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Speak the Truth in Love

How many of you have tried to receive correction from a fellow believer, but they made you feel like a total loser in the process? Have you experienced the same thing in the world? I imagine these situations would likely come up in the workplace, with friends or acquaintances, recreational activities, etc. Well, I don’t know about you, but I have come to realize that it is not just about what you are saying. It is equally, if not more important, how you say it.

Ephesians 4:14-16 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. (NKJV)

constructive criticism

When you give someone constructive criticism, it should be with a heart that echoes, “I love you and want to see you do better and be better.” It should always be for the best interest of the person, not your own. Unfortunately, there is something about the flesh that likes to “put people in their place.” There seems to be some twisted enjoyment in belittling others and that “I’m better than you” tone often times surfaces. I am thankful for people who are sensitive enough to go out of their way to consider other people’s feelings and emotions.

Now I know that some of you might be squirming because you might be thinking that I’m encouraging “coddling” or “sugar-coating” the issues when confronting or ministering to someone. Please be assured that that couldn’t be further from the truth. I know all too well that coddling and babying folks doesn’t work. If we love someone or at least have their best interests at heart, we tell them the truth no matter how hard it may be. These types of situations can even result in the loss of a friendship, but we have to trust the Lord even more. The Word even endorses a sharp rebuke, but it doesn’t endorse belittling and making people feel like crap.

Titus 1:13 This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, (NKJV)

People are going to naturally be offended by the truth. We can’t do anything to control that. However, when the truth is not spoken in love, it does more damage than good. The individual who needs to hear the truth is unable to because of how it was presented to them. Whether it is a nasty disposition, a mocking/taunting attitude, unnecessary facial expressions and body language, those things can get in the way of the person hearing the truth in their hearts. In essence we actually end up trying to play the Holy Spirit and the result often times is that the person gets hurt even more than before because of how they were addressed. Now I do want to clarify that a sharp rebuke is still supposed to be done in love. The problem comes in when one talks down to people instead of talking with them. We have to remember that the truth in itself is already going to hurt them to a degree. Truth does not need our help to get its point across.

I can recall various times when I have heard pastors and ministers in church talk about people with specific issues and it didn’t feel like ministry at all. There words and taunts might have been laced with Scripture, but they did not lead to godly sorrow, which leads to true repentance. The spirit in which they operated brought on belittlement and shame. There is a huge difference between the two! It is hard to receive truth and/or correction when someone is talking down to you and treating you like you are beneath them. Sometimes you can unconsciously do this and not be aware of it. I know I have done this over the years and it was brought to my attention a number of times. Thank God I have a changed heart and now I go out of my way to make sure that I’m showing people the proper level of respect when it comes to ministering or just giving constructive criticism. From personal experience, I can receive harsh correction from someone if I believe that they are coming from a sincere and loving heart. But if someone is talking at me and making me feel like some kind of idiot or even resorting to name-calling, it becomes nearly impossible to receive what is being spoken to me. At that point, I don’t even believe that it is necessarily correction. It’s just a form of bullying.

bullying

God shows us new mercies every day. He is more than patient with us, as well as gentle with us. He will chastise and rebuke, but He never does it in a way to trash or demean us. After all, He is The Father. No father would hurt his children in that way, at least not intentionally. So let’s all follow the example of Paul and remember to do our best to speak the truth to others with a spirit of love.

Nathan Allen Copyright ©2013

 

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Jerry Sandusky: The Disaster of Hidden Sin

Jesus Christ stated Himself that “What is in the dark will come into the light.” (Paraphrasing) This is why it is important to be honest with ourselves about our secret faults and hidden sins because involuntary exposure is usually not pretty at all. Unfortunately, that giant called PRIDE will make us keep our issues a secret or even swim down that river called DENIAL. (The Nile) We even tell ourselves that we will eventually change and we minimize our issues, sinking hopelessly into major deception. But of course, eventually the brown stuff hits the fan and the problem is magnified before those around you. Redemption is now going to be an uphill climb and you’re so deep in shame that you either sink back in fear, or run towards REPENTANCE as if your very life depends on it.

We all must realize that when hidden sin is never dealt with, the fallout has a domino effect. In the situation with the Penn State University sex scandal case, those dominos may still be falling years and years from now. Jerry Sandusky was the defensive coordinator for the university football team that had built a well-known tradition of being one of America’s great college programs. Joe Paterno was the head coach for sixty-one years and became the face of the university. Well, both of these men’s glory has come to a miserable end. As you probably know, Jerry Sandusky now awaits his sentencing after being found guilty of multiple counts of child molestation, and Joe Paterno died in the midst of this scandal as it rocked the air waves around the world. The volcano of sin erupted and it is still spewing lava and ashes. Several boys had been molested by Sandusky on the Penn State campus over a period of years. When Joe Paterno became aware of this activity, he chose to protect the program and did not take the necessary actions to ensure that an investigation was launched swiftly, which could have spared some young boys from the abuse. Sadly, college football is big business in this country and the Penn State program had way too much to lose. Reputation, millions upon millions of dollars and Saturday home games with fans filling one of the three largest football stadiums in the country were all more important than the lives of the young victims. Well, what they thought they were covering up has now come back to haunt them. It’s just like when a dead body surfaces and has all kinds of forensic evidence that leads the investigators to the killer.

