Speak the truth in love. . .
Last Sunday, I talked about lament as a response to suffering. Recently, one of our church members was lamenting about how we seem to be losing the ability to disagree respectfully with one another. I agreed with him and shared my perspective that while this is true in our larger world, it can also have a negative effect on our discourse within the church. So, how do we "speak the truth in love" as scripture commands us to do?
Over the ten years I have been serving as JCPC's pastor, I have shared on a number of times some guidelines our PCUSA created for how we Presbyterians can have positive, productive interactions, even during times of disagreement. Here is the link to those guidelines. (click here) So, think of these guidelines as a reminder of something we all need to work on daily. I would invite you to download and print them. Put them in a place where you can see them, like your refrigerator or dressing mirror. My hope is that instead of being influenced by our world to be less respectful of one another when we disagree, we might be the "salt and light" that Jesus talks about -- seasoning and enlightening our world with a better way of living. When I was serving a previous church, I shared these guidelines when they first came out. One of our elders liked them so much that he later shared them at his work, after editing out the religious references.
As I mentioned in my sermon on Sunday, our Session met this past Monday evening to talk about some very difficult topics related to possible plans for both the short term and the long term. I was impressed with our Session and how they were able to speak the truth in love, listening to one another first, while maintaining the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. I think the way our Session handled these things was an answer to prayer and I appreciate many of you for praying for us!