Speaking the Truth In Love
And so it should be with us. Eating what men say or teach does not defile us. Only what comes out of our mouth defiles us. But while our conscience (stomach) is weak, we are often called out of the Church into the wilderness to live a separate life. This is as much to protect the Church from our inability to speak the truth in love as it is to keep our conscience from defilement. He removes us for a time, because the Church needs God’s protection from self-righteous overcomers who try to beat up the Church with the truth.
Is that a hard word? Well, you must recognize like Moses did that God is the One who has blinded men’s eyes to the truth. He is not nearly as concerned about their knowing the truth as we are. We think we have a tremendous obligation to force them to know the truth immediately, and so we think we must pry open their eyes even if it kills them. If you pry someone’s eyes open when they are sleeping, will they thank you and bless you? Probably not. They will probably slap your face or curse you.
Since God has blinded their eyes, we just need to ask God who is currently being unblinded, so that we are free to share the Word with them in love. We are called to speak, but only the Holy Spirit can lead men into truth (John 16:13). Do not try to force truth upon people whose ears are not yet opened by the Holy Spirit. Even if they were to hear, they would be incapable of acting upon that Word or of believing it. You would succeed only in making them responsible for a Word that is impossible for them to obey, and they would only come into further condemnation. If God Himself is not so concerned about revealing the truth to everyone at once, why should we be so concerned? Do not take responsibility for something that God is responsible to do. We make poor substitutes for the Holy Spirit.
If we could only rest in this and only do what we see our Father do, and only say what we hear our Father say, then we will be able to leave the blind and deaf alone until God is ready to unblind their eyes and unstop their ears. Yet we ought to be ready always to speak the truth in love. If we do this with an attitude of forgiveness and genuine concern, many people will recognize it right away. They usually reject a Word because it is not spoken in love. That is really what they are rejecting, because their stomachs are too weak to handle truth spoken with a wrong attitude.
I have talked to many people who have said that they tried to tell their neighbors the truth, and it had been thrown back in their faces. One person said, “I tried to tell my pastor the truth, but I was dismembered!” Well, perhaps it is not all the fault of those who rejected the truth. They cannot see until God opens their eyes. Perhaps being “dismembered” was God’s way of bringing another overcomer into the wilderness for further training.
On the other hand, if we are spiritual, if we have been in the wilderness, if we have been alone with God and have heard His voice, then we are the ones who are responsible to be mature enough, loving enough, forgiving enough, to be able to minister the truth to them in love. We are normally far more zealous than God is, far more impatient than God is, but if we truly believe that God is sovereign, we will learn to rest in Him and be concerned only with doing what we see our Father do, and saying what we hear our Father say. We will be the Amen of God, echoing only His voice, even as Jesus did (John 5:19; Rev. 3:14).