Last week while reading 1 Corinthians 6:18 and encouraging you to read the version in the Message Bible for greater and lasting insight, saying that it could be used to share with those whom you have expressed love and are open to hearing the truth. While writing that statement He revealed what He wanted me to write about in today’s message. A message He’s spoken to me about often and what I’m excited to pass along to you now.
Often we won’t use PR that are submitted because the sentiment comes across as Preaching.
Most people, especially someone who is in sin, does NOT want to be told what to do. This is common in the churches and in the world. Instead, He says that we are each to be an Epistle [a letter or form of communication] read by all men. In other words, our life needs to be what they read about us—how they see us live our lives.
Nevertheless, it’s foolish to think, for one second, that living a self-righteous life or religious life will make anyone want to follow you or ask your advice or be open to anything you say. Instead, people in sin will ONLY feel drawn and come to you when you’ve exhibited unconditional love and a non-judgemental attitude towards them and everyone else.
Read these verses to lay the foundation of this principle.
John 3:17 AMP—“For God did not send His Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him.”
Proverbs 20:19—“He who goes about as a slanderer reveals secrets, therefore do not associate with a gossip.”
1 Peter 4:8—“Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.”
1 Corinthians 13:8—Because “Love never fails.”
If you’ll permit me, I can’t help thinking of my mother when reading these verses. Though my mother was far from perfect, her love for her children was perfect. She never spoke against others, and if we did, she said, “If you don’t have something nice to say about someone, don’t say anything at all.” And even though she couldn’t keep a house (as you know from reading w@h), nor did she arrive anywhere on time (instead she’d be hours late), with all these faults, the part of her that everyone noticed was that she loved us and others! None of her children could ever deny that fact and because of it, none of her children ever went astray. And this is the way she’d treat everyone she’d meet too.
I’m not sure if I have that sort of love that she had, though I do believe I’ve exhibited that same love, due to my mother’s example, to my own children and others. But if I had to guess, I’d say witnessing her epistle of her life made me want to be like her, yet, it was experiencing His love that changed me! Without it, I’d never be capable of loving the unlovable. And that is almost always expressed through patience and not preaching at/to others.
1 Corinthians 13:4–8—“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails . . .”
This verse says a lot more that jumps out: like bragging.
Often Praise Reports come off as bragging and it’s this unbecoming attitude that, sadly, is so prevalent amongst Christians. They brag about their righteousness, while all the while their righteousness is nothing but filthy, stinking rags. (Read Isaiah 64:6 to see how filthy.)
Back to being preachy. It’s not altogether a bad thing to speak to a woman in a praise report, but only after you’ve first been real and transparent about your own mistakes. And always keeping in mind, first and foremost—that’s it’s HIM who deserves the praise so how could we possibly boast— unless it’s boasting about our weaknesses? (Read 2 Corinthians 12: 9-10 for greater and lasting insight.)
Yet even more important than when submitting a PR when WE are able to protect others from your preachiness: What about your preachiness when you foolishly believe that this will benefit your coworkers or your children or even your parents. Do you honestly think preaching or judging or being self-righteous will help them know the Lord? It won’t. Instead, it will put a huge wedge between them and God—most dangerously a loathing for the Savior who is capable of changing everything and who, you say you’re following. A Christian literally means a follower of Christ.
It’s only when someone feels LOVED, especially when it’s undeserving, that a person is open to hearing anything you or I have got to say—coupled with humility—like being transparent about how we’ve failed.
—And this means loving each person “while” that person is “yet a sinner” just as Jesus did in His willingness to die for them.
What He calls us to do is to be His ambassadors, which means we show them the love and respect they deserve, which we are bathed in being His bride. That’s when a loving relationship, that is without judgment, is secure and is the foundation to build upon.
Trust me if your epistle, your life, reads this way, then you won’t need to go looking—people will come to you to find out about Him—all due to your true humility that acts as a magnet.
The reverse side of this "epistle" lives full of arrogance and pride, act as a repugnant—driving everyone not only away from you, but from Him.
Bragging and preaching to me reflects an immature high school kid who flaunts his or her designer clothing or expensive car—when they did nothing to earn it. Instead, all they have belongs to and was given to them by their parents, so they should be humble and grateful instead of bragging or flaunting.
In closing, with a heart of gratitude and humility, remember that rather than preach—be transparent and boast about your weaknesses—then see what happens. LOVE others, with the unconditional love you are getting from the Lord and see if your life doesn’t change. If you believe you’re struggling in this area, remember to renew your mind by reading the verses from this message daily, until your desire for change happens.