Uncategorized

February 3, 2007

Thanks Rick, Farmer Tom and Jason for putting your thoughts into the topic at hand.

And thank you Birdie for the lovely compliment. I sincerely hope to reflect Christ in as accurate a manner as I am able.

First of all, I think it is relevant at this point to ask for clarification from both Rick & Jason on a couple of points. Both of which are causing me some confusion. You have stated the following:

It made me wonder where the love is and how do we have a relationship with people when we tell them what they did wrong, rather than loving them to a point of forgiveness.

Rick also stated:

When in fact, they won’t hear it unless we first have a relationship and second, truly love them. Not a love with even a motive of bringing them to Jesus. Just a pure love for them. God will do the rest.

and Jason stated:

Are we really concerned with the condition of the person’s heart, or are we more concerned about being right, and showing them the way? People can sniff out our intentions from a mile away. All I’m saying is that we need to be careful. We can’t deal with every person on the face of this planet the same way. It won’t work.

and

Many people can be corrected, but if they don’t feel safe with and loved by those doing it, sometimes we can do more harm than good.

Remember we are talking about the behavior of believer to believer not that of believer to unbeliever. Although, while I don’t see the same accountability being necessary I do see a consistent basis in Scripture for sharing the Light as we know it with those who live in darkness.

Rick, it appears to me you are saying how we share truth is relative or even subordinate to the relationship we do or do not have with someone. I can’t quite get my head around a “pure love” that doesn’t include introducing them to the One who makes my very existence possible, offers hope and healing for anyone who comes to Him and redemption for fallen man. How can I love them and leave them wallowing in their ignorance and death? That is like the verse in Matthew 7:7-12 states:

7″Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. 9″Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 12So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

The world is looking to us to bring them the hope of a gracious Redeemer. They won’t find that through a hug or any sort of emotional support structure. They find it by being directed toward the One who opens the door and gives to the seeker. They come to us seeking the Bread of Life we can’t simply offer them human companionship and human love.

If someone comes to us and allows us access to their life would we offer the paltry human comfort which so limits us or do we offer the ways of their Creator?

Jason, where you seem to be having the greatest difficulty can be summed up in one word. Maturity. You have had to deal with individuals who came to you in the guise of “Christian accountability” but who were in fact too immature to recognize their methods were creating the very thing they were trying to avoid. i.e. dis-unity and strife. What concerns me most is that how even 10? years later you still seem to be angry at a man who was willing to risk a great deal to hold a young man and a young woman in his congregation accountable to a higher standard. Do I believe you deserved to be treated that way? No. I think the gentleman was out of line to address you in the way you stated. How did you respond to him? Did you politely and kindly show him the error of his thought process? Did you show him the respect due an older brother in the Lord who, although misguided, was doing the biblical thing by addressing you face to face and not taking his offense through the church gossip rounds and thereby completely destroying your reputation?

The folks that treated your mom badly were wrong, plain and simple. But she was badly wronged by those over her long before she found herself pregnant at the age of 16. I wouldn’t blame the church corporate for the actions of one body well over 30 years ago.

It appears to me that the common denominator in both Rick and Jason’s arguments is that of emotional relativism v. absolutism. As Wikipedia states: Whereas absolutism insists that there are universal ethical standards that are inflexible and absolute , relativism asserts that ethical mores vary from era to era, culture to culture, situation to situation.

The One who created us wrote the handbook on how we ought to interact both with each other and with Him. He tells us if we are sinned against we should “go to our brother” (Matthew 18:15-19). We go alone, we then go with one or two brothers, then we take this person before the congregation. If there is still no repentance we “treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.” We treat him as an unbeliever and begin anew the process of speaking truth and hopefully winning him over to the Lord. But we cannot have the sweet fellowship of the body with someone who is so determined to continue in their sin. He also tells us to “bear one another’s burdens”, “restore such a one {one who has stumbled into sin and has repented} with meekness and humility lest we ourselves be tempted and fall.” (loose paraphrase).

We aren’t given the choice of how to feel about it. We are told, plain and simple, how to deal with it. Regardless of the person who is being sinned against, the person who is sinning and the person observing. Scripture is the level and doesn’t change. That’s our responsibility and G-d is faithful to do that within the lives of those who choose to follow Him.

Consider this, if you will. The Word is the User Manual to humanity. My feelings are my thermometer and the conviction of the Holy Spirit is the thermostat which dictates the “temperature” of my faith. Feelings are important, true. But as I’m just getting over the flu, I can say with a great deal of certainty what I “feel” can be somewhat deceiving as perceptions and feelings are dependent on a variety of external and internal stimuli. As I sat hunched over a heater vent under 3 blankets and shivered uncontrollably in 85 degree heat it occurred to me my internal thermometer was not jiving with reality. We must be careful to not make our faith a relative issue that is subject to our emotional reaction. Our feelings can change at the drop of a hat. At a whim. Today I was angry, frustrated, bored, happy, exhausted and content. Did my lifestyle change that much to warrant such a reaction? No, I was a volatile, hopped up on too much flu medicine and tired of being cooped up in my house.

