"Conviction of sin is one of the rarest things that ever strikes a man. It is the threshold of an understanding of God. Jesus Christ said that when the Holy Spirit came, He would convict of sin, and when the Holy Spirit rouses the conscience and brings him into the presence of God, it is not his relationship with men that bothers him, but his relationship with God." Oswald Chambers
Note: This week's blog is a follow-up to last week's piece on public shaming. You can read that post by clicking Here.
I touched on some tender places last week, dear readers. I got a variety of responses and messages - most were positive with a few questions. Not surprisingly, there were also a couple of "hide this post" clicks for those who didn't care to engage. I wrote that piece because my heart was broken. And I wrote it because I believe that Christians are capable of talking about hard things without shutting down or losing our cool.
I long for us to be better neighbors and powerful influencers of our culture. To do that, I believe that we have to get comfortable talking about uncomfortable things. We have the power of life and death on our tongues - and that in and of itself, is a scary, great responsibility.
I want to create security in this place - a blog where we'll get a little uncomfortable within the safety net of community. Because that's when change happens. Because that's GRIT. If we don't grow together, I suppose we're just wandering aimlessly through time and space on the internet.
I. Me. You. We, as believers, get stuck in the middle sometimes. Either we tend to love folks while trying to avoid disagreements due to the nature of biblical, moral absolutes...
...we jump straight into "correcting" others without offering anything to those we're "advising."
We'd be Godless without love. We'd also be acting irresponsibly to only talk about the attractiveness of Christ's protection and acceptance, without warning that getting close to Him wrecks our preconceived notions of life.
It all begins with the gift of the Holy Spirit. He was left to guide, counsel, and convict us when Jesus left the earth. Why is it so hard to bridge the gap between the Christian community and the world around us?
Note these eye-opening scriptures found in 1 Cor. 2:14 and John 16:8 (Msg. version):
"But the person who is not a Christian does not understand these words from the Holy Spirit. He thinks they are foolish. He cannot understand them because he does not have the Holy Spirit to help him understand." 1 Cor. 2:14
"When he [the Holy Spirit] comes, he will convict the world, and show where right and wrong and judgment lie. He will convict them of wrong..." John 16:8
Are those GAME CHANGERS or what?!? If you've ever felt responsible to "convince." To "argue" factually. To "win" the approval and acceptance of somebody who's not grasping faith, this is exactly why! You were not made to be Holy Spirit!
What does that mean for us humans who can be so inspired by God that we desperately wish others could grasp His love too? Here's a little direction from the Bible...I hope this list will be helpful as a quick reference for you!
1. Be Gracious and Well-Intentioned
Use your heads as you live and work among outsiders. Don’t miss a trick. Make the most of every opportunity. Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out. (Colossians 4:5-6)
2. SHOW first, then tell.
Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. ACT on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like.
But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God—the free life!—even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action. (James 1:22-25)
3. Trust that God is working in all situations.
Refuse to get involved in inane discussions; they always end up in fights. God’s servant must not be argumentative, but a gentle listener and a teacher who keeps cool, working firmly but patiently with those who refuse to obey. You never know how or when God might sober them up with a change of heart and a turning to the truth, enabling them to escape the Devil’s trap, where they are caught and held captive, forced to run his errands. (2 Timothy 2:23-26)
4. Rest in the fact that God's in charge - Forever - Regardless of what happens here on Earth.
Therefore God exalted him (Jesus) to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phil. 2: 9-11)
5. Share your Faith, but back away when He says it's time.
Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19)
As you enter the home, give it your greeting. If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet. (Matt. 10:14)
At the end of the day, we can rest in the understanding that God, in our hearts, changes everything - our cares, our goals, and our conduct. Let's never forget what it was like when we encountered Jesus for the first time! Let's never forget how many questions we had and remain patient with those just beginning to ask them.
Have you decided to choose a life of faith? How did it happen? Share Below!
In Love AND Truth,
M.S. in Marriage and Family Therapy. Earns Crossfit participation trophies. Disaster cook. Enthusiastic wife. #Boymom. Clutches her faith, not her pearls.