Tuesday, August 07, 2007

stop the madness

These good words are from TeamPyro ...

If God loves the world such that He takes pity on our cities, and labors over them, because they are wicked – not because they are righteous (Jonah 4:5-11), how is it possible that we, the righteous, would fight with each other?

God shows common grace, i.e., unmerited favor to all the world. Matthew 5:45: showing mercy and goodwill toward enemies is Godlike. Jesus Himself called it "love" (v. 45). Cf. Luke 10:27-37. Also Psalm 145:9; Deuteronomy 10:18; Acts 14:17.

That's good stuff and I think God calls us to the same; yet we plunge ourselves into never ending accusation of the saints.

I was asked if I thought some of the comments I made regarding MacArthur, TeamPyro, CRN, Slice of Laodicea, Fide-O, etc. was accurate. Right now I'm sticking with yes.

But I am adding that the spirit behind my accusations of them is the spirit that drove them. I have sinned by being flippant, crude, etc.. It's time to repent. God's grace is unlimited. He is our source. And therefore we must demonstrate the same.

John MacArthur writes:
Gentleness has always been God's will for His people. Job 5.11 says that God "sets on high those who are lowly, and those who mourn are lifted to safety." Moses is described as being "very humble, more than any man who was on the face of the earth" (Num 12.3). And David, the man after God's own heart, wrote, "He [the Lord] leads the humble in justice, and He teaches the humble His way" (Ps 25.9).

Paul instructs us in Eph4.1-2 to show forbearance to one another in love and in Titus 3.1-2 to malign no one, to be uncontentious, gentile, showing every consideration for all men.

MacArthur makes an excellent observation regarding our Lord's life. When he was criticized, slandered, or treated unjustly, Jesus modeled humility. It was only when God's honor was profaned or His truth perverted or neglected did He respond firmly and with force (Jn 2.14-16; Mt 21.12-17; 23.13-36; Mk 13-40; Jn 8.12-59; 9.39-41).

I have more on this but I want to get something posted to say, my thinking toward those I criticized has not changed but my heart is back as it should be. And I thought it was especially cool that God used the words of these guys along with some others to help me.


centuri0n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
centuri0n said...

You see, Rick: this is why I remember your blog.

Let me ask you something -- completely q-and-a style: how do you classify "fight with each other"? I ask because I think I'm curious how your post here doesn't qualify as "fighting" in the sense you mean here.

Let me put that another way, just for consideration purposes. Let's consider that someone -- maybe me -- says something that actually will do harm to another person's faith. For example, let's say that I opined that it's enough to merely exposit the Bible, and anyone who does more than that -- perhaps someone hands out a cup of cold water or something -- is actually way more than God requires of us and it makes us too "God-defocused".

What should another Christian person do if they read me writing something that completely indefensible?

rick said...

Good question(s), I hope I can provide good answers.

I would start first with the idea that we all know when we are fighting. I know the difference in my own heart when I write X and I'm sober, gracious, etc. and when I write the same X but I'm angry, I hold the other in contempt, etc.. The words don’t define fighting, it’s the heart.

I know that I have written some things that fall into the first category and some that fall into the second. So I have to admit, my heart at times has been fighting and it doesn’t matter how right or true my words were, I was not motivated by righteousness, love, etc., only self-defense. Not good.

My second train of thought would be around the basics that I think any of us would apply to our marriage or any other relationship. Those concepts, and I’ll not attempt to list them all, would be; address the behavior or in our case the words not the person, deal with the facts not assumptions (especially regarding motive), ensure you are properly representing the other side, demonstrate value for the other person (assuming there is at least a little – i.e., don’t make it up if it’s not there), address specific statements or points and don’t generalize (e.g., Rick said X not those Charismatics think), etc..

Finally, part of the point of this particular post is that if there is a real need for criticism, then I think it should be done thoughtfully. There is room for humor among close friends but not for public generalization, or poking fun at something the target would not even agree properly represents him, etc..

So, I for one am ok with public critique and wouldn’t require the “did you confront that person privately first” principle. But I cannot be ok (although I have done it myself) with generalizing groups of people, making assumptions about motives and intent, being flippant, etc..

I hope that helps.