I could resent the fact I’m stuck here at home with very little to occupy my time and almost no energy OR I could accept the fact that staying home keeps me from infecting others, helps me get better faster and is the wiser choice.

Whether or not I like it.

Rick & Jason you both question the “love v. legalism”. Let me offer this scenario. G-d loves us. Beyond anything we are able to comprehend. Yet, He doesn’t give us a free pass on our behavior does He? If you read from Genesis to Revelation you will find Him constantly holding His people accountable, telling them of consequences which they had earned through their abandonment and outright rebellion to His ways.

In the life of Jesus we find many times where He spoke directly and clearly to anyone who was available to listen. Did He love the woman caught in adultery any less because He told her to “go and sin no more”? Did He love the Pharisees less because He challenged those who were “whited sepulchers”? You must be careful how you define love.

Love is in the action. I may have the greatest intentions. I may have the purest motivation. Or I may be frustrated. I may be flawed. (In case there is any question, I am flawed and often frustrated.) Does that mean I cannot speak the Word into a person’s life? Does the intention of my heart nullify the impact of G-d’s eternal and all powerful Word? Do we spend too much time introspecting and too little time simply obeying? Peter took a step of faith. He walked on water. Did he doubt? Definitely! He sank a few steps later. According to your statements, he would have been completely wrong to even step out of the boat since he didn’t possess perfect motivation. Yet, somehow, G-d used him. Jesus “stretched out His hand”.

So, one final question for you both.

Is it possible that the Enemy uses this “pure motivation” ploy as a means of freezing us into inaction so that no one’s behavior is challenged and confronted?

I can think of one individual in my life in the past year that needed fewer hugs and affirmations and more truth. The devastation she left in her wake speaks volumes to the lack of strength in the believers around her. And I hold myself partly to blame for her state. G-d showed me her heart months before the “ball dropped” and I did nothing. I was too afraid to speak. What if I was wrong? What if I was improperly “motivated”? And now it’s too late for any of it.

I spoke the truth to a young woman in the last year and discovered through our conversation that she didn’t even “really believe in G-d”. So I asked her to step down from being part of the worship ministry. Why would I do such a thing? Because I love her. Because I love the congregation. Because asking her to minister from such a place would be simply using her talents for my own gratification and the “quality of the music”. Did she feel safe after I asked her to step down? No. I don’t think so. But she was safer sitting in the congregation than being a target on the stage. That’s simple logic and basic deductive reasoning. Whether or not her feelings or mine agreed with it.

Basically, I speak the truth in love because staying silent would mean I don’t care about you at all.

Uncategorized

Thanks Rick, Farmer Tom and Jason for putting your thoughts into the topic at hand.

And thank you Birdie for the lovely compliment. I sincerely hope to reflect Christ in as accurate a manner as I am able.

First of all, I think it is relevant at this point to ask for clarification from both Rick & Jason on a couple of points. Both of which are causing me some confusion. You have stated the following:

It made me wonder where the love is and how do we have a relationship with people when we tell them what they did wrong, rather than loving them to a point of forgiveness.

Rick also stated:

When in fact, they won’t hear it unless we first have a relationship and second, truly love them. Not a love with even a motive of bringing them to Jesus. Just a pure love for them. God will do the rest.

and Jason stated:

Are we really concerned with the condition of the person’s heart, or are we more concerned about being right, and showing them the way? People can sniff out our intentions from a mile away. All I’m saying is that we need to be careful. We can’t deal with every person on the face of this planet the same way. It won’t work.

and

Many people can be corrected, but if they don’t feel safe with and loved by those doing it, sometimes we can do more harm than good.

Remember we are talking about the behavior of believer to believer not that of believer to unbeliever. Although, while I don’t see the same accountability being necessary I do see a consistent basis in Scripture for sharing the Light as we know it with those who live in darkness.

Rick, it appears to me you are saying how we share truth is relative or even subordinate to the relationship we do or do not have with someone. I can’t quite get my head around a “pure love” that doesn’t include introducing them to the One who makes my very existence possible, offers hope and healing for anyone who comes to Him and redemption for fallen man. How can I love them and leave them wallowing in their ignorance and death? That is like the verse in Matthew 7:7-12 states:

7″Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. 9″Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 12So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

The world is looking to us to bring them the hope of a gracious Redeemer. They won’t find that through a hug or any sort of emotional support structure. They find it by being directed toward the One who opens the door and gives to the seeker. They come to us seeking the Bread of Life we can’t simply offer them human companionship and human love.

If someone comes to us and allows us access to their life would we offer the paltry human comfort which so limits us or do we offer the ways of their Creator?

Jason, where you seem to be having the greatest difficulty can be summed up in one word. Maturity. You have had to deal with individuals who came to you in the guise of “Christian accountability” but who were in fact too immature to recognize their methods were creating the very thing they were trying to avoid. i.e. dis-unity and strife. What concerns me most is that how even 10? years later you still seem to be angry at a man who was willing to risk a great deal to hold a young man and a young woman in his congregation accountable to a higher standard. Do I believe you deserved to be treated that way? No. I think the gentleman was out of line to address you in the way you stated. How did you respond to him? Did you politely and kindly show him the error of his thought process? Did you show him the respect due an older brother in the Lord who, although misguided, was doing the biblical thing by addressing you face to face and not taking his offense through the church gossip rounds and thereby completely destroying your reputation?

