By Brad Hutchcraft
Comedians know about needing a good delivery. UPS and FedEx have a business that rises or falls with how they nail the delivery. And if it wasn't clear before, the Army now knows firsthand how tricky it can be to land the delivery.
Just recently, the Army was delivering Humvees - not on the road or by boat, but from the sky. This Airborne Division was doing what they had done before, making the delivery of these heavy vehicles from above, dropping them with parachutes attached out of the plane, where they would float gently to the ground. Or not. This time, the delivery went way wrong. Three of the Humvees broke away from their parachutes, plummeting to the ground and smashing into thousands of pieces.
For sure, the vehicles were needed, but the delivery was wrong. The impact was fast and furious, and the result was clear. An unintended mess.
I couldn't help but think of those times in my life when I've had news to deliver - important news, life-changing news - but the delivery was wrong. Whether it was because I hadn't thought through what I wanted to say, or my heart was in the wrong place, it all ended with an unintended mess.
That happens a lot, especially in today's world. People who love Jesus, and have the most important delivery of all - the Gospel - wind up with a mess on their hands. This can happen for lots of reasons. It can happen because of fear, worrying about the anger that might come when we share God's Truth. It can happen because we don't think through what we're going to say, or haven't had help in how to share the Good News about Jesus.
But, there are also a lot of times the delivery is wrong because the person carrying the message just doesn't care enough to get it right. "I've got something to say, and people need to listen!" Sound familiar?
Let's be clear that when we carry the Good News of Jesus Christ, it is the most important message. It's a life and death message. And when we are trying to correct a brother- or sister-in-Christ who is living outside of God's boundaries, that is a hugely important message, too.
We need to speak the truth. In a world where "truth" is being redefined on an almost daily basis, God's children must stick to His Word. But, we need to make sure the delivery is right. Ephesians 4:15 says, "...we will speak the truth in love."
Step one: Speak the truth. Step two: In love.
When the delivery is wrong, our words crash down like those Humvees, leaving holes - not in the earth, but in people. And a big, unintended mess is left.
So, look to Jesus. See how He talked to people. Learn from Godly leaders you trust. When we get the delivery right, it changes lives, and it changes us. Don't shrink back from fear, or because of previous messes. Speak the truth, and speak it boldly! Just make sure the love is there, too.