of the one asking the question. Other turnarounds took place when those hearing or reading a truthful answer began to reevaluate the validity of their assumptions.
The people of God are magnetic people. That magnetism happens because we carry the Spirit. Jesus said when referring to His coming crucifixion, “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself“ ( John 12:32). A few verses later, Scripture tells us, “But despite all the miraculous signs Jesus had done, most of the people still did not believe in him” (vs. 37). That drawing ability of the Lord offers people a choice to believe Him or reject Him. This magnetism also extends to those times when the truth we believe because of the presence of Christ within us will draw people to us with hostile and confrontive questions. In those moments, speaking the truth in love is the only option that will keep our character intact and not silence our voice no matter who is offended by the truthful answer we express.
We have been promised that the truth will set us free. Freedom is not possible unless the truth is spoken offering people clarity and a way out of their prison of unbelief. If our answers are not clear and truthful, the voice of the Church will become weakened, compromised, and silent when the people who are living in bondage need honest and straightforward answers to their questions. We should never allow the possibility of an offense to keep us silent no matter who is offended by the truthful answers we speak in love.
Thank you Garris for your wisdom. Just start to connect through your post on OpenHeaven from my longtime beloved mentor brother Ton. So far you get my attention, so let’s walk.
Rob Van’t Wout
Dutch by birth, Sweden by choice, Kingdom by grace
Hello Rob. I just want to say I love your response to Garris whom I have been listening to for some time. your closing comment. Dutch by birth etc. I’ve never heard that before. I too am Dutch by birth. Australian by my parents choice but very grateful for that. kingdom by grace! love it! thanks Garris. This message rings true. my mercy gift sometimes outweighs the need to speak. you mentioned recently about silence being complicit and that too has me now speaking up, gently and often in the form of a question. speak up we must!