I marched up the stairs, patting myself on the back the whole way, so proud of how I handled the news I had been given. I had received similar news about a year before and didn’t handle it so well, so this time I was prepared and man was I super spiritual and loving in that moment. Well, about a year later I learned that the other party had seen things differently than I had.
In 2 Samuel 6:6-7, David, along with thirty-thousand troops were transporting the ark of God from Abinadab’s house to the tent which David had pitched for it. We are told that along the way, “When they came to Nakon’s threshing floor, Uzzah reached out to the ark of God and took hold of it because the oxen had stumbled. Then the Lord’s anger burned against Uzzah, and God struck him dead on the spot for his irreverence, and he died there next to the ark of God.” Now I am pretty sure Uzzah’s intentions were good when he reached out, but it makes me wonder if his heart wasn’t quite right in that situation.
As I read this story, I saw myself in Uzzah. Often my intentions are good, but sometimes even with good intentions, I get it all wrong. There are times my heart and my intentions aren’t on the same page. That night when I was given the news, my intentions were to love well and look like Jesus, but I apparently forgot to check my heart. Although my heart was happy, it was also broken at the same time and I struggled to match my heart to my intentions.
I know from experience the struggle between loving people and speaking God’s truth to people. The line between the two is very fine. As Christ followers, we don’t want to love so much that people think we are ok with any way of living, but we also can’t go around Bible thumping everyone, completely turning them off to Christ. I wholeheartedly believe there’s a time to speak the truth in love. However, the way to illuminate Christ in you, more often than not, isn’t by what you say, but how you live. Your life will always speak louder than your words.
That night, in my attempt to be righteous and loving, I failed because although I may have been righteous, I wasn’t loving. My heart was broken a year later to know that not only had I hurt two people I loved so dearly, but I also didn’t handle things the way Jesus would have. Therefore, Jesus wasn’t illuminated in my life that night.
Can I encourage you to love like Jesus and extend grace like he does? He will tell you when it’s time to speak the truth in love. Sometimes in our attempt to do right, we just get it wrong, BUT I am so thankful for the grace God offers to us and others. In our good intentions “let’s see to it that no one misses the grace of God” (Hebrews 12:15).