There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. [Proverbs 12:18]
I was watching an Andy Stanley video recently. Andy Stanley is an author and senior pastor of North Point Ministries, a non-denominational church based in Atlanta and one of the largest churches in the country. He made a statement in which he hopes that the world would get right, especially those in the church. It really resonated with me and gave me pause to think. His statement was “our approach to communicating the message of Jesus is a primary factor in how people will respond to the message.”
We can share the most ultimate of truths about God and Jesus Christ, yet it is possible that the message will be dismissed if expressed in the wrong way. It will fall on deaf ears if the approach used to share the message is non-loving or has any hint of being disparaging. As the words in Proverbs say, “rash words are like sword thrusts." It’s all about the approach.
No one knew and practiced this better than Jesus. He understood the hearts of men and women. He, more than anyone, knew what was right and wrong. Yet, rarely did he scold those He encountered—with the possible exception of the religious leaders and the disciples, because they should have known better.
Look at the story of the woman He met at the well. Here was a woman with a litany of wrong relationships with men. Yet instead of chastising her, Jesus offered her living water—water that is life-giving, not only in the present but into eternity.
What about the woman caught in adultery? First, it takes two to commit adultery. Where was the man? Maybe that is why Jesus did not condemn her. He waited for someone else to throw the first stone of condemnation. When no one did, he sent her away; but, with a proviso not to do it again.
Jesus didn’t come into our world intending to show that He was right. He came to seek and save the lost; to bring words of healing to the hurting—a message that can resonate with anyone.