“Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us." -Titus 2:6-8
Have you ever been around someone who believed slightly different than you? Every day we encounter those with different beliefs that us.
In an age where the idea of relativity and absolutes co-exist, it is essential that we speak other people's language. If we act in an inflexible or graceless manner, we can easily turn people off to the gospel. Likewise, we cannot speak "Christianese" and expect other people to understand what we mean.
Rather, if we use discernment and ask the Holy Spirit what the person needs, there is a far greater likelihood we will speak their language and meet their need, even if the door is not fully open to share the message of Jesus.
I met with a lady one day who expressed that her gifts were a bit out of the norm. She had learned to temper her gifts (the spiritual fruit of self-control), so that people could effectively receive what she was communicating. We must remember it isn't about our gifts and talents - it is about what God wants to say to His beloved creation, in a manner in which they can receive it.
There is a time for speaking boldly; there is a time to stand up for the truth. But, in order to model the love of Jesus, we always need to ask ourselves, "Will my actions draw people toward Him, or will they repel them from Him?"
If we can answer that our actions will draw people closer to their heavenly Father, then we are truly putting His kingdom first.
Related resource: Character Matters: Shepherding in the Fruit of the Spirit by Aaron Menikoff
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