I said, “Do you mean like ‘chit-chat’?”
He replied, “Yes, ma’am. Like talking to your friend and asking them how their cat is doing, or about the weather, or something like that.”
“Yes, I ‘small-talk’ a good bit with people,” I said.
“Well, I’m not really into small talk,” he stated.
He certainly isn’t into small-talk. I already knew that. If you don’t want to know the truth about what he thinks – don’t ask him. He speaks for himself. Sometimes he speaks for his brothers. Occasionally he is elected to speak for some of his friends. He is just bold about telling the truth and getting down to business. He is able to do it in a respectful yet uncompromising manner which is entertaining to some and off-putting to others. To me, this trait of his is actually refreshing most of the time.
So many kids (and adults) today are encouraged to be “people pleasers”. They abandon their own beliefs and feelings in the worldly pursuit of feeling accepted and making others happy. Don’t get me wrong – he is NOT rude to others, or mean spirited. He has been taught to have respect for his elders; to do unto others as he would have them do unto him; to love his neighbor as himself; he knows how to behave himself in a manner that is pleasing to God, to us (his parents), and to those in authority over him. He knows what is expected of him, and he knows what his values, beliefs and morals are – so much so that he stands up for them. Is he always perfect? No. He is a work in progress – as are we all.
All of this made me stop to consider a few things. So often, rather than confront an issue head-on we “small-talk” our way around it. You know, maybe if we talk about the weather or how our friend’s cat is doing, we won’t have to talk about their recent loss, or their addictions, or their need for Jesus. We pass a lot of time listening to peoples’ problems, and offering words of comfort or prayer, but a lot of times we are just too uncomfortable to tell them what we really believe they need to hear. We don’t tell them what is on our hearts to tell them. We don’t dare whisper anything to them that might cause any sort of rebuke from them or might hurt their feelings or even cause an awkward silence.
The world tells us that if we tell them the truth, we are hateful hypocrites with logs in our eyes. The world tells us that we are not allowed to judge and remark on their actions, unless we are perfect ourselves. The world tells us that we can only “love” people well when we agree with them, accept them and prop up their behaviors with gushing words of encouragement. In fact, “love”, we are told means to never ever dare to disagree with the lifestyle choices, religious convictions, or political leanings of others. The world’s love is one that is devoid of truth, one that is lacking in morality and one that survives in a godless vacuum where good is called evil and evil is called good. The world’s love is to do whatever makes you happy. Whatever feels good. All you need is love – as long as it is their kind of love.
Many of you may think that I have a particular sin in mind. I really don’t. There are so many these days that I could write a grocery list of them. I was talking to a friend of mine today about former US Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders. Some little joke brought her to mind. I looked her up and saw that she was fired from being Surgeon General because of her outspokenness about providing contraception for kids at school, her encouragement of the legalization of drugs, and her infamous quote concerning abortion that “we really need to get over this love affair with the fetus…” among other things. So, even as recently as 1994, a liberal democrat president (who was certainly no stranger to controversy or promiscuity) was queasy about his own US Surgeon General unabashedly promoting those ideas – to the point of asking for her resignation. Fast forward 21 years, and those topics are lightweight fare for politicians, reporters, sitcoms, comedians, teenagers – pass the biscuits, please.
Our God does NOT change. His Word does NOT change. Sin is sin yesterday, today and tomorrow. Just because the world views it differently doesn’t mean that it has changed. If God said it was wrong, it still is. I am not merely speaking of the hot-button topics like homosexuality and abortion, but also of just plain old everyday sin that nobody likes to talk about anymore like pridefulness, coveting, lying, stealing, adultery, and idolatry just to name a few. Not just the ones that we all like to harp about on Facebook, but the ones that worm their way into the lives of everyone. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23
When we don’t tell people the truths of scripture that are emblazoned on our hearts, we are not “loving” them. We are not serving them when we see them happily skipping down the road to hell and we look the other way and talk about the weather. Should we hatefully and despitefully beat them over the heads with how good we are and how bad they are? No. That is not how it works either. We have to love them with the Love of the Lord. “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” John 3:17 “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9. That means that we should NOT want them to perish either.
We have to love them enough to introduce them to The Truth – the Lord Jesus. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6. It is our job, duty, responsibility and privilege to let them feel the Love of God coming through us. We should eagerly plant the seeds and pray that they take root in their hearts. Can we do this effectively through intimidation, fear and disdain? No. We are most effective when we allow the Lord Jesus to work through us, and when they can look at us and see Him in us. Our goal should not be to merely introduce them to a Savior, we should want them to make Him the Lord of their lives. They will only want to do this when they see that we have made Him Lord of ours. His Love will shine through us, and they will want Him too. We have to be frank and honest with them about sin, otherwise they will see no need for a savior – but we must do it in love. No small-talk… Just Truth.
“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12
Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it. Psalm 34:14
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 2 Timothy 4:2-4