Sunday, August 17, 2008

Listen to the Tone

I have really been enjoying my new book. Some of the things I have read are so good and they express my heart exactly, so I just want to type it word for word. Darin Hufford says.......

"Over the years, I have watched a growing trend that has brought much concern to my heart. It usually happens when a preacher is relating a conversation he supposedly had with God, and when he comes to what "God said," he presents Him as being callous and coarse in His tone.

I once heard an evangelist recall a word for word conversation where God was confronting him on a matter of personal pride and supposedly God said to him, "you make me sick." Another time the story was told that God's response to a person was, "do I stutter, or are your ears flapping?" It's usually done for effect, but I feel that over time it wears on the hearts of His children. We begin to expect that this is who God is and how He relates to us.

The Bible says to speak the truth in LOVE. Truth ceases to be truth if it is spoken in any other tone than love. Tone is everything! Words speak to the head. Tone speaks to the heart. Even dogs understand this principal. Have you ever spoken words of love to a dog in an angry voice? What happens? The dog runs away and hides.

This is precisely why so many Christians are hiding today. They have been given loving words in an angry voice. Though they have memorized the words in their head, they have also memorized tone in their heart. A preacher can tell his congregation that God loves them every Sunday for a year, but if the preacher doesn't love them himself, the tone will always be contaminated. It's not enough to preach on a subject and cover all the points. Love must be at the heart of everything we do and say and the tone of love is NEVER rude."

I struggled with this for years in my former church. It seemed at the time, that certain things being said were right, but the tone they were spoken in seemed harsh many times. I can remember phrases such as "beat their brains out," and "pea-brained Christians," that were spoken in a callous or rude tone. I would have never used those phrases when talking about my children or other Christians and I cringed as they were said, but I just pushed aside the concern I had over it. I didn't realize until recently that somewhere inside I couldn't help but wonder if God acted the same way towards me. I bring this up to show that there is a danger to your spiritual well-being to sit under someone who isn't using a tone of love and building you up. Your head may get used to it, but your heart never will. You will start to act like a scared puppy and hide from God when you think He will shoot you down or criticize you. These types of actions are the total opposite of who God is. His tone is always love! Love, love, love! And that is what I always want my tone to be.

Darin said, "The only way the Bible can be properly interpreted is if the messenger knows and understands the tone of God's heart." I want to know the tone of God's heart and part of that is making sure I am protecting my heart and listening to the right things. Listen to the tone in which things are being said. If they make God seem like a mean or rude God, it's not right. If Christians or other churches are being put down, God's not in it. We must have the right picture in our hearts of who God truly is. God is love, He's always love and there is never a point when He isn't love. It's that simple.


Anonymous said...

I, too, sat under a preacher that used harsh words to get his 'point' across. He even called people 'idiots' from the pulpit. He didn't name names, but he talked bad about people from the pulpit and gave so many details that everyone knew who he was talking about. He made bashed people who had been divorced and remarried. He made fun of people who had kids on drugs. Even though I didn't like it when mean statements were made, I didn't say anything. I, like you, kept my concerns to myself because I didn't want to cause trouble.

But soon I realized that it was affecting me more than I thought. MY tone was changing when I would deal with people and even when I would correct my children. My attitude was changing to be more like the ministry I was sitting under. That's when I realized, I had to get out and find a place that ministers love and peace~ not pride and haughtiness. I'm so glad I recognized it in time and that it didn't ruin my relationships. Now, I am growing in my love walk toward others and I am watching my words and my tone.

Thank you for this post. It is so true. I hope your readers will heed this warning and listen to the TONE, not just the words.

Anonymous said...

I cannot count the times I have heard harsh and unloving words come from the pulpit,and never heard anyone referred to in a loving way unless it brought glory to the pastor, promoted his ministry or agenda,or put down someone that the pastor was offended with. We were constantly taught not to be offended, yet the pastor used the pulpit to promote and spread his offenses through the congregation. People are wasting away, being told they are loved and are being ministered to in love when in reality there is no love in it. Love produces fruit, and certain ministries have none that cannot be deposited or sold for a high price.

S. said...

I recently heard a pastor of a church say if something divides and subtracts it's of the devil; if it adds and multiplies it's of God. Did he actually "hear" himself? He could not have said it any better.
I might rephrase this. If you do not walk in LOVE toward your congregation and will not be a "man of integrity", you will divide your church and many members will be subtracted from it. Another Godly body of Christ with a LOVING pastor will have these people added to its congregation, and as they receive the Word in a truly LOVING environment and use their gifts there, their joy will be multiplied!
My prayer for those who occupy pulpits is that they focus on God and not self - for He alone is I AM and He is LOVE! For if any of us "speak with tongues of men and of angels, and have not LOVE we are become as sounding bronze or a tinkling cymbal". 1 Cor. 13:1

Anonymous said...

Adressing the comment S. made,

I believe in that same service you are talking about, it was shouted that people aren't even supposed to eat dinner with people who have left the church. If that's not division, I don't know what is.

Set Free said...

I agree with S. and the previous anonymous comment. I just don't understand how people cannot see that it's division when they tell people not to talk to those who have left. Ignoring people and being unkind is not being an example of Jesus. If someone who isn't a Christian heard that Christians were treating others this way, I don't think that is going to make them run to the alter. The Bible says you will know we are Christians by our love. How is it love to shun others? I just don't get it. If a person can so easily be swayed by just talking to another person, then do they really believe in what they are standing for?

How is God ever going to do great things in our communities and in the world if people stay focused on petty things. The picture is much bigger in God's eyes. He sees people as the precious fruit of the earth. We are going to have to see things through His eyes, instead of some angry people who are just trying to use fear to hold something together. I'm sorry, but saying that you will be infected or poisoned by people who don't believe like you do or go to church where you do, is wrong. God has children all over this world and He loves them all the same and I don't think it brings glory to Him when His children are talked about and treated as outcasts. God didn't give us something hard to do, He gave us one commandment to follow and that is LOVE.

Anonymous said...

Set free,
I think people that remain in these controling churches don't see it because they are so happy to FINALLY be getting attention from the pastor. You have to admit, it was such an "honor" for him to even say your name from the pulpit. It sounds crazy now, but when you got attention from the pulpit, it was a special occasion. People actually sit around "amening" pastors that are bad-mouthing others because they want to be "accepted". It's sad to see so many people going after the love of their pastor in this way, but it's the truth. Some don't want to see the truth because they are "enjoying the spotlight". What they don't know is that while their precious tithes are being stored away that bills are going unpaid and their "spiritual father" could skip town without batting an eye. He cares for noone but himself. My heart goes out to the flocks of these self-seeking men.