Zeal to see a loved one come to know the Lord is good. The Bible shows us the wise way to handle this zeal—and it never mentions to argue and fight or tell the whole world how bad someone may be. Rather, in meekness and gentleness, we are to live a godly life before that person. This becomes the means for someone to come to know the Lord (see 1 Peter 3:1–7).
How often we end up losing precious friends and bringing such disunity in our fellowship or in our home by handling the truth without wisdom.
Once a pastor came to visit the GFA office. As I spent time with him, he began telling me all the things he was doing for mission work. Something within me wanted to rise up and say, “This guy is off-the-wall. He is so completely ignorant about what is really going on.” I wanted to explain the whole picture to him and give him the real story of world missions. But suddenly I thought to myself, “There is a time for everything. Is this the time to do it? He is so happy, so enthusiastic. He wants to pour out his heart and tell me what all he has done and where all he has gone. If I start lecturing at him now, what would be the point? I must love him and respect him and honor him. Dignity should be given to him.”
So I listened . . . and listened . . . and listened. I said, “Wonderful, I am so glad you have been to this place.” And then I said, “May I have your business card so I can contact you again?” Then I gave him my book Revolution in World Missions1 and said, “When you have finished reading it, would you give me a call?” He said he would.
Ten years ago, I would have acted differently. I would have said, “You think you know this and that! Well, let me tell you, you are wrong. It’s really like this . . . ” But this is not how the Lord would have responded. We need to make a conscious effort to be sensitive to one another in this way. We need to keep our zeal and walk in wisdom at the same time.
Wisdom is knowing how to properly handle the information and knowledge we have, especially when it comes to relationships. And the Word of God tells us we receive wisdom by having the fear of the Lord. That simply means a close relationship with the Lord, seeking His face and living in obedience. This brings wisdom to our hearts.