“Maybe if we didn’t focus on the language that turns people off, we could present Christianity as the best choice and less of a stumbling block. There have also been appeals to the compassion of Jesus when dealing with sinners. But compassion never compromises truth.”
Confronting someone who is in sin or error with the truth is a very sensitive topic. As we strive to teach with truth in love, Christians often disagree about delivery. At times it’s hard to discern when we are being overly offensive or not offensive enough. Sometimes we are just plain ignored.
We want our message to be heard and received. But with the culture becoming more and more hostile to Christian teaching, there have been attempts and pleas to make the content of our faith more palatable. Maybe if we didn’t focus on the language that turns people off, we could present Christianity as the best choice and less of a stumbling block. There have also been appeals to the compassion of Jesus when dealing with sinners. But compassion never compromises truth. Compassion doesn’t mean that we should be comfortable with sin and error. And if there is one thing I’m learning, truth is never comfortable.
I have been studying Revelation with the help of G.K. Beale’s Shorter Commentary and Dennis Johnson’s Triumph of the Lamb. As I am going through the beginning section on the letters to the churches, Beale’s explanation of what he calls the hearing formula has caught my attention.
Each of the seven letters conclude with the exhortation: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Beale points out that Jesus uses this clause in Matt. 13:1-17, repeating a familiar statement seen in Isaiah 6:9-10, Jeremiah 5:21, and Ezekiel 3:27; 12:2. So what does this exhortation mean? And why is it repeated? Is this just a fancy way to say to all of us who have ears to listen up? And does that mean that what was just said before wasn’t as important?