“Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.” Ja. 5:19-20
I had a friend once who used to challenge people with stuff. She would ask challenging questions and deliver tough messages. She didn’t hold back, in my opinion anyway. I was the recipient of some of her challenges. Like lots of others in her life. She stopped challenging people with stuff, like questions. Because she’s with the Lord now. The Lord she lived and breathed for when she was on this earth. The Lord who called her to be a bearer of truth. Of His Truth. One day she told me I was a Truth bearer. Seems the Lord gave her a glimpse of my future, of what He was calling me into. Back then, I was more often on the receiving end of being challenged. With tough questions and such. Now it’s different. Now I’m bearing Truth. His. God has in fact called me to be a Truth bearer. And to challenge people with stuff, including challenging questions. Some people think love should always be soft, gentle, sweet, kind, comfortable, easy, secure, and familiar, lighthearted, fluffy, easygoing, nice, and tender to the flesh. Sometimes love is exactly that, but I’ve learned real, genuine love, God’s love, Christ’s love, love through Christ, can also be gritty, hard, convicting, challenging. More than anything, it’s True.
This is the kind of love some of us resist, push away, hide from, run from, hate, duck under, shy away from, rebel against, etc. Oh, but if we only understood. God loves us so much He wants us in fellowship with Him forever through faith in and devotion to Christ, and obedience to His Word. He loves us so much He wants to grow us in His image, conform us to His Son Jesus, and prepare us for eternity with Him. By His Spirit. Through His Truth. His Word. When we run from and rebel against the challenging questions and messages He sometimes sends us through His human messengers, we miss out on what He wants to show us and change in us in His desire to make us ever more like Jesus.
One day a loved one who for years had resented the way I challenged him with questions and God’s Truth, who much of the time had resisted and rebelled, essentially said, “Thank you for loving me so much you’ve had the courage over the years to tell me the Truth that nobody else had the courage to tell me.” I hadn’t challenged him with human questions and worldly wisdom, but with tough questions and messages I believe the Lord had given me for him. He was able in retrospect to see God’s love, and mine. Rather than resist and rebel when God sends us tough questions and messages through His human messengers, may we humble ourselves, be thankful, and respond to Him with love and obedience.