Sunday, December 02, 2007

Out of line

'Don't speak evil against each other, my dear brothers and sisters. If you criticize each other and condemn each other, then you are criticizing and condemning God's law. But you are not a judge, who can decide whether the law is right or wrong. Your job is to obey it. God alone, who made the law, can rightly judge among us. He alone has the power to save or to destroy. So what right do you have to condemn your neighbor?" - NLT - James 4:11,12

Why do we feel such a great need to put down those who disagree with our viewpoint?
It's a bit of a rhetorical question. It's because we are in a line. Or at least we think we are. We are always looking at other people in the line and trying to see where we rank.
"Am I better than him?"
"Is she smarter than me?"
"Do I help more than her?"
"Does he think I'm okay?"
etc. etc. etc.

Especially if you claim to be a Christian, get out of the line. Why? It produces pride. It produces envy. You either want to be further up the line, or even worse, you try to push other people down the line.
Instead try to mingle with others.
If you see someone who drinks too much, which isn't a good thing, try to find out why they do it. In that way, you might just be doing the will of God. Making a friend of the friendless.
on earth as it is in heaven
If there is a woman who has six kids, all with different men, you might want to find out how it occured before you start laughing at her like Santa. And even still, getting to know and help would be a benefit. Did Jesus throw rocks when there was a woman caught in adultery, or did He help her out? Giving hope to the hopeless.
on earth as it is in heaven

Isn't that what God is trying to teach us?

9 comments:

Geppy said...

Mk 9:33-35 (NASB)
"They came to Capernaum; and when He was in the house, He began to question them, “What were you discussing on the way?” But they kept silent, for on the way they had discussed with one another which of them was the greatest. Sitting down, He called the twelve and said to them, “If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.”"

Is it not the same discussion?

Roland said...

Very much Geppy.

Had some messages in church a few months back about how Jesus wanted His disciples to not try to be on top and lord things over others.

It was a "power under" vs. "power over" kind of thing. And to be honest, it upset those in power at the time. And befuddled those who tried to follow Jesus.
What kind of sense did it make when the leaders didn't command and control, but instead worked and well, led.
We always think that leaders are like the army general. And they may be. But if they don't get in front and do it, it will not be very effective.

MikeT said...

Roland,

Here's a little counterexample for you. Our pastor did a bang up job making the case that drinking alcohol itself is no sin. A great sermon, and filled with good scriptural references and logic based on them. A woman I know didn't really agree. She is of the opinion that since so many have problems with alcohol that some of his sermon was cheap talk or something to that effect. Bottom line was, she didn't accept the truth, and refused to yield her worldview to the Bible.

Why should a Christian respect her opinion? It's contrary to what the Bible teaches. It's one thing to not diss her as a person, but why should I just say "she's entitled to her opinion" as though it's something worth respecting?

Geppy said...

Because in the Epistles it talks about not causing your brother to sin, and if they think it is a sin then it is. So, we are not supposed to use our liberties to cause others to fall into sin. I would think that this applies to your example miket...?

Roland said...

Interesting point, Mike.
I can only say that those with discernment will notice the same thing you did.
You don't need to say it, she is already doing it.
You don't need to respect the opinion. Just allow her to have it. It might change one day. Maybe you'll bring her cookies and she'll snap out of it. I don't know. But, I have to trust that if we try to bring heaven to earth as Jesus prayed, it can happen. Not fully until God Himself makes it so. But isn't it better to bring heaven here instead of hell?
Maybe the woman lost someone to alcoholism and uses her opinion as a defence. And maybe one day, she'll let someone through that defence. It all starts with love.
Hmmm. Thinking about it, it ends that way too.

Wonder Woman said...

Disrespecting her - it's the whole two wrongs make a right arguement.

When in fact two wrongs make a left..

People are allowed, free will, to have/voice/ their ideas and opinions. It's up to an individual to play validation of those words/actions.

As Christians, it's our JOB to CARE.

MikeT said...

Geppy,

The Epistles say that it is a sin for them, not a sin for humanity. As I said, she is convinced that alcohol consumption is borderline sinful for everyone, even people like me who can easily sit down with one glass of wine or mixed drink, and no spiritual evil comes of it.

The Bible is clear that drinking itself is no sin for anyone, unless they make it into one. For me, it is no sin. I feel no shame or sin when I drink, I don't drink around those who are weak, and I don't drink more than one or two drinks when I do (therefore alcohol does not encourage sin in my behavior). This woman doesn't drink, not because she has a problem with controlling her consumption of alcohol, but because she hates the taste of it. That is part of the reason why I am suspect of her motives.

MikeT said...

I suppose I should clarify that point. She hates the taste of alcohol itself, and doesn't have any tendency toward alcoholism. She is mostly upset because she is surrounded by professing Christians who have drinking problems. Now, it is not for me to judge them, as I have my own problems of equal severity, but she blames the alcohol for their problems. She is anti-alcohol because of what her friends do with it, rather than face up to the fact that it is her friends' own problem with drinking that controls their behavior.

She did try to partially weasel out of it, when finally cornered, by saying that she just didn't see a reason to drink. It's not "edifying" or constructive. She got quite pissed off when I observed that it is better for me to drink a glass of red wine, as it has health benefits for me, than it is for her to eat a piece of cheesecake from Cheesecake Factory (each piece has probably 1,000+ calories, most of which is fat). Yet she still eats dessert...

Timm said...

Mike,
I do think that she is entitled to her belief, whether it be biblical or not. I personally do not think Christians should be drinking alcohol either. (Simply because it's a bad witness.) However, I don't think it is a critical enough issue to even bother with. (The Bible doesn't define drinking alcohol as a sin after all.)
At some point, after you've expressed your concern and given your biblical backing for it, I would say you should back off and ask her to do the same. As long as drinking in excess is not involved, it's not an issue worth dividing the brethren over.