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Being Right, But Mean

We spend a lot of time and energy debunking theological error and warning the world of sin, but in the end the pivotal question that we must all face is how we have treated people. In God’s view it is simply not enough for us to be right. We must also be nice!

Jesus said the essence of the gospel is found in the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12). In the final judgment, with the allegory of the separation of the sheep and the goats, the burning question that each person is asked is not, do you believe in the 2300 year prophecy? The Sabbath? Or did you tithe? Did you believe that women should be ordained to ministry? While such questions may have importance, they pale into insignificance in comparison to the question of whether we have treated one another with compassion and grace (See Matthew 25:31-46).

What we believe is significant because such knowledge can be transformational. But knowing the truth does not necessarily make us into nice people. In fact, having a knowledge of truth without a personal relationship with Jesus can do more damage to the church and the world than if we hadn’t known the truth at all.

To the legalistic Pharisees Jesus said, “Hypocrites! For you cross land and sea to make one convert, and then you turn that person into twice the child of hell you yourselves are” (Matthew 25:13, NLT).

Some people use the excuse of “calling sin by its right name” for being mean. But in the end, there will be no excuses for treating anyone other than we ourselves would wish to be treated.

“The Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22, NLT).

Only Jesus can soften the hard edges of our hearts and give us gentle, humble spirits.

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About Rich DuBose

Rich DuBose

is director of Church Support Services for the Pacific Union Conference

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