So When Do You Say What You’re Thinking?


If you see a man shut up in a closed room, idolizing a set of lamps and rejoicing in their light,
and you wish to make him truly happy, you would begin by blowing out all his lamps;
and then throw open the shutters to let in the light of heaven.
~Samuel Rutherford, Scottish Presbyterian theologian (1600-1661)…


I got that quote in a newsletter, and it really hit me.  How many times have you realized that a friend or relative was doing something wrong, but were afraid to talk to them openly about it?  Maybe you were afraid of their anger…or their scorn…or just having them laugh at you.  Or maybe you were afraid of losing their friendship or simply hurting their feelings.  All those things are very hard to face, and it’s easier to simply bypass the issue and pretend that you see nothing wrong. 

I’ve heard people say, “Well, whatever makes her happy.”  or, “If he’s okay with it, what business is it of mine?”  And that’s true.  At least to a point.  It’s not our job to tell others how to live.  But isn’t there a point where you can see that this behavior is leading them away from God?  And if so, should we be saying so? 

If you have a friend who habitually watches trashy movies, should you gently point out that God has said to set no vile thing before our eyes?

If you have a co-worker who freely uses office supplies, do you mention that it is actually stealing?

If you know that a family member has begun to elevate wealth above ethics, do you confront them?

If someone you know lives in a way that is an affront to God, is there any reason for you to talk to them about it?

I wonder how many of these things God will hold us accountable for?  Is it our responsibility to attempt to “open the shutters?”  Or, rather than calling it a responsibility, is it just something that we will do, if we truly care?  Sometimes I wonder if I truly have a heart for the lost, when I am so apt to ignore their insults toward God.

As for all the fears I mentioned earlier–that the person might laugh or be hurt or angry…Is this not a case where perfect love should cast out fear?  Isn’t it true that our love for them should be stronger than any fear of their reaction?

Why would we avoid the issue if we love them?





About dayuntoday

I'm a wonderer. I spend a lot of time mulling, pondering, and cogitating. This is just a place to park some of those thoughts.
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7 Responses to So When Do You Say What You’re Thinking?

  1. WOW!  What an AWESOME post!  As soon as I read this, a friend’s face came to mind.  I have been thinking about her and her “lamp” for some time…wondering how she will ever see.  Praying for an open door to gently and with love, point her to God rather than things ABOUT God.  Fear and intimidation are Satan’s two most powerful weapons in his arsonal…to keep our mouths shut and our joy constrained. Thank you for posting this…it has really made me think!

  2. homefire says:

    @boyseverywhere – “point her to God rather than things ABOUT God”  That is so well put!  Praying that you’ll find the proper time and words…

  3. Mandy says:

    um yeah, i didn’t read the post, but in reply to the title of this post, i’m gonna have to say never, unless of course it’s someone you totally trust. =)Just thought i’d throw that out there…Your loving daughter who only reads the titles of your profound posts, don’t worry though, i still love you, i just have a very short attention span………………~Mandy~ 

  4. lglavy says:

    Sigh.  I am such a wimp.  I was recently put to shame when I gently skirted a controversial issue in the presence of many Godly women.  My friend just openly shared her position (and mine, I might add), while I sat there being afraid of ‘offending’ someone.  I have a bit of people pleasing in my background that I want so much to give to the Lord…

  5. mamaglop says:

    I recently told a young man that living with his girlfriend would be immoral. (special circumstances, he has a slight developmental delay)   I think one reason people are reticent, is because there is such a stereotype of Christians being pursed-lipped puritans busy telling everybody what not to do.  We don’t want moralizing to drive people farther from from God.  I think sometimes we are reluctant to direct someone unless a certain level of relationship exists there, and I also think the log-and-mote parable causes some of us to hesitate.

  6. mamaglop says:

    He assured me that was not his intent, that he knows right from wrong.

  7. homefire says:

    @mamaglop – Good point.  I think you’re right that we hesitate partly because we know our own sinfulness, but I’m pretty sure Paul wasn’t without sin, and he was fairly direct!  @lglavy – Oh, boy, do I know what you mean! 

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