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You and I have met people who are curt and abrasive with their words that leave people wounded and hurt after a simple conversation.

On the other hand, we also have been with people who is all grace that it has become mere tolerance of sin. And THAT is  not biblical grace.

I recently was talking to a young person from church who had a bad experience. She looked up to this person because of her admirable leadership qualities. But with her strength came certain weaknesses. She was quick to cut conversations and swift to make conclusions. Most of the time, she was actually right. But the way it was done was offensive.

Many times, it is not what is being said but how it is said.

The other extreme is to merely listen and remain silent to the point of tolerance. I met with someone with a similar experience. His friend was clearly in sin. But since he wanted to stay connected with his friend, he didn’t want to say anything. It was borderline tolerance and condoning.

The Bible says that “wounds from a friend are better than kisses from an enemy.” (Proverbs 27:6)

Paul says in Colossians 4:6,Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” 

May  know when to speak and when to listen, what to say and how to say it, and be a friend rather than an observer for open rebuke is better than hidden love.

PRAYER:

Lord, remind me that I have been given two ears and one mouth so that I may listen more and speak less. And when I speak, may I speak with truth combined with grace. You came, Word made flesh, dwelt among us full of grace and truth. May we live life as well filled with grace and truth. In Jesus name. Amen.

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PHOTO CREDIT: https://www.flickr.com/photos/manuel_atienzar/

(Blogger General’s Warning: Long Blog)

The year started with a word I felt God impressed in my heart – SHARPENING.

Then a conversation with Carlos Antonio sparked it even more.

I remember when my firstborn was about 3 or 4 years old, while in church talking to people, Pastor Steve set me aside to talk to me.

“Paolo, you’re a great dad.” (At this point, I whispered ‘uh-oh’ because I knew the sandwich principle was coming.)

“However, there might be some things you don’t see or even tolerate.  What you tolerate, you’ll never change.”

“When your son runs around the main auditorium and don’t control him, you may not notice but others are getting distracted.”

That moment, I understood what he was talking about.  It was tough to hear but as a new dad, I needed to hear it.

Since then, as a parent, leader and pastor, I’ve received numerous ‘feedback’ which now I am thankful for because it has helped me grow along the way.

Three verses come to mind.

1. Iron sharpens iron. (Prov. 27:17)

If we want to stay on the cutting edge of life, there will be friction.  Sparks will fly.  But it will be for the purpose of sharpening.

Once you stop being open to sharpening, that’s when we get dull.  Once that happens, we stop growing.

2. Open rebuke is better than hidden love. (Prov. 27:5)

You’d prefer people tell you upfront than them talk about it behind your back.

Pride is the number 1 enemy of correction.  We immediately dismiss it by saying, “well… I’m not the only one who does it.”  Or worse, we whisper under our breath saying, “I’m sure you’ve done this before too.”

But does that mean the correction is invalid?  By no means.

Pride is definitely a hindrance to receiving correction.  It really goes before a fall.

3. Speak the truth in love. (Eph. 4:15)

While this maybe the manner, it should also be the motivation.

The manner we should bring the ‘sharpening’ is to be with love.  Jesus came full of grace and truth.  Grace first before truth.

It’s not just the manner but also the motivation.  The reason why we give the feedback or correction is because we love the person.  We want that person to not stay the same way but to continue to grow and mature in his faith and in life.

The next time a person comes and gives correction, remember what Proverbs 12:1 says,  “Anyone who loves learning accepts correction,but a person who hates being corrected is stupid.”