We as Christians don’t like to be blunt. We tend to abhor confrontation, particularly within the Body of Christ. We don’t like dealing with the adult conversations in life. A discussion that is going to cause pain or discomfort should be avoided at all costs.
As much as we don’t like to admit it, Joel Osteen and his type of preacher have greatly influenced the modern church in this area. Whether they be clearly doctrinally wrong like Joel or simply heavily influenced by the gospel of positive thinking, these “I am ok, you are ok” teachers have made an outsized impact. Even those churches who have identified the false teachers for what they are have not been spared.
The picture of Christians as first of all nice, positive and encouraging above all things has radiated out from the television services of these type of preachers and been imprinted upon much of the church.
Seek to be nice and inoffensive first above all and the rest will be added to you seems to be our motto. Trying to make friends with people and avoid all confrontation seems to be the bedrock of our life here as Christians.
Shiny, happy Christians going to their shiny, happy church to listen to their shiny, happy pastor tell them that they are just peachy.
The problem is this is not real life. Jesus said we would have trouble in this life. Our time here on earth can be gritty, hard and at times painful. We can get ourselves into all sorts of trouble with sin. Even things that are not sin but are just not good for us entice us to bad, agony filled places. At times, it is only through faking things are ok can the shiny, happy facade be maintained.
Strong voices of truth from those who love one another can break through this cycle of pretending and sin. We can help each other to the abundant life that Jesus promised us. But must speak up in truth when things are bad.
We can not avoid the adult conversations even when they hurt like mad.
Now, it is very clear that we are to be kind within the Body of Christ. There is no mistake when God describes love as kind in the Bible.
But true love of the type contemplated in that same passage in 1 Corinthians 13 is described as not rejoicing in iniquity. The One who lived out that agape love to its perfection never celebrated sin. In fact, Jesus would confront a person openly and clearly about the sin that was destroying them. Not because He hated them, but exactly because He loved them.
At times Jesus was even quite blunt. Jesus ate with sinners and was friends with the worst offenders, but He never left them there in their sin. He gave people the knowlege they needed to turn from what was bad for them and follow Him. He told them what was wrong so that they could get right.
The men of the New Testament church did the same. James, Paul, and Peter among others write openly of the problems that are in the church during their day. They confront the issues themselves, even among the Apostles, and direct the churches they address to do so within their bodies. They do not mince words. They get directly to the point and hammer it home where necessary. Taking their roles as leaders in the church seriously, they deal with sin and
Taking their roles as leaders in the church seriously, they deal with sin and worldy practices that come into the Body without fear of loss of revenue or offending. They do it in love. They do it with the goal of restoring the person to the Lord. But they don’t shy away from the problem.
This is something that we need to do better in our churches today. With so many cultural influences and traps attacking us from every direction, we need people to love us enough to point out when we are sinning. We need brothers and sisters with direction from the Lord to pull us aside and point us away from the world and to Jesus.
Correcting, rebuking, teaching and training each require knowledge of the wrong way to do things before we can understand the right. Each should be done in love, in peace and with the goal of encouragement…but also clearly and yes, even bluntly.
We are not the Holy Spirit and as a result, our job is not to sniff out sin in other’s lives.
But we can help each other grow away from the sins that are destroying us. We can encourage each other to flee from the weights that are slowing down are walk with God.
We are all running a race to win the prize that the Lord laid out for us. We can never take the steps necessary for another Christian to complete their race any faster. But we can enourage them to train and give them suggestions on how to run more efficiently.
If we were setting out to run a marathon wearing a full snowsuit and parka, wouldn’t we appreciate someone telling us of our error?
Our churches should be filled with love, joy and peace. They should be happy and shine with the light of Jesus. But the Body of Christ is the people who fill the church. We are sinful and get lost. So we need to be willing to have the adult conversations necessary to nudge each other back on track when we go astray.
The more we do so and deal with issues in a loving Jesus-honoring way, the more we will actually be the shiny, happy church we were pretending to be.
5 thoughts on “We Need More Adult Conversations in the Church”
Our problem is we are more content to stay breastfed babies than any real desire to grow up into maturity. Sadly alot of Pastors are content to let us stay that way as well. We all like our therapeutic Jesus and our ability to stay on the victim side of the aisle. Only in church can you be a full grown adult and still act like a newborn baby your entire life.
Good Word Pastor!
Your comment made me think of 1 Corinthians 3:
And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. 2 I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; 3 for you are still carnal.
both for the content and the bluntness that Paul is displaying. I aspire to be that clear and Lord honoring while also being as loving.
Me too pastor. I was raised a preacher’s kid of a very blunt preacher who doesn’t mince words. The hard truth is that we don’t like confrontation, especially myself. I would rather live peacefully without the drama. However, there are times hard things must be said and hard lessons must be learned. I applaud your courage and I pray that God would give you the rock hard forehead that he gave Ezekiel. The Father above knows in this time we need truth and biblical teaching.
God Bless you and your family as you faithfully run the race.
I’m hid with Christ,
Amen! I came home from a truly outstanding message on the Parable of the 10 Virgins today with our own pastor. He dug into Scripture like I have never seen from a single sermon before with him, and it was so convicting, so discomfiting, and so on point. Then, I get home from lunch and read this from you. Two outstanding and parallel messages on one beautiful Sabbath morning. It is a good day.
It’s okay to be uncomfortable before the Lord. It’s okay to be honest about our discomfort and our failures in the safety of Christian community. That’s what church is supposed to be FOR. Lifting each other. Checking on each other. Making sure everybody’s got enough oil to light their lamp when the bridegroom comes. No naps. No lying down on the job. We can love and be loving; we can lift and be uplifting, but we must also be honest. Being honest is something more adults need to get cozy with.
Don’t you just love when God speaks to us through different things to make sure we get the message. I am always amazed that He cares and takes the time.
It’s okay to be uncomfortable before the Lord. It’s okay to be honest about our discomfort and our failures in the safety of Christian community.
Maybe the last part is what has been lacking and why people have retreated – the safety of the Christian community. Lots of Christian communities are unsafe with people attacking and judging rather than loving one another and building each other up.
Great thoughts, thanks and Praise the Lord that He is leading you where He wants you to go!