My grandmother would tell you exactly what she thought. If you didn’t want to hear it, she would tell you where you could go. Although more tact could have been employed, you knew where you stood. If we can navigate the negative emotions of dealing with the truth, the truth is usually best out in the open. Comments about whether ‘you look fat in that dress’ are best kept to ourselves, but thoughts and feelings about church finances, kitchen renovations, or why young people are leaving the church should be talked about.
Who are you going to be? What truth are you going to communicate? If we are busy trying to make people happy, we often lose our sense of self or our calling in the process. World changers like Paul, Martin Luther King, or William Wilberforce offended people because they had something important to say. It has been said that in our postmodern culture reformers can’t be permitted. The reason is that the majority opinion in culture can’t be challenged. It is immoral to tell people that what they are doing is wrong. However, somehow, environmentalism, sexual-orientation, and economics have slipped under the radar and their is a lot of moralizing in the media on those subjects. However, minority opinions are not really welcome. The myth that Christians are in the majority is outdated. The debate in the marketplace of ideas has become a rant where people often shout slogans, call each-other names, and drag up muck. It’s not really a place where truth is sought and reasonable argument is had.
Paul is bold and loving in his writing. His tone may seem harsh to those who have been coddled by an over-protective social structure and education system. However, he speaks truth and if we are secure in Christ, the truth sets us free.
14 I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another. 15 But on some points I have written to you very boldly by way of reminder, because of the grace given me by God 16 to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. 17 In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to be proud of my work for God. 18 For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience—by word and deed, 19 by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God—so that from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ; 20 and thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation, 21 but as it is written,
“Those who have never been told of him will see,
and those who have never heard will understand.”
A good word for a lot of the Church… myself included. Boldness for the cause of Christ without feeling shame. Something for me to strive for, something that sadly needs a lot of work.