Thursday, April 06, 2006
Truth and relationship
As Christians do we sacrifice the truth we know for the sake of relationship sometimes? This is a question that I have been letting sit in my mind for the past few days. As a youth ministry worker, and youth major at school, I am beginning to think that this is an area that Christian's often struggle with. We know the importance of relationship, and we hold it up as what ministry is. After all, is it not in close relationship that we build the trust and foundation in which we can best share God's truth with others? But even so, I have just acknowledged that this relationship has the purpose of sharing truth. So really, our main objective is not the deepness of our relationship,but rather the truth we are speaking into another person's life (youth pastor into youth, for example). Sometimes this truth hurts, and will create distance in, or even destroy a relationship with the person we are speaking truth into. Yet, it is my belief that if you are sacrificing truth for the sake of a relationship, then the relationship is not healthy in the first place, in fact in some aspects, the relationship has already been destroyed. It is a relationship based on fear, rather then truth. We are scared that God's truth might just sound a bit to harsh, and if we teach it, without smoothing off the edges a bit first, without glossing over the stuff that could possibly offend, then we may just lose our opportunity to speak into this persons life at another time. But when we do this, when we water down God's truth for the sake of saving our friendship (or mentoring relationship in the case of youth)we are stepping out of our role. Our role is a role of trust. We must trust that in presenting God's full truth; the unabridged, and dare I say it, sometimes offensive truth, that He will speak into that youth. If that person is offended and walks away from the church, it will be the work of the Holy Spirit that will bring that person back, not us. We are also making the implication that this young person is to weak and unwilling to stand in God's firm truth. If we are implying this, then we are implying that God cannot give this person the strength he or she needs. It is foolish for us to wonder why so many people, especially young people are unwilling to stand up for their Christian faith, when we have taken the strength out of it, when we have watered it down. We make God's sword into a dull butter knife. Who, in all human existence, has ever wanted to stand up for weakness, for the easy route? We preach tolerance before truth, false friendship before God honoring relationship. Christ in his love, never sacrificed truth in order to bring people to himself. We too must also recognize that if we want to truly build God honoring relationships,real relationships of love and trust, then we will, and must offend others at times for the sake of speaking into their lives. We cannot reflect Christ without being offensive.