Christians are NOT allowed the luxury of neutrality.“He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.” Matt. 12:30... “For he that is not against us is on our part.” MK. 9:40... “And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us.” LK. 9:50... “He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth.” LK. 11:23NARRATION:
It was 6:45am. She hates unloading the dishwasher anytime of day but she was doing it. Loudly. After a particularly rowdy session of removing bowls I said something to her about the noise. Her point was she wasn't being loud on purpose...my point was that she wasn't trying to be quiet either. We take virtuous refuge in the things that we didn't intend as if to say, “Since I didn‘t intend that to happen, it must have been God‘s will.” We think we are not accountable for those consequences which we did not intend to happen. But here's the thing..."Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need."
Paul is saying that it isn't enough to just not steal anymore...now you must labor honestly...for the purpose of having something to share.It isn't enough to not intend harm
...for every action or thought that we don't intend we must be clear that we are seeking the opposite. We are NOT allowed to just do as we please and then say, “Well since “that” was not my intent, I’m not guilty of causing it to happen.” The whole world operates on this premise. You in all probability did not intend to cause the auto accident, but you may still be charged with causing it. As disciples of Jesus Christ, our “intent” is always on trial. Our motivation for doing something is just as important as our actions. Another good example of this principal is found in “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: (meaning that “we had no relationship, therefore, these works are not motivated by the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, ie., John 16:8-10) depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Matt. 7:22-23. He calls those works of iniquity, what we would call good works.I didn't intend to be rude.
But was I seeking kindness?
“Old brother so-in-so is just plain spoken like that“…No he’s not, he is self-centered and just unloads his mouth regardless of who it may hurt, he just don’t care enough to try to be kind by being careful how he speaks to people. To him, “If he didn’t mean to be rude, and someone has their feelings hurt, it’s their problem.” “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.” Eph. 4:32. This is a call to be intentional about being kind.I didn't intend to be disrespectful.
But was I seeking to show respect?
This is always an easy fix; The rule of thumb is always, “Would you want to be treated, spoken to, or “respected” the same way you are treating, speaking to or showing respect for this person?” Whatever you are doing, would you want that done to you? Remember, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.” I Pet. 2:13-17.I didn't intend to tear down.
But was I seeking to build up? I didn't intend to hurt you. But was I really seeking the best for you even at a cost to me?
People will say, “Well, what I said was the truth.” That may be, but the question is “Was it also necessary to say that out loud?” Is this what will truly be best for edifying this person at this time? “Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.” Rom. 14:19... “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do. I Thess. 5:9-11... “… Let all things be done unto edifying.” I Corin. 14:26.I didn't intend to be hurt by you.
But was I seeking to be longsuffering?
Again, this is making sure we not only KNOW the difference between “patience” and “long-suffering” but practice the difference. “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.” II Pet. 1:4-9... “But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.” I Tim. 6:11... These all have to do with condition or circumstances. We are working to grow in our condition of “divine nature.” We are to add to our circumstances of “following after these things.”
“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” Gal. 5:19-25... “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. Eph. 4:1-6. These scriptures deal with people. It isn't enough to NOT intend the wrong thing.
We have to purposely pursue to do the right thing. We must be so aware of what we don't want to happen as a consequence of something we do, that we become very intentional in what we do want to happen.“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Eph. 5:1.
We are to be an intentional body of believers, because He was intentional.
Labels: Discipleship; Crises; Identity, Long suffering, Neutral