I grew up in the Deep South and common courtesy and manners used to be well ingrained in those of us who lived here. “Please“, “Thank you“, and “Excuse me” are expected from the earliest ages up. “Yes, ma’am” and “Yes, sir” are equally expected. I have even caught myself correcting other’s children when failing to respond appropriately. However, that can cause a problem because you see I’ve learned that up North they don’t say “ma’am” and “sir” like we do. As a general rule I prefer our Southern manners to Northern manners: “Yes ma’am, Thank you very much.” 🙂
However, there is one thing we were taught that I think is not actually Biblical. See I was taught to not confront or question others. I’m not talking about basic submission to authority but the acceptance that what others say is truth or even accurate. You know the concept to never discuss religion or politics, never bring up difficult or touchy subjects. Now granted there is a time and place for all things and everything should be spoken in love. Some people are the type which will argue over every little thing, the joke is about the color of the carpet of the church.
Where is the line to draw about speaking the truth in love and looking over an offense? That is a tough question. I happened to search for Biblical verses concerning truth and was even more convinced that we are as believers and as the Church have been very lax in speaking the truth for fear of offending others.
We keep others in bondage when we fail to share the truth with them.
John 8:31-32 (ESV)
31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples,
32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
The Lord desires all people to come to the knowledge of the truth.
1 Timothy 2:3-4 (ESV)
3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior,
4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
Nevertheless there are ways and times to go about speaking the truth.
Ephesians 4:15-16 (ESV)
15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,
16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
We don’t speak the truth in a quarrelsome manner but with kindness, patience and gentleness.
2 Timothy 2:24-26 (ESV)
24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil,
25 correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth,
26 and they may escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.
Yet there are some who will reject the truth no matter what is said:
1 Timothy 6:3-5 (ESV)
3 If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness,
4 he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions,
5 and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.
Those we should avoid getting into foolish arguments with because they will continue to reject the truth. We aren’t responsible for convicting others of their errors. The Holy Spirit will convict, we must just speak the truth in love and concern for others.
They were predicted.
2 Timothy 2:3-4 (ESV)
3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,
4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
2 Timothy 3:1-7 (ESV)
1 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.
2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,
3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good,
4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,
5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.
6 For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions,
7 always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.
Not only will some reject the truth others will refuse to love the truth and the Lord will send a strong delusion so that they may believe what is false.
2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 (ESV)
9 The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders,
10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.
11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false,
12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
There are false teachers who seek to exploit others with false words.
2 Peter 2:1-3 (ESV)
1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.
2 And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed.
3 And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.
So what to do if one refuses to believe the truth repeatedly even when being made aware? Avoid them (2 Timothy 2:5) and flee these things (1 Timothy 6:11).