Our world is so different today than in years past. In previous decades, Christians were far less concerned about being considered likeable by the world around us. Of course Christians have always cared about the world and longed to take the gospel to the nations. But the church has not always bent over backwards to convince the world around us that we are loveable.
When the apostle Paul and his friends were sharing the gospel at Paphos in Acts 13, a man rose up to oppose them. Paul’s reaction to this man is what grabbed my attention. You see, Paul was not super concerned with being politically correct or seeker sensitive.
Take a look at this encounter.
Acts 13:8-12 – 8 But Elymas the magician (for that is the meaning of his name) opposed them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. 9 But Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him 10 and said, “You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord? 11 And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and unable to see the sun for a time.” Immediately mist and darkness fell upon him, and he went about seeking people to lead him by the hand. 12 Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had occurred, for he was astonished at the teaching of the Lord.
If you heard that a Christian said what Paul said in verse 10, how would you react? I believe that it is most likely that you would condemn the Christian for saying such a harsh thing. Paul said, ““You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord?”
Do not misunderstand me. I do not love it when Christians are unnecessarily harsh. I especially despise it when groups call themselves Christians and then act sinfully cruel. But we also must not become so softened to the world, so eager to gain the world’s approval, that we will not call a sin a sin or a sinner a sinner.
Yes, be humble. Yes, offer grace. Yes, preach Christ. Yes, show love. But do not let those things keep you from telling the honest truth of God when that truth is painful for others to hear.