Over the past months, I’ve struggled with what I call being “snarky“. You know – demanding things be done according to rules of etiquette and other societal and business rules as well. And when they are not – I have a difficult time being humanly gentle and understanding.
I guess one would call this another “confession”. I’ve prayed over and about the situation and it occurs to me that as believing persons; we are often too gentle and understanding! We’ve become much like the rest of society in being politically correct so as not to hurt feelings.
Yet is this the way believers ought be?
On several occasions I’ve mentioned a great book written by Robert Schuller, “Tough Minded Faith for Tender Hearted People“. In other words, the God-given ability to speak the truth from a place of genuine concern for others (the “tender heart”). It’s true that we are not to bruise the tender reed; but we also are not to let others continue in ways that are ultimately detrimental to them. Toughing our minds in ways that permit us to speak from a tender heart.
Jesus was not a P.C. person! He spoke the truth regardless of how it might impact others. The Pharisees took the heat from His lips because they laid heavy burdens on the backs of the people. For no other reason than to feather their nests. Jesus called them “whitened sepulchers” which translated in today’s terms means empty suits. He judged behavior and called it exactly what it was!
Yet, today’s believers are told “don’t judge”. So we don’t. We don’t even call a spade a spade when we know it’s a spade. We dare not do so lest others accuse us of “judging“.
We are told to model ourselves after “Jesus tender, meek and mild. He was anything but meek and mild! Before His Father perhaps – but not before the populace. When He said say yes when you mean yes and no when you mean no – He meant it! Anything else is garbage.
We have a modern day model. Reverends Billy and Franklin Graham. The junior Graham speaks out with facts and truth and let’s the chips fall where they may. With firm, but soft voice, He addresses both the church and individuals with the truth of how it is we live and conduct our business. And yes – he’s accused of “judging”.
Here’s a fact about “judging”. We are not to judge persons. But we are called to judge behavior. If it were not so, how would we ever admonish another to change behavior that hurts them – and others? The church – and I mean a body of believers; not institutional denominational religious factions – is called to care enough for each other to call a spade a spade because we have a tender heart for each other!
Yet we don’t because our minds have not yet toughened to the task!
Trust me, I include myself in the mix. I’ve been praying over a personal familial matter for months. I know what is eventually asked of me, but I hold back because it’s family. Yet when I pray and envision speaking the truth to a person who is not emotionally healthy; I hear heaven applauding. Reminds me of the scene in the film “The Color Purple” when one of the female characters speaks her truth to a male who abused her for years – then gains the courage to walk away.
We live in a world that values political correctness. And when we don’t adhere to P.C.; we are called to task. Most often because we are believers. To speak the truth to others in as much love as we can muster is not valued – by society – but most especially by our religious bodies. No matter the label the body wears – it’s all about being politically correct in order to protect denominational turf! The “church” is as guilty of saying yes when it means no as the secular world! And the secular world has decided that we as modelers of Jesus are to be ‘tender, meek and mild’.
Before PAPA, yes – humble, meek and mild. But before men and women we profess to love – no. He calls us to be tough enough to speak the truth in love. A love that is not sloppy agape; but a love that calls a spade a spade for no other reason than we want PAPA’s best for them.
And such love calls for tough-mindedness. The kind that sits on its haunches and speaks the truth no matter the outcome. Is that easy? He_ _ no! It’s one of life’s most difficult challenges. One thing when it’s a business associate, coaching client or a committee member. Quite another when it’s child, mom, best friend, spouse or church congregation.
I write this because I feel it’s a “heavenly mandate” to do so. I feel compelled to say that we must toughen our minds to the point of abiding by saying “yes” when we mean it. And “no” the same. We must be willing to “judge” destructive behavior while accepting the risk that accompanies it. And we must accept the call to correct our sisters and brothers as PAPA directs.
It’s one thing for Franklin Graham to speak as an individual. It’s quite another when core groups of us – especially women of faith – gain the courage to speak as a group. Speak from enlightened, toughened minds that do so because our heart has been tenderly kneaded by our loving PAPA.
Love does “judge”. And in so doing, brings a truth that benefits those who have ears to hear and hearts that receive. It never condemns the person. But condemns behavior that harms self and others.
Love is tough! And we are called to such “tough love“. Anything less falls short of the mandate to “love others as we love ourselves“. And speak the truth, but do so from a tender, loving heart!
Linda S. Fitzgerald, CEO & Visionary Partner
Champion of Ordinarily Extraordinary Women of the World
A Women’s Place Network, Inc. dba
Affiliated Women International
Empowering Women of Faith to thrive
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://fbcdn-profile-a.akamaihd.net/hprofile-ak-xap1/v/t1.0-1/p160x160/10933880_10152999878054264_1749306739390848122_n.jpg?oh=3b9b3e144f0b306aa0cc748b03d9dd6a&oe=55550352&__gda__=1432002183_d9a5e0b3a35fc3cfbbe66ed7bc7658c9[/author_image] [author_info]My passion is to see women become all they are designed to be – personally, professionally and most of all – spiritually. I write, teach, mentor and coach with that passion in mind. As an author and prolific blogger, I reach out to women in all walks of life, especially women of faith to empower and equip them for greatness. [/author_info] [/author]