So I had this gigantic ranty post written about the whole Phil Robertson explosion…. And I woke up this morning and hated every word I wrote because I hadn’t practiced what I was calling all of us to preach, so I deleted every word. I’ve never scrapped a 1600 word, link-filled post before… And now, post-ice-storm at my Grandparents’ farm, their internet is down and so I write with my thumbs from the 3G on my iPhone because the words are burning to get out of me. So here we go. Round two.
You see, my rant from yesterday was full of angry accusations that Phil Robertson wasn’t being very loving with the things that he said in his interview with GQ, and that our job as Christians is to speak in love. Do you see an issue here? I do. God must have softened my heart up overnight because I read my words this morning and became so grateful that I’d saved the draft before publishing. Guilty. It’s so easy not to speak in love when we get all fired up.
I’ve decided that rather than rewrite my rant, I’ll share and echo the thoughts of three of my favourite bloggers. Their words are more eloquent than mine, and I’d like to share the words of women whose writing I respect deeply. And I agree with each of them wholeheartedly. So especially while I write with my thumbs, why reinvent the wheel?
So here we go:
Jen Hatmaker, my favourite author, says
“As for me, I care deeply for all the watching eyes, waiting for something real, something that heals instead of wounds. I dream of a faith community that demonstrates a love so scandalous and embarrassing that only the foolish and the rejected and the misfits and the cynics will find any solace in it. My heart’s cry is that someone far outside the sphere of Christian endorsement might whisper, “Even me?” and be stunned by Jesus’ answer: “Always you.””
Jen tells us to make the gospel real. Making it real means making it loving. Love love love. Love is so vital. It’s what God is, after all.
Ruthie Dean talks about the stark difference between making a point and making a difference in the lives of others.
“But then, something changed. I awakened to the truth that the Gospel is an absurd love story. That God gave his only Son over to ridicule, torture and death that we may have life. The Bible says that people outside the church will know Jesus because of our love for one another. Nothing else, just love.”
She also says:
“We cannot be content to sit back behind our computers and make a point. As Christians, we are called to make a difference in people’s lives–and making a difference is usually slow and messy because when you’re meeting someone in the mud, in the darkness, in the betrayal, in the pain, they’ll need the healing power of Jesus flowing through you. They need us to be with them, not preach at them.”
And finally, a woman whose words pack so much punch… Always…. Ann Voskamp talks beautifully about the power of words and how desperately important it is to choose them carefully and speak them with love.
I have huge quotes from her, but her blog post is so well done, and there’s so much more there that I didn’t quote…. So please if you only read the work of one of these three ladies in its entirety, let it be this one. Let it be Ann’s words.
A guy I know often mails books.
And every time the postal clerk asks him the obligatory question about if there’s anything hazardous or flammable in the package, he always speaks truth: “You bet — words.”
Whoever said sticks and stones may break your bones but words will never hurt you?
Was dead wrong.
Ask a bearded guy from Louisiana or a tweeting PR exec en route to Africa to comment on that.
Don’t ever forget it, kids:
There is nothing more explosive than words.
Words are nitroglycerin. Words can literally ignite a heart, detonate like a global bomb — or explode in your face.
She also says, and I love this:
You can mean something — but if you say it mean, no one can hear your meaning.
Have convictions — but if you don’t have compassion, you will have trials.
Please, say what you believe — but please, always be love.
Or you’re an annoying, clanging cymbal who a whole lot of people will be desperate to make silent.
Hear me, get this, don’t ever forget this: The tongue is the tail of the heart. The heart is known by how the tongue wags.
And lastly, the ones with the biggest punch. The ones that made me gasp in air after I’d written my own rant that I ultimately trashed…. These…
The only words that are infallible — is the Word of God Himself.
So — we grant grace.
Grace is air — without it we all die.