2 Timothy 2:24-25
Just a note about the general flow of this thread:
While this PB is the place for hard discussion, don't take all of your attitudes out of doors when dealing with some unsaved folks.
In the context of debate here on the pB we often go for the jugular - we can because it is assumed that we can here for that purpose - to debate.
But when dealing with raw pagans, we are out to win people and not arguments. A kind word and a patient dealing with them and a pure life is more advised then reducing their views to rubbish in an apologetics juggernaut - which usually hardens them. A kind word and a gentle helping your neighbor out when he is down rather than beating them over the head with the stick of calvinism, theism, etc, seems to be a better approach and even more biblical.
But....on the PB, we can drop the mittens and put on the boxing gloves ever so often when we know that all parties are saved members of the body of Christ who are trying to fine tune their theology.
What?! That's crazy!!
Yes, I agree. Lessons are all about what you're trying to teach at the time you're teaching them. What I'm talking about is our aim to be tough-minded and not be afraid to stand for things simply because it offends. There are hard things in the Scriptures and they're there whether or not we're trying to be winsome.
I honestly can be pretty nice to people that are milqetoast themselves. It's the difference between being a protector and being protected. The protected don't always have to be able to pick up a sword but the defenders on the wall better know how to carry one when they're needed. I've managed to teach some pretty hard truths for some time to an SBC congregation.
Being loving, convicted and winsome are actually complementary. Why? Because when people know you have deep convictions and you have consistent integrity in those convictions AND they know that you love them and that you want what's best for them, then they will accept some pretty hard things from you and know that you're not doing something or saying something because it's mean.
On the contrary, you can be really nice to people all the time and they know that you love them but if you have no backbone and let others walk all over them, it's very frustrating for them that nobody is looking out for them.
Let me offer an example.
I've shared about the Franklin Graham "missionary" who was filling the pulpit for some time in our Church. He was also living in the parsonage and had made a contract with us to pay the rent every month. He failed to pay rent for several months and the deacons were letting the Church secretary and the treasurer (both women) keep reminding him that he needed to pay but he was taking no action. I finally got wind of it months into the problem as the head of the treasury committee. I immediately demanded that we take specific steps so that there was no doubt that this man was dodging his commitments. It became obvious that he was and we literally had to go over his head to his boss to make him pay.
In the meantime, the women that knew of this whole affair were so distraught over this lack of integrity that they would leave the Church during his "sermons" (by the way, they were ALL horrible). A couple of us asked that he be removed from the pulpit for this breech. The deacons met and decided to allow him to preach. I sent them a private e-mail expressing my displeasure and telling them, in no uncertain terms, that they were failing to lead. Big mistake on my part. The mistake was not my rebuke of their behavior but the means (NEVER use e-mail). One of the deacon's wives forwarded it to a bunch of people inside and out of the Church (including the interim preacher) saying that the Church needed to pray about this and that she couldn't believe that this was being brought up by me. I found out about it from another.
Well, the good news was that the man, based on my e-mail, decided to stop preaching but not until he preached on last message in which he took Scripture out of context one last time as was his habit to show that the only important thing was spreading the Gospel and that, in essence, this other business was superfluous. One of the deacons was emotionally broken up that he was leaving but I asked to speak with all 3 men in the Church Office.
I took them through the Scriptures in 30 minutes and showed them how a leader had to care for the sheep and had to be men above reproach. I showed them why God gave us Pastors and Teachers. The lead deacon told me that he never really wanted the leadership but that the Church had no other choice. I told him that it didn't matter. He had leadership whether he wanted it or not and that he had to step up to the plate.
Do you know how that meeting ended? They were all GLAD that the man was now gone and wanted to know if we should contact the Franklin Graham assocation about his breech of integrity. What happened afterwards is interesting but not important here. The important thing is that I not only maintained fellowship with all three men but our fellowship was strengthened incredibly over that. It was exhilirating for me because I had started that day depressed that I was going to have to leave that Church.
We eventually had a congregational meeting and I got up and told everybody to please forgive me for using the wrong means but I explained my reasons and that I could not simply allow others to continue to be harmed by the man. They knew I loved them and they didn't understand all the reasons but they knew that I had done what I thought was right for them.
This is all a long way of saying that I agree with you Trevor. I don't go out of my way to offend people. I do that quite naturally just because I say stupid things and often. I do try to be all things to all people and be able to have compassion on the lost but there is backbone in that compassion. Men without backbone can have compassion on people but they lack the resolve to actually protect others from harm. We need to do both: I hug my daughter and tell her I love her all the time but woe to the man that tries to break into my house. They'll have to walk over my corpse to get to her!