I’m not very good at speaking truth to people. I found that out in 4th grade, when some of my friends and I thought it would be a good idea to tell our “friend” that she needed to change, since she was spreading lies between all of us. Even adults can’t handle the truth, I have no idea why we thought a child, our peer, could handle hearing something like that. Quite expectedly, she cried. And that was the end of my truth telling. I decided to take a more passive approach with friends, watching almost from the sidelines, giving suggestions, but never anything concrete.
That’s not enough for Christian life. Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted [Galatians 6:1-2]. We live together to catch each other when we stumble. The past couple of weeks have been a tumultuous time, full of playing a game of telephone, which only exacerbated the drama, and hard talks. We were worried that one of our sisters in our fellowship was potentially crossing boundaries with one of the guys in our fellowship, and weren’t sure how/if we should talk to her about it. After extensive conversations with upperclassmen and our leaders, some of the sisters talked to this sister about it, something I wish I could do but knew wasn’t my place to do so in this case. Because I had made the mistake of also having had a questionable relationship with the same guy. I’m reaping the consequences of the indiscretions of my youth (which was only just last year). While their situation is still a little complicated, it’s taught me a lot about truth.
Truth doesn’t change. God has a stake in every aspect of our lives. Because He is Truth, there is an absolute truth when it comes to every decision we can possibly make, including our friendships that we think are so harmless, not realizing their effect on not only ourselves, but everyone around else. Objectively, the truth is that there are boundaries. Where that firm boundary line may be subjective, as some people are more in control of their emotions and whatnot. But there are also some boundaries that are perhaps objectively, from a Christian standpoint, there.
How do we speak truth to people? I sometimes get uncomfortable with the idea of confronting people through an intervention, although I wouldn’t mind receiving one myself. Above all, we are called to love. We should never say anything or do anything that is not for this ultimate purpose. We will never be perfect stewards of love. I still think that how we handled this situation was not ideal, since too many people got involved and it feels almost like gossip with how much we talked about it, but all we wanted was just to share God’s heart with her. We must come from a place of humility, knowing and acknowledging our own sinfulness so that we don’t become self-righteous when we see others’ sin so clearly. When we become self-righteous, we become actually like the person who has something stuck in their teeth but is completely oblivious to it, continuing their day with everyone seeing what’s in their teeth; we shamelessly are still unrepentant and blind to our own sin when we don’t recognize that all sin is sin, and we are no better than the brother or sister we’re trying to speak truth to.
I’ve been loving “O Come to the Altar” by Elevation Worship recently. When someone tells us the truth of what we’ve done, we don’t need to hang our head low and wonder why this is happening again, why we’re unable to kick this habit we call sin. Jesus is still calling us, fully knowing all the brokenness within that we cannot fix before going to Him, the one with the car owner’s manual to our lives, the only one who has the knowledge of us and the instructions to be able to fix what’s beneath the hood.
Are you hurting and broken within, overwhelmed by the weight of your sin? Jesus is calling. Have you come to the end of yourself? Do you thirst for a drink from the well? Jesus is calling.
O come to the altar, the Father’s arms are open wide. Forgiveness was bought with the precious blood of Jesus Christ.
Leave behind your regrets and mistakes. Come today, there’s no reason to wait. Jesus is calling. Bring your sorrows and trade them for joy. From the ashes a new life is born. Jesus is calling.
[“O Come to the Altar” – Elevation Worship]