Recently we decided to try the Dakeng area again. If you remember, last time we went out to Dakeng, we couldn’t find the trails we were looking for (See “Lost Trails”.) and ended up circling around for a couple of hours. I have to admit I was quite frustrated. I told myself, “I will never come out here again!” But just a few weeks later, we were on the road to Dakeng. The reason for the 2nd attempt was this time Jeanette got better directions from her language teacher. It made all the difference!
Having directions to go somewhere isn’t enough. IT HAS TO BE ACCURATE! This sounds so elementary, and yet this idea of the truth being accurate is contested all the time in our world as though truth is too insensitive or harsh for people to take.
For example, we see this sometimes in rearing up children. I understand that we must build up children’s self-esteem, and that we must encourage them, but in our efforts to protect them, we may communicate a false message that undermines the truth that we are all made differently with different strengths & weaknesses. Not to mention we learn more from our failures than our successes. A child may be great at one thing but not so much at another. That’s being human. But sometimes our world contradicts that and tries to nurture self-confidence at the cost of the truth. We hear things like, “Believe in yourself and you can achieve anything!” Really?
“Untruth” certainly sounds nice & we want to believe it or maybe we need to believe it, but one thing for sure is that it will not lead to health or life as it’s intended to be. The Bible rather than sugar coating it says to us, “Humble yourself!” Humbling yourself in biblical sense means to have an accurate assessment of yourself. This can be quite scary & for that reason many will choose to live in false confidence. But we must understand our weaknesses & even wickedness as well as our gifts. It is this honest self-evaluation that helps us to turn to the One who loves us apart from our performance, appearance, success & failure. For those who understand what this means, it’s freedom at its best. It sets us free from all things that bind us & make us feel insecure. This is something that only the Truth can do.
In both missions & evangelism, we sometimes become too careful not to hurt or offend anyone that the truth is concealed in love. That may not sound so bad. In fact, it sounds beautiful… to cover misbelief & misdeeds with love. This is how the world loves. Out of love, it tells you only what you want to hear or can handle or what is non-threatening, even if it leads to perpetual denial & deception.
But unless love is accompanied by truth, it has no power to set anyone free.
The evening before our day trip to Dakeng, our Taiwanese church launched a new small group ministry. Jeanette & I are grouped with 3 other couples. Our goal is to reach out to non-believers in our area, but the challenge is how to communicate the gospel to the people whose religion is so deeply rooted in their tradition & culture without offending them?
Let’s turn our focus to the 1st century Christians. It’s safe to say that the truth they spoke was offensive to the masses because they were persecuted for it. Yet, this small sect didn’t worry about how well their message will be received. They simply shared their Lord’s love & truth knowing that He will take care of the rest. They believed in the power of the gospel.
When Jeanette’s language teacher gave her directions to Dakeng, she didn’t have to worry about it. She had faith in the directions that she gave. The result was that we were soon on the trails of Dakeng, enjoying its beauty & serenity. Being grateful for the directions and the giver of those directions that led us there.
Do not be afraid to share the truth. Allow the truth to do what it’s intended to do… to set captives free!