It seems that we have gone soft as a culture. Many kids are not disciplined and struggle to come under authority when they encounter real life. When everyone gets a trophy simply for participation, people find it tough to face defeat (consider our most recent presidential election). And people are quickly offended when someone presents an alternative viewpoint.
Several cultural observers have described this as “weaponized sensitivity.” People claim to be offended when they hear something they don’t like. And that is the trump card in our culture. The idea is that you should always affirm people. You need to tell them what they want to hear. You can believe what you want but keep your mouth shut.
Sadly, this same fragile mindset has infiltrated the church. In this midst of this, we as believers are called to tough love within the family of God. Certainly our speech must be characterized by grace and seasoned with salt. But we should care enough about one another to say what needs to be said – even when it is hard. We are to push and prod one another toward godly behavior (Hebrews 10:24). We are to confront the lazy (1 Thessalonians 5:14). Paul acknowledged that his letter caused the believers pain – but he knew he needed to write anyway (2 Corinthians 2:1-4). Proverbs reminds us that the wounds of a friend are better than the kisses of an enemy (Proverbs 27:6).
The bottom line is that discipleship is not easy. It never has been. And it never will be. It is an arduous, humbling business. The truth hurts. And yet it is indispensable to spiritual growth and progress in the Christian life. If left to ourselves, we will rarely change. We need to allow other voices to expose our blind spots and shake us out of our lethargy.
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