Matthew 18:2-4 NIV “He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
Sometimes we wander down a wrong path, sometimes we presume what we should not presume and sometimes we enter into areas of controversy that we have no business of getting into. I’ve gone through some interesting exchanges with a blog friend the last few days and having done so, it has given me reason to reconsider just what the heck I am doing and most importantly, the mindset that I have been bringing with me.
I don’t know about you but have you ever gone to a place where you know that you shouldn’t have gone to and wonder just how the heck you got there in the first place? Well that’s kind of what I did. My intentions were good, or at least I thought they were, but I’m having seconds thoughts.
I’ve always had a bit of an analytical mind, where I can see or at least think I can see, the unfairness of a particular perspective and the false reasoning or assumptions that can be the rationale behind it. I ran into a situation like that a few days ago and like I have often done in the past, I did some homework and wrote about it. The subject matter isn’t important. My mindset that I took with me, on this little side trip, is. You see, I have this personality trait problem.
I have a strong dislike for someone who expounds upon the correctness of their summation on a given subject and basically gives a thumbs down to all those who do not adhere to their particular point of view. I especially dislike it when condescending or critical and negative adjectives are utilized that demean someone else’s perspective, that in my opinion, contradicts or argues against, the premise or the rationale of the critical position that excludes most others.
I don’t think it is not an overstatement to infer that the Church, the body of Christ is not in good shape. I think most of us can easily acknowledge this. I could list all of the problems that the Church faces but that isn’t the objective of this post. Most of us know that we have strong members and weak members. I don’t consider myself a strong member, I’m somewhere in the middle, I’m not especially weak but I’ve still got a lot to learn. The thing is that there are a lot of Christians that are in the same boat that I am in, people who are honestly trying to follow the guidance and commandments of our Lord, imperfect as we all are. What really gets my goat, so to speak, is when some other Christian, takes a wide swing at criticizing “the vast majority” of the Christian Church, by basically putting almost everyone in the same boat, and of course, their perspective is the absolute right one and everyone else is wrong. I react to that and in retrospect, I should probably stay away from instances where I see that. And it’s not because there is anything wrong in challenging an almost “all inclusive” criticism of the Church, it’s the baggage that I bring with me when I enter into these “conversations”.
I really dislike it when I hear “the vast majority” of the Church or “the vast majority” of Christianity for that matter, being criticized for adhering to what is presumed as an incorrect understanding. As far as I am aware of, there are no perfect people and there are no perfect Churches. But within that imperfect Church, which I readily admit is in dire straits, there are decent and God fearing people who are honestly endeavouring to follow our Lord. Some of them are in the Church I attend and some of them are in the Church that you attend. It angers me when I see virtually everyone being cut off at the knees except of course, the small number of those who happen to agree with the individual who expounds upon the correctness of their enlightened way.
But this is not new, the early Christian Church ran into the same situation, right from the onset, but ….. and this is important, we were not left on our own to sort these things out. God’s Word does provide guidance. I’d like to share some of this guidance with you. You’ll probably be able to see some of the baggage that I brought with me into my conversation with my Christian friend. Not so much in presenting my argument, but in particular, things that I didn’t do. That’s why it is important not to enter into these discussions unless we can be honestly mindful of the prerequisites and most importantly, practise them.
Interestingly enough, I ran into a post today that specifically deals with this particular subject, disagreement. If you have the time you can read it here.
Romans 12:3-5 NIV “ For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”
Romans 12:9-13 NIV “ Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”
Romans 14:1-13 NIV “Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarrelling over disputable matters. One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.
One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written:
“‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
‘every knee will bow before me;
every tongue will acknowledge God.’
So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God. Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.”
Philippians 2:3-4 NIV “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.“
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Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!