An open letter to Matt Walsh from your sister in Christ.
I stumbled upon your blog a few years ago. I remember the exact post. It was about people judging your wife and young child at the grocery store. I remember sitting in my brand-new-to-me minivan full of the brand-new-to-me toddlers, two of them, reading that post in front of the grocery store thinking it could have been written about me. I was a fan then and there.
I loved how clearly you saw things and how un-minced your words were because, I too, see and speak things this way. I loved the truth that was dripping from every well-constructed sentence and I pumped my clenched fist at nearly every reading. I loved every cause you championed, because they were my causes. I hated everything you condemned because we had common enemies. I thought, “Finally, someone with enough balls to speak the absolute truth. Someone who’s really going to give it to them.” You echoed my voice and you had a microphone, a platform, and I’m sure a well-loved keyboard. But, mostly you had an audience. An audience that made me feel like I wasn’t alone in thinking this world had been flipped on its head, an audience of self-professed “truth sayers” like me.
So, here comes the big but. I love you, still. I believe whole-heartedly that you speak the unadulterated truth. I believe that you love the Lord and that your heart beats to serve Him and that you are angry when the things that He hates are elevated and worshipped in this evil society that we cannot escape. I believe that you see what is coming with crystal clarity and I want so badly to cheer you on, for you to represent me and be my voice…but…God has softened my heart in an unexpected way. I have been convicted to the point of sleeplessness about the sharpness of my tongue, and that no matter how much truth I speak, or how loudly I speak it, or how much I love it, that if the very truth which is my lifeblood is not delivered in love it may as well be wastefully sowed on hard, untilled soil. If I don’t love the people that need the truth as much as I love the truth itself, then all my knowledge and foresight and “truth clinging” is in vain.
I know that I don’t have to remind you, so I’ll remind myself, of what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13 when he said, “I may speak in the tongues of men, even angels; but if I lack love, I have become merely blaring brass or a cymbal clanging. I may have the gift of prophecy, I may fathom all mysteries, know all things, have all faith – enough to move mountains; but if I lack love, I am nothing. I may give away everything that I own, I may even hand over my body to be burned; but if I lack love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind, not jealous, not boastful, not proud, rude or selfish, not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not gloat over other people’s sins but it takes delight in the truth. Love always bears up, always trusts, always hopes, always endures.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-7
I want, and we as God-fearing, Bible-believing Christians desperately need, you to speak out! To press on, to be our voice, to fearlessly and boldly point to the undeniable, unpopular truth of Jesus and to hold our feet to the fire. And we, within the body and without, don’t need mere candy-coating, we need true love. Now, I get that love isn’t always warm and fuzzy. I am not looking for a cuddle-session, or for a watered-down Gospel. But I am asking that we, as one body, as the earthly representation of Christ, ask ourselves, and especially our leaders (which you are!) how our message is being received by those who need it most. Those who are our hostile enemies. Those standing on the opposite side of the picket line, or inside an abortion clinic, or (gasp) Target.
When I thought about this in my own life, I always more envisioned Christ over-turning the tables in Temple yard in righteous indignation. I saw myself representing this moment in His ministry, and I did it eagerly, and often. I turned a lot of tables. And burned a lot of bridges, and at the time, thought, “good riddance.” Then, as He softly began to peel back the layers of my heart, He brought me to the realization that He only did that once. We know that He had more than one confrontation with outright, defiant sin. We know that He walked along side it, lived among those that quite literally bowed down to other gods, sat down to dinner with it without ever condoning it. Without ever softening the offensive message that sin only leads to hell and without Christ as our Savior, we are all damned to spend eternity there. That there is but one way to God the Father and that is through Jesus Christ. But He loved them, like He loved you and me. His kindness brought us to repentance, right?
We aren’t called to agree with the world, or to tolerate sin, but we are called to do more than to tolerate sinners, we are called to love them like He loved them. Like He loved us, while we were yet sinners. So much that He laid His life down for them without ever missing an opportunity to speak the truth.
Please hear that I love you and your boldness for the Gospel. Please hear that we the people need your voice, but, the Gospel is offensive enough. Help us to look more like Christ by calling us to love rather than just calling out how we should hate. We’re with you. We hate what He hates. We agree with you on what is sinful, and ask that you keep reminding us, but because we are a forgetful people, remind us often that the very thing God hates is housed in the hearts of those He so passionately loves.
Grace and peace to you, my brother.