It is difficult for me to write on cultural issues. Not because I lack interest, but because I rather not confront some of the moral dilemmas of our world. It is far easier to focus on making people comfortable through focusing posts on elements that encourage. Challenging cultural thought is difficult and has a way of drawing critics. But should that stop us from speaking the truth?
As Christian we have a duty to speak truth. The gospel message itself is a message of truth. This often means confronting our broken humanity. A strategy commonly implored by many is people must recognize they are lost before they can be saved. Yet it is difficult choosing the moments to voice these truths, namely because the temperature of culture is turned up so high—and social media as well as the internet is not making this any easier. So when you hold a position that goes against the cultural norm, it has a tendency to get heated fast.
We as Christians speak truth not because we want to be right, but because we believe that truth-telling can set people free.
1. Focus on the gospel
Focus on the redemptive gospel. This needs to be on the forefront of our minds as we engage culture with truth—whether its political, cultural, moral, or anything else. We as Christians speak truth not because we want to be right, but because we believe that truth-telling can set people free. This is at the center of the gospel message: reconciliation to God and his goodness. But when we share truth with the goal of being right, then we can find ourselves in trouble. That is, being right is not always right. At first glance this may seem to be a contradiction, but we’ve all experienced a moment when someone gave us the right advice in the wrong situation. The classic phrase, “I told you so,” does not always help bring people to truth.
2. Don’t put people into a naturally defensive position
When the motivations of telling people truth is to be right, it lacks genuine love and concern—and people will pick up on this! Jesus as the prime example of a truth teller, was willing to confront people where they were at, but it was always done with the goal of reconciliation and love. He understood his mission was to be a physician to the sick, so he reached out into their context by entering their story and offering a way for forgiveness and redemption. Yet so many people focus on using truth as a hammer of judgment that it ironically fails to make an impact.
Once someone feels attacked, they shut down and the walls are put up. They will dig their feet deeper into the ground holding onto their belief because you have put them into a feeling of me versus you position.
Without a heart of love and some good tact, you will put people into a naturally defensive position. Once someone feels attacked, they shut down and the walls are put up. They will dig their feet deeper into the ground holding onto their belief because you have put them into a feeling of me versus you position. So what can you do? Put simply, you can remember your story of grace and recognize the person you’re engaging with as someone God loves and wants to reach (See 1 Corinthians 13:1-13).
We tend to forget the work that Jesus has done in our lives. Take time to remind yourself of where you were before knowing the truth of the gospel. Don’t let this transformation escape you because it was a beautiful work of grace. When communicating with people hold onto that sentiment because it will help you make bridges to where they are instead of making people feel hopeless. And this isn’t just with sharing the gospel message, but it pertains to sharing any message of truth you are attempting to communicate within the Christian worldview.
3. How can I better communicate truth?
Here are some simple questions you can ask to help share the way you communicate with others.
· Have you thought through what you’re speaking on?
· Is what you have said communicated well and represent the issue at hand?
· Will it be easily misrepresented or interpreted?
· Are you more concerned with being right than the person you are engaging with?
· Do you care about the person you are engaging with?
· Is the way you are communicating diminish the gospel imperative?
The above questions are important and should run through your mind as you communicate. And while there are times when you may not be fully certain of the appropriateness of your voice, you must remain humble and honest. This means taking time to reflect on the way you communicate, being willing to change, and most importantly being willing to say sorry.
We cannot be afraid as free thinkers to share our views, but we must be careful by weighing our words and gauging the moment with wisdom as we remain focused on the redemptive imperatives of the gospel.