Lifeis+ 2019 Day ???
This happened to get kind of derailed these last two weeks, I had to make some last minute adjustments to the monthly schedule and some of the bigger stuff I had planned has had to be delayed unfortunately. Then I got sick and spent a day in bed dying with the Man Flu, but I’ll get the stories and the rest of the content out as soon as I can. ❤
1 John 4:19 ESV
We love because he first loved us.
It’s a difficult thing to accept, that we are hard to love. Christians, I mean. We can be some real assholes. I mean that in the sincerest way, too. In my experience, some of the nastiest stuff I’ve heard has come from the mouths of self-proclaimed Christians. I don’t think that is just happenstance, either. My perception of the hateful things we say is massively changed because when someone who doesn’t call themselves Christian touts hatred or violence towards another, it is just a failure of humanity. I can see it at face value. When a Christian does the same thing, it is so much worse because it is a failure of humanity that, being a Christian, we should know to fight against.
That’s what I came here to talk about today, the hateful hearts of people who love Jesus.
There are a lot of things biblically that we have to keep track of, what we say, how we say it, do we hold any debts? Did we pay our taxes? Are we being loving and compassionate, have we lied lately? Have we thought angry things about a brother? The list goes on and on, and while I know I am going to slip up and make mistakes, it’s still in our best interest to avoid doing such.
To take an example, on Twitter over the last couple of days I saw a friend getting into an argument with an older woman who was attacking him for no longer dating her daughter. I confusing sentiment, and one that, because I have a fiend’s heart, I sought to watch devolve out of nothing but dark curiosity. The days went by as the conversation continued, one side sinking further and further into insults and defamatory comments regarding a young woman who was innocent in the whole scenario. The older woman was pinpointed with her remarks towards my friend and his current girlfriend, as well as the people who had risen up to defend him. This elderly woman was making no friends in this argument, sacrificing any semblance of control she had to simply assail my friend with her vitriolic speech.
I watched and was enamored with the way it all played out, in a sort of awe because I hadn’t seen drama like that in a long time. On the other hand, I just recently watched a spree of tweets unfold involving a campus minister that I have followed for a few years now regarding Dave Ramsey and his message versus the message of Jesus, in which the tweets were framed with misquoted lines from the bible and misquoted text from Ramsey in order to make a point to appeal to a specific mindset.
The content itself was regarding Dave Ramsey’s talk of money and “doing what poor people do” when compared in contrast to the words of Jesus, were made to sound like Dave Ramsey is all about making as much money as possible.
Now, I’m not stepping into the ring to defend Ramsey or insinuate that one of them was right and the other was wrong in their words. It’s important to note in our day to day, but not the focus of my content today. See, after it was said and done, the minister who provoked a response from Ramsey didn’t get one and was called out by many who disagreed with how he said what he said, and it resulted in Dave Ramsey blocking him on Twitter. Which in its own right is something I fear we have begun to use all too often. Rather than discussion and coming to an agreement of sorts, we seek a sort of pride in the number of people who have blocked us on social media, effectively shunning us.
Proverbs 3:7 NIV
Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.
Yet, our act of ignoring those around us, whether through blocking them or intentionally ignoring the things they say is not what Christ would have us do. So, by manufacturing dissent by misquoting someone, or by bringing out the aggression in a brother/sister in Christ, or by causing another to lie, by forgoing the word of the Lord, we have committed ourselves to sin. If our response to those actions is to simply ignore them, we have created a spider’s web that we will not be able to escape from so readily.
12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
Would ignoring you because of a difference of opinion be kind, or meek, or patient? Would insulting you through subtext be any of those? Would ignoring your difference of opinion be patient? I think not.
We are so quick to assume that others are not living the way God commanded us to live, and we are happy to call out instances of such action. So and so is a liar and a cheat. This woman is an adulterer. This man is a beggar and a fraud. Whatever the case may be, we are quick to jump upon the malpractice of others before we look to ourselves and see that same sinister vine creeping around our hearts. All sin is sin. There are no light sins or heavy sins. Evil is evil, and we have all fallen short. While we are called to aid our brothers and sisters in Christ when they are falling short, we must do so with kindness and love. We are not to draw attention to their actions and we are not supposed to cast judgment upon them.
