It’s kind of amazing‚ when you think. One extreme is the legalistic‚ mean-spirited‚ void or grace and mercy kind of “Christianity” that doesn’t really have much to do with what we see the life of worthy men and women of God to have lived in history.
RABBIT-TRAIL: Dead people’s record is what it is‚ they were either great or they weren’t. Unlike the living “great”‚ dead people can’t hire PR firms to make them look better than what they really are. Which is why I read the spiritual writings mostly of people who have died and of whose legacy I don’t have to wonder about 🙂
The other extreme that seems to dominate our modern religious community is what we might call “the cult of nice”. But instead of nice‚ the high-priests of this strange cult have borrowed words like “grace”‚ “love” and “non-judgmental”.
How can we ever get help and get better unless we pop the bubble of the cult and culture of “nice” and learn to both hear and speak truth?
I propose that the cult of nice must end!
When crap happens‚ why sugarcoat it and not call things for what they are? This is one of the main reasons “all those sinners” can’t trust us. We always pull on people our Christianese and we think our special code words will make up for the lack of true empathy and compassion.
Turns out sometimes the straightforwardness of those terrible “sinners” is what’s so refreshing to hear. Even if it’s laced (unfortunately) with a generous mix of expletives! Or do we think that Jesus made sure he made friends only with “nice”‚ “Bible-talking” sinners? Please!
Here’s what one great dead man had to say about all this while moved by God’s Spirit:
These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another; render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace (Zechariah 8:16 ESV)
This verse‚ as well as the following from Dietrich Bonhoeffer‚ another great dead man‚ make me think a lot about where am I at as a person‚ where are we at as a Body‚ and what am I doing to foster a climate of honoring truth above being “nice” where it counts the most.
“….The more we learn to allow the other to speak the word to us‚ to accept humbly and gratefully even severe reproaches and admonitions‚ The more free and to the point we ourselves will be in speaking.
One who because of sensitivity and vanity rejects the serious words of another Christian cannot speak the truth in humility to others.” ̵’; Dietrich Bonhoeffer‚ Life Together