Thursday, July 26, 2007

Not out to make friends

I hate being critiqued. I have to admit that there is a thorn that is thrust into me and causes me to gasp when someone starts correcting me. However, I will always see it as a method that God uses to grow us. Whether the correction is rightful or not, I must remember that it is obviously something that plagues someone's heart.

The best manner to handle it is this - assume that it is true. Take it in and consider yourself. Then go back to scripture and then consider God's word. This makes you comply with James 1:19 "Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;" and you will be displaying humility, which is best. My worst times are when people correct me on anger, sometimes I even get angry over that.

However sometimes the harsher the words, the greater the effect. I have been noticing that strong words are not necessarily bad words. You can be harsh and be loving. Consider John the Baptist in Luke 3:7 - 9:

'He said therefore to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire."'

John was angered over the people 'doing the deed' rather than living the life. These people were going for works-based salvation. He insists that fruits must be produced that display repentance, which is so important.

If you consider Spurgeon, talking to ministers:

"There are some preachers who care very little whether they [their congregation] are attended to or not; so long as they can hold on through the allotted time it is of very small importance to them whether their people hear from eternity, or hear in vain: the sooner such ministers sleep in the churchyard and preach by the verse on their gravestones the better."

As Jack Hughes said: "I'm glad he said it." Some things may sound harsh, but sometimes a harsh word will sink deeper than one that is too careful. We must pray, however, that we present God in the most loving manner possible. But as Christians, we must take a stand on the truth. We must issue God's word, his truth. But remember that God loves the sinner, not the sin and we must love likewise.

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