For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. – Hebrews 4:12 NLT
I’ve been thinking a lot about the different camps that divide the church… and while there is a need to stand up for the truths that are in the scriptures… and there is a need for us to highlight messages that aren’t true… we all would agree with most of that… HOWEVER I believe that the camps we have found ourselves in are just making us lazy.
There used to be a time that people used to turn to the Bible when challenged… they used to check translations… they used to put it into context of the whole story of the Gospel message that had been threaded through the dozens of books of the old and new testament.
These days… we listen to the pod casts of those that we like… we talk about the Gospel with only those who share our views… we read books by people we know will challenge us a little bit without making us have to think too hard about the logical conclusion…
And we have become lazy…
We have become slack on the gospel story…
We are missing out huge chunks of the message of God.
It’s good to like good writers… it’s good to talk about gospel things with people who share our same view and it’s good to read books that cement our way of thinking… However… we need to get outside out nice little insulated Christian bubbles and look beyond what other people within our circles are thinking… we need to really get back into the Bible.
There seems to be more and more people who assume what they believe is right but it’s not based on personal study… it’s based on simply what they were told… that’s why you are seeing large crowds of presumable smart sophisticated Christians following people who’s message just doesn’t stack up biblically.
I love the book of Acts and I have most likely read that book of the Bible more than any book of the Bible… but this scripture caught my attention… I love how scripture is like that… you can read the same story 4 or 5 time and then one day this amazing realization hits you.
And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth. – Acts 17:11 NLT
These guys are just cool… they didn’t just take what Paul and Silas had to say… they were challenged and they went back and read the scriptures… not just read the scriptures in this version it says they SEARCHED the scriptures… and not just once or twice but “day after day”
So are you just believing what is being told?
Or are you being challenged and then going and checking it out in light of The Truth…
Sometimes don’t you just want to say to people “I told you so?”….
Sometimes don’t you just want to shake people and say “what on earth are you thinking? “…
Sometimes don’t you just want to….
The list really could go on couldn’t it, people do dumb stuff… people do foolish stuff… people are unwise… and people are just plain reckless.
So how can we actually tell people?
How do we actually DEAL with it?
In first John 1:14 it says that Christ came with “Truth and Grace”… so what does that mean and how does that help us?
Well let me put it like this:
TRUTH + NO GRACE : If tell someone the truth but you don’t do it with grace it’s like hitting them over the head with a bat saying “do you get the truth?” – all it does for the poor ‘victim’ is hurt… and they probably won’t think about it too much more… and you’re left picking up the pieces of a ‘once was’ friendship…
NO TRUTH + GRACE If all you give is Grace but don’t tell them the truth then it’s like giving them a big hug while you keep all the frustration to yourself. This is not good for you because you’re keeping the frustrations of things that someone else did in your own heart, and the only one loosing sleep over it is you. It’s not good for the other person either because they don’t know where you stand on an issue, and therefore don’t learn from the situation at all.
TRUTH & GRACE: This is the hardest isn’t it… getting the balance right. Christ was able to be hard but he also had grace. Imagine if you were about to abuse someone for doing something wrong… and Christ came into that situation and said “if you’re blameless… then go ahead”… wow… could you follow through after that?
Jesus was a bit different in the sense that he knew more than everyone else (after all he was the son of God) but it makes me wonder if on the really important issues we really need to take a measured approach… we can be as ‘hard’ as we need to – because if you don’t have the truth and go in ‘gung-ho’ you could end up blowing up something good, so why don’t you take time to dig a little deeper. On the other hand however… you could be talking round in circles if all you give is grace so why don’t you try and push a little harder, and get to the truth of the matter.
The answer TRUTH and GRACE… everything else will fall into place from there.
There will always be things we can’t control and we may have to let those things go… but what we can control his making sure we handle the tough situations with TRUTH and GRACE.