HOUSMAIL HM#077 - LET YOUR SPEECH BE GRACIOUS TO ALL                                                 9 July 2001

We are to STRIVE to live at peace with all men. (Heb 12:14)

We are to be gracious, and to speak graciously, to all men.(Col 4:6) And that means even when we differ radically from them!

Alas! -- sad experience testifies that many who hear the true Abrahamic Gospel from us will NEVER return that favor!!! And, down through the centuries, many of our brethren have paid the price in blood!


Sadly -- immature believers are not yet always successful in that either! Going the "second mile" in those cases, means that those who have already grown a little more, must learn to be patient with others who are "slow growers" -- admonishing (=warning) them, if necessary. (Matt 18:15; Col 3:16) Always of course, having already removed the "beam" from their own eye first!


There are some fundamental issues of discipleship, which seem to bring out the worst in those who find themselves "challenged", but remain determined not to listen or change. Sometimes it doesn't seem to matter how graciously it is said. Even Jesus was rejected by the "Mainstream Churches" of His day, and He warned us to expect no better. (John 15:18-27)

The accuser and his (human) angels, have many tactics to silence "uncomfortable" preaching!!

* Sometimes it will be the terribly twisted "Ahab Accusation"! Remember? Ahab accused ELIJAH
   of being the problem in Israel!!! "Is it you, you troubler of Israel"? (1 Kings 18:17)
* Sometimes the "Zedekiah Complex" will surface! -- "Which way did the Spirit of the LORD go
   from ME to speak to YOU"? (2 Chron 18:23)
* Or the "Sanhedrin Syndrome -- "We told you not to preach THAT!" (Acts 5:29)
* And sometimes the charge of "extreme", or "exclusive", or "sectarian", can be levelled, to cloud
In the face of any of those accusations, it is ALWAYS OUR RESPONSIBILITY to ensure that in all honesty of conscience before God, our motive is "We must obey God rather then men." (Acts 5:29) and "We love our neighbor as ourselves".

And then let us count the cost -- faithfully following the example of Peter, until, praise God, it can be TRUTHFULLY said of US -- "You have filled Jerusalem with your teaching ....." (Acts 5:28)

There remains one problem. How do we know when it is time to finally escalate the preaching to the level of concern for the salvation of our hearers, which dares to say -- "You are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness"? (Matt 23:29)

And how do we ever do THAT while still speaking graciously to all men?

I don't know the answer to that. I confess that I may have been tempted to THINK it sometimes! But it is a VERY serious thing to actually say it! Until we do know HOW and WHEN, we should refrain.

When Jesus said that, He was committing Himself yet again to another facet of the Cross, when He left us that inspiring example of what it really means to MAINTAIN GRACE AND GRACIOUSNESS TOWARDS EVEN THE MOST DETERMINED ENEMIES, IN THE FACE OF THE WORST THAT THEY CAN DO (OR SAY!) TO US.