A lot of us will tell our grandchildren about the winter of '96. In the New York area we had a double hit. It just about buried us, or sank us, or both! Now snow can be beautiful. It can be fun. I've always enjoyed the unique charm and beauty the snow brings, but not when there's three feet of it in one day! It's too much of a good thing. A lot of wet moved up from the south and it met a lot of arctic cold coming down from the north and we were shoveling the result for days to follow. I told my wife, "We won't see our yard for months!" I was wrong. A couple of weeks later some more "lot of wet" came from the south. Now rain is good! When we don't have enough of it for our reservoirs we get a drought here. Warm is good! It melts mountains of snow. But a lot of wet met a lot of warm and everything melted so fast that we got floods! Two good things, but not good when there's too much of either one.
Well, I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "No Flood, No Drought."
Our word for today, from the Word Of God, comes from Ephesians 4:15-16. Here God spotlights in five words the two forces that change peoples' lives, but only if you have a boat. He says, "Speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Him, who is the head, that is, Christ. From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love as each part does its work." Now this tells us how people grow, how they get built up. It comes from us! Here are the words - "Speaking the truth in Love." Now, here's the problem - most of us are better at one of those than the other. Some of us are not afraid to speak the truth, telling the facts they need to hear about themselves, about God, about life. But a lot of times the "truth-ers" don't communicate a lot of love. Then we've got those of us who are good at communicating love, accepting people as they are, always trying to be encouraging and gentle. But too often the "love-ers" sacrifice truth and don't confront people with hard truth they need to hear. The result: the people around us get too much of a good thing, and since it isn't balanced with enough of the other good thing, they don't change; or sometimes they're really wounded by our truth without enough love or our love without enough truth. Somehow, Jesus gave people both, and their lives were changed. We need to copy His truth and love balance in the way we treat our family, our mate, our co-workers, our friends, the folks at church, the folks who don't know Jesus.
Maybe you're someone who gives people a "flood" of truth but a "drought" of love. Your prayer needs to be something like this, "Lord Jesus, help me to confront people without condemnation." You see, we've got to honestly tell people the truth, but if you do it in love they'll feel valued even though the truth was tough to hear. Do people feel valued or condemned by your "confronting"?
Maybe you flood people with love but you compromise the truth. Your prayer needs to be, "Lord Jesus, help me to love people without lowering the standard." You see, if you really love people you'll confront them when they're out of God's bounds. It isn't love to let people proceed down "Destruction Boulevard" without showing them what they're doing.
Truth with tenderness! Love with limits! That is a dynamic life-changing duo! Truth is good, but too much of it without love leaves people cold. Love is good, but too much of it without truth leaves people in hot water. Give the people you care about "both," like Jesus did. "No Flood, No Drought." Jesus gives us both, and He captured our heart and changed our life. Your truth will challenge their heart, and your love will melt their heart!