I know, I know, I’m on a wee break but I want to share with you what I am learning before I forget it. The old grey cells aren’t increasing in numbers.
A little over a week ago I decided to take a bit of a break because I needed to regroup inside. I expressed some of the things that were bothering me in the post entitled “Unanswered Questions“. And that is part of it, BUT THERE IS MORE. I have a routine and I just needed to stop the routine. I needed to tell God how it is with me and honestly seek His guidance, so I did. Inside I felt like the rudder on my little boat had come off and I just needed to get it put back on again. So because I’m obviously one of the smartest individuals out there, I just sat back and asked God to do what He needed to do with me, to get me where He wanted me to be. This involved a lot of sincere prayer and seeking of God’s wisdom.
What happened next was a parade of events and I’m going to tell you about some of them. None of them are profound but together they have painted a picture for me that has strengthened my faith and increased my trust in God’s faithfulness.
In the “Unanswered Questions” post I mentioned about Ravi Zacharias and a person who had decided to walk away from their trust and faith in Jesus that I had exchanged thoughts with a good number of times. I obviously could not do anything about Ravi’s decision to do what he did, but I did reach out to the person who had “jumped ship”. You’ve heard of the expression “Well that went over well!” Not so much. I had prayed about it and felt led to pass on to the individual what God had laid on my heart. It was lengthy but it was not harsh in any way that I could see. They dropped me from following them on their website and did not publish what I had sent them. The door was slammed shut on that one. I was kind of surprised because in prayer, I strongly felt led to respond to their decision to walk away.
Then I got involved in a bit of a discussion with another individual about the necessity and doctrinal correctness of internal Church discipline. I even ran across an excellent article authored by Alisa Childers that covered the opposition she encountered when discussing the subject of passing judgement on serious offences committed by those within the Church. You can read it here if you are interested. The background to her post on judgement is here. The individual who I got into a discussion with had posted a meme that basically stated that you could not love and judge someone at the same time, therefore you should just love them. Paul had to correct Peter regarding his misleading understanding of God’s acceptance of the Gentiles and of course Paul had to correct the Corinthian Church when they didn’t take any action against a believer who was having relations with his father’s wife. Sometimes correction is necessary and required, plus the fact that love and judging can take place at the same time as demonstrated on the cross when God judged our sins and by doing do expressed His love for us. And in essence, all correction should originate out of concerned love for our brothers and sisters.
This individual and myself exchanged a few comments and the discussion remained cordial. But when Biblical examples were presented by myself that the individual could not Biblically refute, it started to go downhill, so I backed off after the individual stopped responding. I decided to followup this exchange with an overview and basic apology for what had transpired but the individual chose not to publish my submission and just continues to vindicate their chosen perspective. The door was slammed shut again.
There is more but this is approaching the long side so I will do the wrap up.
And what is the lesson I learned (again) and continue to learn? Sometimes you just have to shake the dust off of your shoes and walk away. Sometimes, in spite of good intentions, the door is closed shut. You seek God’s guidance, you move forward in faith and if the door is shut, walk away. But do not allow anger, rejection or resentment to cloud the issue of what has happened. If we are faithful to what we feel God asks us to do and we endeavour to speak truth in love, that is all that God asks us to do.
I can’t change the consequences of what Ravi decided to do at some point in his life. I have a hard time understanding how he could do what he did but I still can’t change it. Same thing with the individual who decides to walk away from their faith and trust in God. We all face the same decision at some point, to draw closer or move away. For me, I have gone beyond the point of no return, I cannot walk away, I don’t want to walk away, that is not an answer for me. I have but one choice and that is to draw closer to Jesus. And regarding the correction of other Christians, when they distort doctrines such as advocating never judging others within the church, where serious violations of God’s stated will, (fornication and adultery being a couple of prime examples), are being committed, then there also comes a time when you walk away. Speak the truth in love, don’t allow anger, rejection or frustration to violate the principle of correcting in love, and if it is not accepted, walk away. That is all that God asks you to do. That is being faithful and God will honour your faithfulness with His faithfulness and He is always faithful to His Word. Always.
That rudder that I thought was missing is getting put back but my hand is NOT on it. It’s there but I don’t chart the course. All God asks is that we BE FAITHFUL TO HIM and He will take care of the rest and that includes us and others. Speak the truth in love when He leads you to do so. Make sure that we are NOT doing the same thing that we think we see others doing in the Church (being hypocritical), BEFORE WE SPEAK, follow the process given to us and most importantly, understand the difference between a very serious offence and a difference of opinion on a lesser issue. Always seek God’s consul before speaking.
The Captain of my ship is not me, my Shepherd is Jesus. Learn of Me He says and I am. I am filled with gratitude and thanksgiving for understanding on what He asks me to do. And I may be wrong but in essence, that is all that I think He asks for any of us. He is the author and finisher of our faith, He is our Captain, our Shepherd, our Lord and our Saviour and I am so thankful that He is.
My wee break is not over yet, but soon.
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!