For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:17)
What is the overall tone of our ministry—is it to condemn or to save?
Look at the ministry of Jesus. This verse is part of his talk with Nicodemus, the teacher of the Law who came to Jesus at night asking questions. I wonder if Nicodemus might not have left more confused than when he came. Here was a man people were calling a prophet, but he wasn’t like any prophet who went before him.
He didn’t call down fire from heaven; he turned water into wine at a wedding—good wine and quite a lot of it. He didn’t part the sea or send plagues; he played with children and set out picnics on the beach for his disciples.
When Nicodemus asked Jesus about his message, he didn’t retell all the shortcomings of the world he had come to straighten out. Instead he told him that God loved the world, and that he did not come to condemn but to save. He didn’t demand Nicodemus do penance for his sins; he invited him to be born again. He didn’t even chide Nicodemus for his cowardice in coming to Jesus at night. He graciously answered questions at a time and in a way this fearful leader needed.
Do our communications, in what we say, preach, and write reflect this redeeming nature of our Lord? How easy it is to take pen in hand (or today, mouse and keyboard) and to pile on guilt. Not that there is never a time to point out error, but for the most part we do well to remember it is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict of sin (John 16:7-9). It is our job to share the good news of salvation and the joy and fulfillment of living for Jesus.
Most people today know they fall short. They aren’t sure quite what of, but a pervasive sense of guilt fills many lives. Alcohol, drugs, food in excess, unhealthy relationships, and overwork are some common attempts to medicate the pain.
People don’t need more bad news from the followers of Jesus. They need examples of hope and love. They need clear directions to events that can change their lives and clear communications on what they need to do. We need to pray for clarity in all we create. We need to pray that our tone (in ways we may not even be aware of) always reflects the welcoming, saving love of Jesus.
May your communications be filled with messages of salvation, of the grace and love of your Lord.