“They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” (1 John 4:5-6 NKJV)
At first glance, it would seem that John is setting up an “Us vs.Them” disagreement between Christians and non-Christians. In context, though, John’s “them” are the false prophets who would claim to be Christians, but deny truths of the Christian faith, including the fact that Jesus came in the flesh, in order to be more accepted by the world. Let’s face it, there are hard truths in the Christian message. God came down to earth in the form of a man named Jesus. Jesus lived a sinless life, and died on the cross. It pleased God to put on Him the sins of the world. Jesus rose from the dead and will return again someday. Each of these truths are hard to swallow. If you’re more concerned about gaining followers and their offerings instead of following God, you might change some or all of these truths. But, if you want to stay true to God’s word, you won’t change the truths. You may have a smaller following, but those who know God will hear and understand.
Jesus experienced a falling away when the truth of His message became clear. (John 6) It would be easy in today’s world of social media fame to focus on “likes” and “follows” because everyone wants more of those. And if we have to fudge, change, or leave out parts of the truth because then we can help more people, so be it, right? Wrong! Once you stray from the truth, the only way to come back is to admit you made a mistake, or that you changed something deliberately and you’ll lose credibility with the people you were trying to reach. Maintain your integrity by staying true to God’s word and you’ll have more opportunities to show people God’s love and grace.
Lord, may I always speak words that those who know You will recognize as Your truth. May I always speak those words seasoned with love and grace.