Those of you who aren’t old enough to remember what a broken record would do when it was broken, might miss the meaning of this phrase. When records got scratched, sometimes they would stop where they were playing and just go back to the beginning of the song and start all over again. So what you would have is the same uncompleted song being played over and over again. That which was originally meant to bring appreciation, ended up being a source of frustration and annoyance.
There is a need to pursue balance, to not always be focused on one particular thing or aspect. Even with following Jesus, this is true. If I focus only on one aspect of Jesus and overlook the fullness of Christ, all that He is, I only see one part of who Jesus is.
I’ve learned to be leary of those who focus their message entirely on identifying, over and over again, what isn’t correct and what it should be. It’s not that identifying what isn’t correct isn’t important or necessary, it surely is, but that is not the whole picture, that is not the whole message. When negativity is continually reinforced, over and over again, and positivity is also not reinforced, a coldness moves in and the fruit of the Spirit becomes increasingly scarce.
Galatians 5:22-23 NASB “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
There are some web ministries that devote themselves entirely to pointing out false teachers and doctrines. I personally have chosen not to do that because of what I see it can cause. There can be a distinct persona that manifests itself, in some, especially over time. There’s an “us and them” mentality that appears and the “us and them” quickly becomes “what I’m doing right and what they are doing wrong”. I’ve deliberately learned to avoid some of these sites because God’s Spirit within me witnesses to the fact that the fruit of the Spirit is just not there. The facts may indeed be factual but somewhere along the line they have moved away from the balance, which includes speaking in love, that is also necessary.
That “balance” can be hard to define and may not be the same for everyone. Even that “understanding” needs to be part of the balance. I obviously can’t speak for anyone else and can only speak for myself. Indeed, my “balance” may be different from yours.
I do know that all Christians are not at the same level of Biblical understanding (myself included). I do know that all Christians have different levels of maturity (myself included). I also know that God in His Word, asks me to take that into consideration and cut those who are weaker in faith some slack.
Romans 14:1-3 NASB “Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only. The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him.”
Note that we’re talking about matters of conscience here and not doctrines.
Navigating the obstacles on the Christian path can be tricky and requires some flexibility and sensitivity. I may lean towards Progressive Creationism and another believer may lean toward Evolutionary Creationism or Young Earth Creationism, but that does not mean that we have to be totally opposed to one another.
There is a distinct difference between stating your case and demeaning the intelligence of another individual who holds an opinion that differs from our own. And this list of “sensitive” subjects is not short.
Finding this “balance” is not easy. Differences of opinion can often involve our emotions and we know how easily emotions can become detrimental. Even “emotions” can be an example of finding a balance. Are all emotions that we have necessarily bad? No they are not, Jesus wept over Jerusalem (Luke 19:41) and the believers wept over Paul when they knew they would not see him again (Acts 20:37). Our emotions can be a result of our faith and at the same time, they can be a result of our lack of faith, such as fear when Peter denied knowing Jesus (Luke 22:54-62).
The general principle that I try to follow, and I admit with “limited” success, is to lift my brothers and sisters in the Lord up, which I believe is one of our responsibilities.
1 Thessalonians 5:8-11 NASB “But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him. Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.”
I’ll be candid with you, I haven’t got the scope of balancing all that I encounter within my walk with Jesus nailed down. I’ve seen where my emotions got involved and I have had to apologize. I’ve also seen where my “balance” has been imposed upon others and the Lord has seen fit to correct me.
I’m thinking that the “Golden Rule” spoken by Jesus is indicative of the balance we are to continually seek.
Matthew 7:12 NASB “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”
I’m thinking that “everything” is pretty inclusive.
UPDATE: If you read through the comments on this particular post you will see some dialogue between Sue Love and myself. Sue raised some valid points and I’m thinking I could have done a better job in differentiating between what I consider is a ministry that does a good job of focusing on warning Christians about false teachers, false doctrines and watered down Christianity and other web ministries that attempt to do the same thing but do so in a manner that leaves a lot to be desired. I’m not really keen on providing specific links as examples but I’m hopeful that the essence between the two different approaches is understood. In one of the first comments on this post, Beverly also brought the same point to my attention. The oversight was on my part and I should have been more aware of the requirement to provide clarification of the difference between necessary repetition and the manner in which that repetition is presented. The written word is not always an easy medium to use, to effectively convey precisely what one meant to say. I thank you for your patience.
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!