Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Perfection Part 2

See  "Perfection" (part 1)

A favorite saying of mine is: "We are all wrong about something". There was a time that I felt it important to argue a point to death if I knew I was right and the other person wrong, that the Lord desired me to do so, that it is THE WAY that I can make sure that I make the truth known to all men and women who cross my path....but is that truly the way the Lord wants me to handle the truth? And even if I'm 100% sure I am right, and the other person wrong, doesn't the Bible say that my heart is deceitful above all things?

Jeremiah 17:9  The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

So how do I know for sure that perhaps I am deceiving myself on this point that I think I have a corner on the truth about?

And then there's this one:

Romans 12:16  Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.

Ouch! Well that shoe pinches a bit. "Be not wise in your own conceits" indeed! I've visited blogs where it seems the blogger thinks he/she has it most right, and everyone who doesn't agree is against God Himself....and like I said, I've been there (I say this to my shame). I honestly felt that if I didn't set people straight, that I was not doing my Christian duty.

Ok, I know I won't convince anyone else of what they should or shouldn't do, however I do know Someone who can, in His time, and all He asks of me is to watch and to pray, and to pray especially for my enemies. He also asks me to make sure I have my spiritual house in order (not other people's). If I can help others, such as showing them some kindness, any kind of wrongdoing will convict their own conscience by the Lord's doing it in a way and  a time He knows is best. I guess that truly is a better way than arguing all the time. ;-)


  1. Agreed:)

    Paul speaks a lot about unity in the body of Christ. We need to bear with one another and leave it up to God to sort it out.

    1. I do agree with telling a brother who sins openly in a congregation, but it has to be gently and prayerfully, remembering that we ourselves sin. The first letter to the Corinthians spoke of a man who was openly involved in a sexual immoral situation, whom the congregation cast out from them in hopes of restoring him, because in the second letter Paul admonishes them to forgive him.

      2Corinthians 1:24 Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand.

      1Peter 5:3 Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.

      3Jn 1:4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.
      3John 1:5 Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers;
      3John 1:6 Which have borne witness of thy charity before the church: whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou shalt do well:
      3John 1:7 Because that for his name's sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles.
      3John 1:8 We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellowhelpers to the truth.

      Rom 12:20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.
      Rom 12:21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

      If we can follow the wise advice from Peter we will all do well, but I will admit and confess that I struggle and often fail at it:

      1Peter 3:10 For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:
      1Peter 3:11 Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.
      1Peter 3:12 For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.
      1Peter 3:13 And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?
      1Peter 3:14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;
      1Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
      1Peter 3:16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.
      1Peter 3:17 For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.

      And if I myself struggle to do good, how can I convince a nonbeliever to be a Christian by accusing and berating him for not doing the things a Christian should be doing? If I do good for him instead, and pray for him, the Lord can enter into the situation.

  2. It is a full time job watching after ourselves. Good post.

  3. Thanks for the post. I have been thinking about what you wrote, and I have a few thoughts. First, I think that it is always appropriate to stand against anything that is contrary to Jesus's teachings. But it isn't always clear how we should go about taking a stand against these things. At least it isn't always clear to me. I think that it is often appropriate to speak out in open ways; and, in fact, I think that it may always be appropriate to do so. But again, one can speak out openly against something in different ways. To speak out openly is to make your voice heard - to let people know where you stand. But how vocal should we be in our opposition? And how welcoming should we be toward those who engage in behaviors that oppose the gospel? I guess that this will depend to a great extent on the circumstances. However, I think that we should always express opposition from a position of love, and we should always treat sinners with love. We are all sinners, after all, and very bad ones at that. And Jesus clearly treated sinners with love. I don't expect that any of this is controversial. But everything that I have said is pretty general. When you take a look at particular cases, things are often much harder to decide.

    I have a cousin with a drug problem. I am opposed to the use of drugs, and I oppose his use of drugs. Years ago, I let him know how I felt about drug use generally and his drug use in particular. Not surprisingly, he didn't stop using drugs. Eventually, I broke off contact with him over the issue. Now, I didn't break off contact with him simply because he was using drugs. Rather, he was engaging in behaviors that struck me as dangerous, and I didn't want to expose myself to the potential risks of his behavior. For example, I didn't want to be in a car with him if he had drugs on myself, and I didn't want to be in public with him if he had been using drugs. At any rate, we hardly talk now. Was my reaction appropriate? Did it represent an authentic Christian response to sin? I'm not sure. In fact, I doubt it. Suppose that I hadn't broken off contact with him. Could I still have expressed my disapproval of his drug use? Sure. But I didn't need to do that by bringing it up in every conversation that we had.

    Well, I could go on and on here. Let me wrap up by saying that while we might always have the obligation to stand against immorality and unbelief in an open way, it isn't always clear what this means. I think that people should know where we stand. But where do we go from there? If our goal is to love people and help them to come out of sin, then how can we do this most effectively? And what does the gospel say about all this? I am going to go back to the gospels, look at how Jesus responded to sinners, and think carefully about my relationship with my cousin. Anyway, thanks for posting about this Susan.

  4. Let me wrap up by saying that while we might always have the obligation to stand against immorality and unbelief in an open way, it isn't always clear what this means. I think that people should know where we stand. But where do we go from there? If our goal is to love people and help them to come out of sin, then how can we do this most effectively? And what does the gospel say about all this?

    That (bolded) is what it truly boils down to for me... What I realized recently is that I still worried waaay too much about myself, that whatever I did it was to get brownie points with God, or to make myself look righteous. That should never be our focus. That is where the Pharisees went wrong. It should always be about the other person above myself. How can I help him or her out of that awful predicament he or she has gotten herself into? If I cannot do anything actually helpful, the best thing would be to pray and ask the Lord for His help, which is always better, anyway.

    1. I think often (and I KNOW I'm guilty of this too, sigh) we are much too eager to give other people our haughty opinions of how wrong they are, when it would be much better to be quiet, and wait on the Lord. :( God is humble and patient and loving and kind and merciful and when we badger other people with how awful they are, how are they getting the sense of the loving kindness and forgiveness of our Lord, our Savior?

    2. I think that your comments touch on one of the greatest challenges of the Christian life - i.e., the challenge of promoting the kingdom of God through truly selfless love. It would probably be a good idea for all of us to examine our lives periodically and ask ourselves whether we are meeting this challenge, and how we could do a better job of it.


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