Friday, June 19, 2015

Balancing Mercy and Truth

"Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other." Psalm 85:10
"For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations." Psalm 100:5
"For thy mercy is great above the heavens: and thy truth reacheth unto the clouds." Psalm 108:4
"Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart." Proverbs 3:3
"Mercy and truth preserve the king: and his throne is upholden by mercy." Proverbs 20:28
Mercy and Truth. Two important characteristics of God, and components for sharing the Gospel.
I think it is time that this subject be addressed. I'm not the expert by any means, nor the authority. God and His Word should be our only authority on any subject.
I am seeing this problem so much amongst Christians, and it even appears in my own life in daily affairs. But the biggest area I see this problem arise is in the area of sharing the Gospel.


The Problem: Balancing Mercy and Truth

I know a lot of passionate soul winners, who are desirous to share the truth of God's Word and His glorious Gospel with everyone. And that is just fantastic! We need more people who are truly passionate and desirous to share the only Hope that this world has through Jesus Christ!
But here is the underlying problem that I see in a lot of passionate soul winners. No love. No mercy. They focus so much on the truth of the Gospel, and God's righteousness, that they forget to bring in His love and mercy.
What does this look like? "Repent. You know you are a sinner." "You are suppressing the truth of God in your heart." "Why are you rejecting God?"
There is absolutely nothing wrong with any of these phrases in witnessing. But where is the love in those phrases? What about "For God so LOVED the world..." Not "For God is so righteous compared to the world that He gave His only begotten Son..." No! Why did God send His Son? First and foremost BECAUSE of His LOVE for us!
I hear so many Christians passionately preaching the truth of God's righteousness, and the need to repent. But I don't hear those same Christians preaching about why we even have the option of living eternally in the presence of God.
Now, before I go any further, I will say this. You can go too far to the other side, and say that "God is all love! You can sin all you want, because God will forgive you." Yes, God will forgive you, but grace and God's love are never a license to sin.
Remember --- "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?" Romans 6:1-2

There needs to be a balance!

First, in each of the verses quoted at the top, mercy and truth are mentioned together. Where do unbelievers get all the impressions that Christians are a bunch of haters? Well, I hate to say this, but I think a lot of times it is from Christians themselves! Some Christians just get so passionate about preaching God's righteousness, that they almost come across as sounding argumentative, and maybe even a little hateful, even though they are not intending to come across that way.
Second, in all of those verses, mercy is always mentioned BEFORE truth. So maybe this is how it should be in our approach in witnessing.
Let's show the world that we are different by our love, and then show them the truth that we possess. Instead of pointing out there sin, and always talking about God's righteousness, we need to start balancing the truth with mercy and love.
So how do we do that? First, show the unbeliever a loving person, who is patient and kind in conversations, especially when presenting the Gospel. Show them a warm smile, a friendly personality. Show them Christ's love, before you show them their sin.
Then when you are speaking the truth of the Gospel to them, they will be more receptive when you are loving, and not argumentative. You should still be firm in what you believe, but do so in a gentle manner.
"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:" 1 Peter 3:15
What does this look like?
--- God loves you so much! Do you know how much He loves you?
--- He sent His only Son to die for you!
--- Why did His Son have to die?
--- God is a Holy and Righteous God. That means He is completely perfect. Without any sin.
--- Because God is Holy and Righteous, He cannot allow any sin in His presence.
--- But because God loves you SO much, He has provided a way for you to become holy, because He wants you to spend eternity in HIS PRESENCE and not separated from His Presence.
--- Christ died, because He wanted to pay the price for your sin (Romans 6:23).
--- All you have to do to become holy is to accept the price Christ has paid for you, and to repent from your sins and turn to Christ.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, please do not forget to show one of the most important aspects of who God is. His Love. If it were not for God's love, He would not have sent His Son to die for us, BECAUSE of His righteousness.
I know this has been long, but I pray it has been worth the time you took to read it, because this has burdened my heart for some time now. I pray that each of you, my brothers and sisters, will shine forth the love of Christ in your lives, so that unbelievers will want the truth that we have because of the love that we have.
Because of Jesus' Blood,
Faith Christine
Galatians 2:20; 1 Corinthians 15:10