James 4:12 ESV
There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?
We are not the judge of man. We would make for terrible judges. Due to our sinful nature, each of us would operate with such ferocious bias that we could not judge according to the laws of God. I would cast murderers out with adulterers and people who take up two parking spaces with their car, they would rest just below those people who put ketchup in their macaroni and cheese, as it is not the way God intended macaroni and cheese to be consumed.
Jokes aside, we are unjust judges, and as such, we cannot judge on another. This is true for our Christian family as well as our non-Christian peers. Our judgments are unbalanced and unjust, and for us to bring to light every shortcoming for the world to tear apart is not what Christ calls us to do.
Our duty is to love one another, and as such, we must still love each other in times of strife and dissension. Upon the event where you find yourself face to face with someone who is against you, the Bible calls us to turn the other cheek should one strike you.
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’[h] 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
I’ve misquoted this verse a great many times. Most often, when dealing with someone I personally dislike. I have a habit of doing so, but for the sake of transparency, I needed to explain that before getting into what this really means to me.
While I am no Bible scholar, I can tell you that this verse gets misused a lot. I used to say that when someone hurts you, and you turn your other cheek, that this verse meant for us to walk away. I don’t so much think that anymore. I think it is a deeper message, telling us to be humble in the face of anger and malice. To still act with love, and turn our cheek, not because we want them to strike us again and not because we are unable to strike back, but because Christ called us to forgive.
If I hit someone, and they simply turn to their other side and expect a second strike, I may think twice. But this is only a personal thought. Many would not think twice and lash out again in anger.
We are called to more as Christians.
God knows we will fall, and we will lash out in anger or pain. He knows that we will come short of what we are called to do. In those moments, that’s what I think turning the other cheek is for. To give us just a second to think. When we lash out, it may often be to one who is not a Christian, it may often be to those who don’t have the same principles and guide that we do.
Are we to attack them mercilessly because they don’t know the Lord?
I think not.
I think we are to walk with them. To aid them. Even in times of anger or frustration, still your hand. As difficult as that may be, we are called to be more than merely human. We are called to be like Jesus.
Jesus wouldn’t subtweet you. He would message you privately, and ask what you mean. He would tell you if it is wrong and against what he taught. He wouldn’t dash your hopes aloud before witnesses. He would make sure you knew that he loves you. He would take you aside and explain why what you did is against his teachings. He would not hit you, or embarrass you before your peers. Those things are not kind, nor are they loving.
We must remember to be all that Jesus is. As often as we can.
In dealings with our Christian brothers + sisters, it can often be difficult, in dealings with our non-Christian peers it can be difficult. It is a sacrifice, it is supposed to be difficult.
You know what other sacrifice was difficult?
By no means am I above this. I think a lot of times when I write things out, I get this air about me that says “I’m better than you.” Because I am explaining what I see. To peel the curtain back is to understand, and I hope you understand as you read this that I don’t act with kindness and love as often as I should. I am guilty of casting out love in favor of anger as much as the next guy, but perspective is everything.
From the perspective that God offers me, I am called to be more. To do more. To live a better life than the one I am living today.
I am not called to attack others, to shut them down and ignore them. I must be willing to be patient, to speak hope into the world where there is none. I must act out of love and be kind in the face of all things. We like to champion these various causes, immigration, abortion, greed/charity etc. I see a lot of us speaking as the final authority, using the Bible as a foundation for what we say. That Jesus was a socialist, or using the example of Jesus’ anger towards the money changers in the temple as an excuse for our anger against whatever petty thing that has upset us. Sometimes the Bible is hard to understand. Sometimes it’s hard to follow.
One thing I do know is that it is explicitly clear about a few things, namely, that we as Christians are called to something higher in our day to day actions.
Which means, acting with love as often as we can.
Just like Jesus did.
Categories: Umbral Dawning