Monday, 4 November 2013

Flattery? Or Truth? Which Shall it Be?

This has been on my mind for several months now. I notice within myself this tendency to want to flatter others because it gets me (((((((((hugs))))))))) and KUDOS back. Who doesn't "love" that? Our flesh loves flattery, both to give it and to receive it. Empty, fluffy, sweet nothings, like empty calories, that give you a momentary "buzz".

There's a difference between "encouraging" and "flattering". How can we tell the difference? When someone wears a really terrible looking dress, too low cut revealing a bit too much cleavage, too short revealing the undergarments, and you say "You look lovely! I love that dress on you!"....what's the harm right? A little "white lie" never hurt anyone, did it?

What about the "white lies" regarding the truth of God's word? It's so much easier to agree with error, and to encourage people in their delusions than to have to break it to them that the Gospel includes repentance, which means acknowledgment of the fact that even our righteousness appears to God like used menstrual pads (according to Isaiah) imagine what the rest looks like, if that is our "righteousness". Much easier to say "God loves you just as you are"....actually that is not quite what the Bible reveals. We come just as we are, He died for sinners so that He can redeem them (us) from sin.

The worst of all sins is pride, because that was the sin that caused satan to fall from God's grace. Pride keeps us from acknowledging our sin, keeps us from coming to Christ for true cleansing. It keeps us thinking that we aren't as bad as some people, so God must think we are alright. Judas was prideful, and he thought Jesus was getting it all wrong. Judas looked down on the woman who broke costly ointment on Jesus' feet because that money could have gone to feed the poor. That sounds righteous, doesn't it? I could just see the other disciples agreeing with Judas and telling Jesus "What a waste!".

When confronted with whether to stand for or against perversion, such as homosexuality, it is so much easier, and seems so much more loving too, to say "It's just a preference, there's nothing wrong with it, it's between consenting adults so live and let live".... except the Bible tells us that those who do not repent of it go to hell, so "encouraging" (flattering) people in this is encouraging them straight to hell.

The truth, on the other hand, is considered "harsh" and "unloving". To encourage someone truly, we should tell them about the cleansing fountain that is available to those who repent of their sins...even that "little sin" called pride. Pride says we know more than God, and that a little sin shouldn't  send anyone to hell...and that God is very wrong to set things up this way. Pride says the God of the Bible is an angry and vindictive being who loves to send people to hell.

Jesus showed the truth about who God really is. He is humble. He is loving. He healed all who asked Him for healing. He raised the dead. He raised Himself. He loved us enough to even lay down His humble earthen vessel on our behalf...but those who say He is hateful, vindictive, angry, etc, are those very things that they accuse God of. God is holding a mirror to their face because truly they are worshiping themselves, so their "god" truly is all that they say. But beware, if you tell them the truth, they won't love you for it. Their claws and fangs will come out all the more. Jesus had the same thing happen with the chief priests and Pharisees. The people who thought they were the most (self)righteous were also the most hateful when it was pointed out to them.

But we who are of the truth, must speak the truth, in love, because if we do not tell them they will go to hell unwarned. If you warn them and they say all manner of hateful stuff to you, REJOICE, because the same thing happened to the OT prophets and to Jesus Himself.

Let us not be flatterers. Let's tell the truth, God has given us the authority to do so, and thereby we also risk losing brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, and friends, because some of them might realize the truth, and then escape the destiny that we all deserve.

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Colossians 4:6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

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