Saturday, July 26, 2008

What Would /Did Jesus Do?--Language Continues

The other day I read my previous post to a Christian. She reacted the way that most Christians would. "Lacey was honest but she was cruel. That wasn't a loving thing for her to do. There's a place for honesty, but you can't go around hurting people's feelings."

Now, I'm not sure I agree with that. In the story, Lacey had a special gift, a strength from the Holy Spirit, in order to over come the huge social mores that forbid us from speaking honestly. I've tried to speak honestly, no where near the level that Lacey did, and I have suffered from it. I've made a lot of Christians mad.

I'm also not talking about being honest in the way that we are attacking others more directly rather than with veiled attacks that we normally do. Lacey was very transparent with her own weaknesses (like praying that she would not covet other women's husbands). When I speak honestly about my own failures, people are offended. It is strange. We all say that we are fallen, but when I speak of specifics, they see me as more fallen than everyone else . . . when I am just trying to be honest. As our Navigator boss on the mission field said to me once, "Mike, the way you speak, you come across as a very immature Christian."

But let us take it to Jesus. If my premise is right, that in our fallen selves we misuse language to cover our failures and to push others down, then Jesus must have done things very differently. But, if He has perfect love, he must have been the prime example of speaking honestly but in love.

I think if we turn to John 4, and read about his conversation with the woman at the well, he was very honest but not cruel. Sure, the woman must have been embarrassed about Jesus knowing about her sexual escapades. But this didn't drive her away, but made her want Jesus more. If He knew her so well, He would be able to "heal" her.

If Jesus walked into my house and sat down. Then rather than talking about his accomplishments or trying to put me down with veiled "spiritual" wording (in which I would tempted to fight back), Jesus looked me in the eye, smiled and said some very revealing and honest things about me, even if they were about my failures, I think I would want to get to know the guy better.

So, the last of my little experiments on this topic of language, I'm going to go back to the prayer breakfast with Lacey, Jake, John and Melvin . . .then have Jesus come and sit down. Stay tuned.

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