Did Mom Have It Wrong?

We all had the same instruction. When you were a toddler you struggled through understanding right and wrong. And you were always told to never lie. To be honest and tell the truth. So you would. You would tell the truth to whoever and wherever. But there was a problem that developed: you told the honest truth even if it was hurtful. You may have told someone they were ugly, fat, you didn't like them, they were slow, didn’t want to play with them etc. Possibly you were guests at someone's house and you didn't like the food prepared and you expressed as much. Then your mother would give you that “look” for what you said. And you can already sense right now what came out of her mouth: “If you don’t have something nice to say, then don’t say anything at all!” Maybe it wasn’t your mother, but we’ve all been told this at some point in our childhood. And it makes sense, for as far as it goes. While we should be honest, we shouldn’t be mean. We are called to love our neighbors, including our enemies. We don’t want to raise little brats that are rude and crass even if they are technically right in what they say. It is this premise that may have neutered the evangelism of the modern church.
This premise was brought forth by one of the speakers in the conference I attended this past week and I thought it was pretty thought provoking. Think about this: if there is anything anyone doesn’t like, they say they're “offended”. It is like the catch all word to get someone to stop saying something they don't want to hear.  Modern man does not want to be told they are wrong. Why is this? Because they don’t like being told anything different. Whatever “wrong” thing you talk about, they instead label as “offensive”. And today offending someone is considered a great wrong. It is held at such high esteem, like you violently attacked them. The pressure is all around us to not offend at all costs. So what do many Christians do? Stay quiet. If speaking these things is “offensive” then we shouldn’t say anything. Because….if you don’t have something nice to say, then do not say anything at all.  And the world says that what we have to say is not nice! It’s offensive. So many christians are hesitant and hold back speaking boldly the things of God . Many christians keep quiet because what they have to say may “offend” someone.
Now to be clear, I am not promoting that christians should be rude. You can be arrogant, blunt, impolite, or boorish when you speak and that is wrong. Your mannerisms and tone should always be gracious and loving. But this is not what I am talking about. What I am talking about is when a christian simply states what they believe to be right and wrong the world will say it is offensive. Our position is offensive.The world hates our viewpoint and perspective. They will then guilt us all the more by putting many degrading labels on us. When Kansas City kicker Harrison Butker spoke at a Catholic college about the importance of motherhood, many women were “offended”. When someone may say that the LGBTQ agenda is not godly, everyone says that is offensive. And the world does this to keep the christian silent. And many are. And why? Well, should a christian be offensive? After all, if you don’t have something nice to say then don't say it at all, right? Wrong!
When anyone speaks the truth, they may not like to hear it. That doesn’t necessarily mean it still shouldn't be said. Because of political correctness everyone is pretty much offended about everything. This in turn will make many Christian’s  keep their opinions to themselves. But we should not concede in this way. For telling the truth is loving. It is loving to tell someone that they are out of favor with God and that He has provided a way for their salvation. If a house was leaking gas and you just left to save yourself and kept quiet for everyone else to die, that would not be very loving. Even if they said you were offensive for mentioning you smelled gas. So too we must not be silent about sin and salvation. Will we be hated? Possibly. Will people not like what we have to say? Probably. Will we be persecuted? Maybe. But to truly love someone is to not care about yourself more than them. This is why we are called to die to ourselves. Mom was only partially right. You may have to say something not nice to truly show love to someone.

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