The Penn State University sex scandal is still hot in the media and now the football program is going to suffer some extremely stiff penalties as a result. The university has just been fined sixty million dollars, the football program will get no post-season play for the next four years and it will lose twenty scholarships for the next four years as well. This is going to be DEVESTATING. I’m sure that home game attendance may suffer some for the time being. Penn State has the second largest football stadium in the country. Think about the surrounding businesses like hotels, restaurants, etc. who probably make a significant amount of their profits during football season. They are likely going to see a plunge in sales this next season and for several more. The effects will be staggering! I can already imagine that many high school recruits will see no choice but to pass up this once great program for other opportunities. I also believe that high school kids in the state of Pennsylvania may no longer want to attend this school as a result of this scandal. The university may also lose top donors and sponsors, and the number of potential civil suits from the victims and other entities that will likely be filed is SCARY. But all of this is due to HIDDEN SIN! One man’s secrets have affected millions of people! True enough, Joe Paterno’s actions play a part in this because he chose his friendship with Jerry Sandusky over doing what most sensible people would have done in reporting the child abuse and molestation. As a result, he just went from being the most winning coach in college football history to 12th all time because all wins from 1998 to the present are now considered vacated on the record books. The Apostle Paul said that it is sin to not do what we should. Joe Paterno’s legacy has now been tarnished forever and his INACTION victimized others. Penn State University now has an uphill battle in regaining its reputation and maybe even in recovering financially.

Jerry Sandusky has ruined his family name and I have strong empathy for his relatives. And while we should certainly be praying for his victims, his family needs just as much prayer because they have been victimized, just in a different way. The actions of this man have traumatized so many lives, and it is now surfacing that he has been molesting children long before his actions on the Penn State campus. History now will only regard him as a pedophile. What are supposed to be the golden years of his life will now be spent in prison. His golden years will now be aluminum foil, if even that…

So when did this all begin? I tell folks all the time that the guys who get caught trying to meet up with underage minors on that show “To Catch a Predator” are really no different than the average man. People like to believe that something is inherently wrong with these men, but I don’t believe that. These guys were just like me and countless others at one point in their lives. They probably had issues with self-pleasure, fornication and pornography just like most men. It’s just that their sin issues never got dealt with and somehow a crucial door opened to their hearts at the perfect time in the midst of their sin. The enemy and his demonic forces came in and darkened their hearts. Jerry Sandusky fits perfectly into this category. Imagine what could have happened had he gotten help a long time ago. Granted, I don’t know what his beliefs are but his secret sins/desires could have been dealt with if he would have been honest with himself and someone he trusted. Sadly those chances ran out a long time ago…

The good news is that you and I still have a window of opportunity to be made whole. The Lord is very patient and He is extending His grace to all of us. His grace is sufficient. The truth is that there are resources around us if we really, truly want help. There are various ministries available to us that God has put in place to heal the broken and set the captives free. The power of the blood of Jesus is real and the battle is already won! And get ACCOUNTABLE! So many people professing to be in the body of Christ have rejected accountability even though the Bible is full of examples. The Word says and I’m paraphrasing “iron sharpens iron.” The first part of Proverbs 27:6 states that “faithful are the wounds of a friend.” Unfortunately, there is this demon called PRIDE that seeks to hide instead of to confide. No matter the situation, I would rather be embarrassed in front of someone who sincerely loves and cares about me than be embarrassed on the six o’clock news! Can I get an “Amen?”

Sin is just like a sore that eventually starts to fester. Then infection manifests and it begins to spread around the body. Before we know it, now certain internal organs are infected and it becomes a life or death situation. The man who is addicted to pornography eventually becomes a rapist or some other form of a pervert. The person with the out-of-control temper eventually kills someone in a fit of rage. The person who tells “white lies” eventually embezzles money from their place of employment. The person with secret, dark desires becomes a serial killer. The person experimenting with marijuana or other “party drugs” moves onto heroin or crack because the “highs” weren’t high enough. These scenarios have played in the lives of many people, so we can’t lie to ourselves believing that it will never happen to us. Even worse, multiple lives are hurt and destroyed in all of these scenarios. Your sin does not affect just you! So let’s please take hold of the Heavenly Father’s hand that He is extending to us. Be honest with yourself and with Him. Expose yourself to the people that God has placed in your life and confess your sins. Jesus instructed the man with the wounded hand to stretch it out before he could be healed. (See Mark 3:1-5) In other words, it had to be exposed before it could be healed. It could not remain hidden! Jerry Sandusky will probably never get redemption in his lifetime and now his only hope is to somehow work out his soul salvation before he takes his last breath. However, it is not too late for you and I. We can still sit in the mercy seat and be made whole… Take care and God bless!

 
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Posted by on July 23, 2012 in Spirituality

 

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