The folks that treated your mom badly were wrong, plain and simple. But she was badly wronged by those over her long before she found herself pregnant at the age of 16. I wouldn’t blame the church corporate for the actions of one body well over 30 years ago.

It appears to me that the common denominator in both Rick and Jason’s arguments is that of emotional relativism v. absolutism. As Wikipedia states: Whereas absolutism insists that there are universal ethical standards that are inflexible and absolute , relativism asserts that ethical mores vary from era to era, culture to culture, situation to situation.

The One who created us wrote the handbook on how we ought to interact both with each other and with Him. He tells us if we are sinned against we should “go to our brother” (Matthew 18:15-19). We go alone, we then go with one or two brothers, then we take this person before the congregation. If there is still no repentance we “treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.” We treat him as an unbeliever and begin anew the process of speaking truth and hopefully winning him over to the Lord. But we cannot have the sweet fellowship of the body with someone who is so determined to continue in their sin. He also tells us to “bear one another’s burdens”, “restore such a one {one who has stumbled into sin and has repented} with meekness and humility lest we ourselves be tempted and fall.” (loose paraphrase).

We aren’t given the choice of how to feel about it. We are told, plain and simple, how to deal with it. Regardless of the person who is being sinned against, the person who is sinning and the person observing. Scripture is the level and doesn’t change. That’s our responsibility and G-d is faithful to do that within the lives of those who choose to follow Him.

Consider this, if you will. The Word is the User Manual to humanity. My feelings are my thermometer and the conviction of the Holy Spirit is the thermostat which dictates the “temperature” of my faith. Feelings are important, true. But as I’m just getting over the flu, I can say with a great deal of certainty what I “feel” can be somewhat deceiving as perceptions and feelings are dependent on a variety of external and internal stimuli. As I sat hunched over a heater vent under 3 blankets and shivered uncontrollably in 85 degree heat it occurred to me my internal thermometer was not jiving with reality. We must be careful to not make our faith a relative issue that is subject to our emotional reaction. Our feelings can change at the drop of a hat. At a whim. Today I was angry, frustrated, bored, happy, exhausted and content. Did my lifestyle change that much to warrant such a reaction? No, I was a volatile, hopped up on too much flu medicine and tired of being cooped up in my house.

I could resent the fact I’m stuck here at home with very little to occupy my time and almost no energy OR I could accept the fact that staying home keeps me from infecting others, helps me get better faster and is the wiser choice.

Whether or not I like it.

Rick & Jason you both question the “love v. legalism”. Let me offer this scenario. G-d loves us. Beyond anything we are able to comprehend. Yet, He doesn’t give us a free pass on our behavior does He? If you read from Genesis to Revelation you will find Him constantly holding His people accountable, telling them of consequences which they had earned through their abandonment and outright rebellion to His ways.

In the life of Jesus we find many times where He spoke directly and clearly to anyone who was available to listen. Did He love the woman caught in adultery any less because He told her to “go and sin no more”? Did He love the Pharisees less because He challenged those who were “whited sepulchers”? You must be careful how you define love.

Love is in the action. I may have the greatest intentions. I may have the purest motivation. Or I may be frustrated. I may be flawed. (In case there is any question, I am flawed and often frustrated.) Does that mean I cannot speak the Word into a person’s life? Does the intention of my heart nullify the impact of G-d’s eternal and all powerful Word? Do we spend too much time introspecting and too little time simply obeying? Peter took a step of faith. He walked on water. Did he doubt? Definitely! He sank a few steps later. According to your statements, he would have been completely wrong to even step out of the boat since he didn’t possess perfect motivation. Yet, somehow, G-d used him. Jesus “stretched out His hand”.

So, one final question for you both.

Is it possible that the Enemy uses this “pure motivation” ploy as a means of freezing us into inaction so that no one’s behavior is challenged and confronted?

I can think of one individual in my life in the past year that needed fewer hugs and affirmations and more truth. The devastation she left in her wake speaks volumes to the lack of strength in the believers around her. And I hold myself partly to blame for her state. G-d showed me her heart months before the “ball dropped” and I did nothing. I was too afraid to speak. What if I was wrong? What if I was improperly “motivated”? And now it’s too late for any of it.

I spoke the truth to a young woman in the last year and discovered through our conversation that she didn’t even “really believe in G-d”. So I asked her to step down from being part of the worship ministry. Why would I do such a thing? Because I love her. Because I love the congregation. Because asking her to minister from such a place would be simply using her talents for my own gratification and the “quality of the music”. Did she feel safe after I asked her to step down? No. I don’t think so. But she was safer sitting in the congregation than being a target on the stage. That’s simple logic and basic deductive reasoning. Whether or not her feelings or mine agreed with it.

Basically, I speak the truth in love because staying silent would mean I don’t care about you at all.