Ranking the Character of God
I have been carefully instructed once again that stodgy and rigid Scribes and Pharisees, bound in the chains of religion and not yet liberated by the New Grace continually seek to control men by outdated and not-prophetically revealed truth.
Case in point: God’s character of LOVE is to be more highly regarded than God’s TRUTH. (You can actually pretty much substitute any other of the characteristics of God’s nature, JUST, WISDOM, HOLY, WRATHFUL, in the place of TRUTH, because EVERYone who is enlightened by the new prophetic knows that LOVE trumps all of the other characteristics of God.) Love is more powerful than truth, Love is more redeeming than Justice, Love is more pervasive than Holiness…..Doctrine is an absolute no-no; it really doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you love.
My query is simple: Which of us is able, or sufficiently arrogant, to rank the characteristics of God’s nature with regard to their relative importance? If each of the characteristics of God’s Nature as revealed in the scriptures is perfection (i.e. complete, perfect, without fault or flaw, absolute, transcendent – PERFECT), then which of these absolute, transcendent aspects of the Nature of the Trinity rise above the other.
My quote of the week is “Religion is more concerned about being right than being together. It puts justice above relationship and is determine (sp) to protect the truth over protecting connections with people.” The writer goes on to say, essentially, that when Jesus walked on the earth he put people before truth, that people were more important to Jesus than truth is. In essence the writer is suggesting that if we have to choose between truth and relationship – Jesus would have us choose relationship. But is this truly the model Jesus presented? And what kind of relationship is it that we have, if “truth” is not at the very core of it?
Those who espouse this type of worldview are suggesting that truth, righteousness, and holiness are actually impediments for ministry and that to truly and effectively minister to people we must put relationships before everything else. The writer quoted above goes on to say, (With the “religious”) Truth is paramount and people are disposal (sp). Religion sacrifices people on the altar of “holiness.” So that now, the JUSTNESS and HOLINESS of the Triune God, reflected in the lives of His saints are sub-ordinate to the LOVE of God. aka Rob Bell – “Love Wins”.
In light of this, what are we to do with verses such as Ephesians 4:15: “speaking the truth in love,we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head,that is, Christ.” If I do not hold the truth of God in high regard, I will not speak it because I am unwilling to risk my “relationship” in order to speak the truth. We all know that one of the ways we fail each other in the body of Christ is by our judgmental and self-righteous attitudes. What we don’t seem to realize is how often we fail each other by looking the other way and not going to each other to give warning and wisdom and edification. (For example, a pastor who ends up leaving his wife and kids for his secretary, and dozens of church people, including leaders, saying, “I knew they were involved, or headed that way; I could just see it.”) Well, it wasn’t grace and non-judgmentalism that kept them from speaking up—it was indifference or cowardice or the lie that we are not our brother’s keeper, that we don’t have a responsibility to each other and to God.
Sometimes we assume people know that they are wrong. We think we’re being nonjudgmental and gracious to them by not sitting down with them and kindly sharing what God says about certain behaviors and life-style. In fact, we are being neglectful or cowardly. We fall for the lie that sin can be in someone’s true best interests. It can’t be. It never is. Matthew 7 doesn’t tell us not to help remove the splinters from our brother’s eye. It tells us to remove the log from our own eye, so we can see more clearly to remove the splinter from our brother’s eye.
I do love truth, and believe that the truth of God’s Word compassionately and mercifully put forth is the kindest and most loving thing one believer can speak into another believer’s life. Some have said we shouldn’t use the truth of God like a hammer, but sometimes it IS a hammer. A hammer that smashes away the flesh that is preventing a brother from walking in the blessings God has in store for Him. The fact is Jesus would choose both – truth and relationship. He entered into various relationships with some pretty seedy characters. His closest friends were known to be men and women who struggled with integrity, honesty, and moral purity. There is no argument about that. But, I would ask, with which one of these did Jesus sacrifice the TRUTH of God in order to maintain the relationship. In which relationship, did he compromise His own standards in order to keep a relationship in tact? Not one. He did not find it necessary to run away from truth in order to maintain relationship.
Many men in our culture hold truth hostage in exchange for relationship. They say in essence, “If you speak the truth to me, you will drive me away.” So, we soften, compromise, bend (over backwards), in order not to offend someone who simply doesn’t choose to be confronted with the truth about themselves. We are labeled as judgmental if there is even a hint of correction, or admonition, or exhortation from the Word of God. While we must remember that we are prohibited from being judgmental but the Word of God does judge all of us with regard to our words, the attitudes of our heart, the deeds and omissions of our lives.
I have no interest in a relationship that is not rooted in truth. I have little interest in being “in love” with someone who is not truthful with me, nor with whom I can be truthful. We should not “lighten the load” of the truth of God’s Word, but allow the full weight of its transforming power to rest upon ourselves and our relationships until we are broken before a Holy, Just, Righteous, Merciful, Perfect, Unchangeable, and Loving God who loves us so much that He sent His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him would not perish but have everlasting life. I would not be such a faithless friend that I would not tell a man that he is lost in his sin and facing an eternity of torment without hope; but God has made a Way.