Throughout my life I have seen and heard of visitors turned off from a particular congregation because of the rudeness of the members. I as well, know personally of new Christians and older Christians who have been discouraged by the crass way that they have been approached by some one who “meant well” or who was “preaching the truth”.
God’s people need to be characterized by having a great deal of tact. Real Dictionary .com defines “tact” as “the ability to say or do the right thing without making anyone unhappy or angry”. Often times we place the blame on the one being offended and think something along the lines of “well, they shouldn’t have been offended”. The teaching of Scripture, however is to the contrary. We should always consider the feelings of others and never present the truth in a way in which our presentation hinders the effectiveness of the message.
Jesus gave a clear command in (Matthew 22:39) when he stated that the second greatest command is to “love your neighbor as yourself”. Paul would state in (1 Corinthians 13:4-5) that “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful”.
If we truly love our neighbor as we should, we will be very careful to not ever be perceived as harsh, unloving or rude. Our job is to help others get to heaven and may we never allow a poor attitude get in the way of the saving message of the Gospel.
By Cliff Sabroe