November 28, 2014

2 Peter 2:18-19 For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him.

Peter minces no words, any more than Paul did. When mortal danger is involved, political correctness is criminal. Today we tiptoe around issues without saying them outright, for fear of “offending” someone, and in the process try to treat cancer with face cream. By being so graphic in his description of false teachers, (the Japanese says, “vomit out boastful words) Peter is making it very clear what a danger they are, so that his readers may be on the lookout and protect themselves. We need to love people enough to be as blunt as necessary, but that doesn’t mean we are to be needlessly offensive, either. Most of the time both extremes come from a failure to love the other person as we love ourselves. Either we are too worried about whether they will like us or think well of us, or we simply don’t care what they think or how they feel. Neither is a good attitude! We need to care enough to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) for the sake of our hearers, regardless of the consequences to us.

I was literally treated with steroid creams for a year for what was actually a skin cancer, so I am a living illustration of this point! Thankfully it was a basal cell carcinoma, which is perhaps the least serious of all forms of cancer, but what should have been a minor out-patient procedure became surgery involving hospitalization. I had asked for a biopsy about 6 months before surgery was actually done, but the doctor didn’t want to cut me. His motive was kindness, but the result was less than kind. (The reason for the misdiagnosis was that on Japanese people, basal cell carcinomas are dark, but mine was completely skin-colored until the last couple of months, when it became increasingly red.) I have experienced similar things with failure to speak necessary words out of fear they would hurt, when that failure allowed things to get much worse. Those experiences have been both from my failure to say what was needed to others, and from their failure to say what was needed to me. My distaste for confrontation has ended up rupturing relationships that probably could have been saved and strengthened. I need to learn from Peter and Paul to allow the Holy Spirit to speak through me unhindered, rather than squelching Him for fear of the consequences to me.

Father, thank You for this reminder. I’ve been so slow to learn this! Help me love people enough to risk their not liking me, in order to impart the blessings You have for them through me. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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