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God bless you in the extraordinary name of Jesus Christ, who spoke the truth in love (John 8:26).

Most people think that the dead aren’t really dead; they’re either in heaven or hell.  Most people also think religious people are judgmental.  The first of those conclusions (that the dead aren’t dead) isn’t correct, the second (that “religious” people are judgmental) might be.  Thank God we are not “religious.”  However, when we bring up the Bible and the things of God, people may think that we are judging or finding fault.  It is important that we do not.  We open our mouths with love and compassion.  We never belittle anyone; we just highly promote the truth.

When Jesus was teaching the multitudes in Matthew 5, he took issue with the prevailing wisdom of his day.  So, what if everyone has accepted the prevailing social or moral norms; if it contradicts the truth of God’s Word it can’t be right.  In verses 21 and 22 Jesus said:

Matthew 5:21a,22a:
Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time. . .   22 But I [egō] say [legō] unto you. . . .”

Jesus took issue with what people had heard and accepted as true.  I have often done the same.  I used to say, “I beg to differ.” or “I don’t agree.”  People often responded negatively to that approach.  More recently I have begun to say, “Do you really think so?” or “I don’t think so!

Does God need another rose petal in heaven?  I don’t think so.  Does God make you sick to keep you humble?  I don’t think so!  Often, they actually respond asking, “Well, what do you think?”  I love that open door.  Then I humbly tell the truth without patronizing or condescending.  I have found that a one sentence transitional statement helps soften the blow.  When it’s true I use it.  I’ll say, “I know how you feel; I felt the same way too, but you know what I found. . . .”

Let’s not be afraid to speak up.  Let’s not be concerned with cultural norms.  Let’s not worry about offending people, we will.  Jesus was perfect, and people were offended by what he said and did.  That point is moot.  We speak the truth in love and let love have its perfect work.

In the phrase, “I say unto you,” the “I” is emphasized in the Greek, and thus gives it an authoritative tone.  The scribes and other teachers traditionally referred to some Rabbi as a source of authority for what they were saying.  Jesus did not.  Jesus spoke as one having a higher authority of his own.  “Say” is the Greek word legō.  It means to speak with emphasis upon the content or subject matter of that which is spoken.”  It suggests a logical, reasoned formulation that is thought-through, with the words being chosen with care.  Jesus spoke in a manner befitting a master.  There was importance, consequence, authority and weight behind his words.

Jesus was the light of the world and was bringing the light of God to those to whom he spoke.  We, too, are lights with the same responsibility (Philippians 2:15-16).  We, too, should speak with authority, not judgmentally or condescendingly.  So, let’s speak the truth in love and when questionable or false notions comes up in conversation let’s refute them lovingly.  I always appreciated someone speaking the truth to me.  Perhaps we will find more people amenable to our words than we suppose there will be.  Look at how they responded to Jesus’.

Matthew 7:28-29:
And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: 29 For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

There will be many doors of utterance as we move through our days.  Let’s make sure we use the opportunities we get.  Like Samson we can always aggressively seek an occasion, too.  Why not stand up and stand out!  Why settle for fitting in when we are meant to stand out!