How Christians Can Have Hard Conversations in Love
- 2017 Dec 02
The other day I posted a status update which wasn’t quite in line with my typical word sharing. It’s one I wondered about later. I wondered if it was wise or foolish, brave or stupid, and if I should have left alone the current hot topic of the day altogether. In the end, it wasn’t really a fit for my overall online presence but God used it to bring about something beautiful. For that I am truly grateful.
There are appropriate times for silence as well as times for a resounding voice. Knowing when to use which requires wisdom and discernment. The source of which is God.
My hope and prayer for all of us who call ourselves followers of Christ is that we will actually follow Christ. That we will learn to recognize His voice and faithfully run a race which honors Him.
I also recognize that how we do this varies, not because God varies but because our understanding is limited and rooted in so many factors, like personal experiences, strengths, weaknesses, spiritual growth, emotional growth, communication styles, fear, freedom and I could go on.
We all miss something about the way God works and who He is because we are finite and he is infinite. God is vast, beyond measure and no number of books, words, or video could ever explain Him fully.
“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been known.” ~ I Corinthians 13:12
Then, in our future home, we will know. Perhaps we will all realize how little we know now.
No matter what we think we know.
When I posted my status, I realized that it, in and of itself, it was unnecessary and not helpful for the overall vision I have with my presence on social media. In addition, I do not wish to engage in division among Christians. I do not wish to engage in verbal volleyball which becomes increasingly fierce and rarely concludes with any one winning.
I do, however, wish to write with passionate, bold humility about the things of Christ which I have come to know and which cause me to fall more in love with Him and experience greater freedom in Him.
Later, I posted a follow up status. Partially, I wrote to clarify why I stated what I did previously, but more importantly, I wrote a plea asking us all to remember that we are first and foremost called to love Christ. We are called to love others as we love Christ. In doing so, we must remember that we are all created in the image of Christ and we are all broken reflections of that image.
We need Christ’s work in our hearts. When we seek transformation personally we become a more beautiful reflection to the world collectively.
Pointing the fingers at each other and making snarky, snide, prideful comments in no way brings glory to Christ, no matter which side of an issue we stand on.
Some of us can and should speak our view points on hot topic issues. Some of us should refrain.
All of us can, and should, explore hard conversations lovingly in relationship with others. Not because we need to pursue the acceptance of our points, but because we pursue God who has accepted us. Therefore, we also pursue others.
We do so while recognizing we don’t have all the answers and neither do they. There is one source of truth – God.
We need the powerful love of the Father, the crazy redemptive sacrifice of the Son and the unbelievable powerful empowerment of the Holy Spirit. Daily. Minute by minute.
With this in mind, we can still misunderstand aspects of God’s Word while His truth remains unchangeable and His love steadfast forever. We must keep this in mind as we have conversations with one another in the love of Christ.
What does this look like?
My best understanding is that these three things helps us have conversations in love:
- Humility – recognizing who we are as a broken, flawed, human beings whose best attempts at righteousness are like filth to God.
- Boldness – recognizing who we are as a righteous, redeemed, creations of God, seen by the Father through the sacrifice of the Son.
- Respect – recognizing who others are as both broken and flawed beings whom God loves and desires to spend eternity with
Bold humility seems contrary doesn’t it? Yet, that’s how God is. His ways are mysterious, but they work and they are best.
God delights in His creation. He calls us all into the state of knowing our brokenness and resting in His righteousness.
Broken & redeemed.
Regardless of personal views on the numerous hot topic causing division today, let’s remember we are all creations of our Creator. We are all flawed and beautiful at the same time.
Going forward it is unlikely I’ll say much, if anything, on hot topic issues. Not because I’m afraid to talk about it, but because I prefer to talk in person. I prefer to see someone’s eyes and to hear them speak from their heart as they see my eyes.
Like when I had the privilege of engage with another after my post. Let me tell you…beauty and brokenness lay bare between both of us and God met us there.
One broken conversation, bound by the love of Christ.
For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.~ Ephesians 2:18-22
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Jolene Underwood is an emotional health warrior and soul care mentor. She provides practical and spiritual support for cultivating life within the Christian soul by drawing upon her personal journey towards emotional health, her psychology background, and a passion for Christian counseling. Jolene writes regularly at JoleneUnderwood.com. She also leads a community of writers called Rise Up Writers. Her tool, Unleash : Heart and Soul Care Sheets, has helped hundreds experience greater freedom. Connect with her online via YouTube/Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest at @theJoleneU or via the Cultivated Life Newsletter.