Continuing from yesterday's post about James, the Discipline author, whose name I forgot to mention yesterday (F. Dean Lueking), says this:
God takes an amazing risk. God entrusts the word to the lips of God's people to speak the truth in love, to upbuild one another's faith, to speak good news when there is none.Consider first, how successful are we, as a group, in being God-like in our words and actions? Sometimes, not very successful at all. Our words can be hurtful, dishonest, destructive. They can lack compassion, understanding or grace of any kind. And yet, God trusts us to speak his word, to speak of his word, and to convince others of his grace, through what we say and do. It is amazing, and it might be one of the very most amazing things about grace.
To speak the truth in love.... Think of the challenge it is to know the truth -- to discern it in the first place. And then to speak of it, even when it might be uncomfortable or unpopular. And to do it in love -- with Godly purpose and with grace. Amazing that he has the extraordinary faith to believe we can do that.
Then, to upbuild one another's faith... Do your words, do my words, build faith in others, in myself, in yourself? Do we convince others that God is alive, that he is at work in the world, and that he loves even that person you cross the room to avoid? Do I build up that person's faith? Do I build up my own when I gossip and complain? Or do I damage my faith and the faith of others? And yet God has the faith in us to believe we can build up each other's faith.
To speak good news when there is none.... There are those situations, in death, in loss, in grief, when it is so difficult to know what to say and what to do. How can there be good news? If there is, how can we begin to speak of it in the face of pain? It is such a challenge to me to know how to be grace, how to spread grace, how to encourage grace, when loss is so big. And yet God has the amazing faith in us to believe that we can speak good news in those situations.
It is an incredible risk that God takes with his truth, entrusting it into our hands.