Wednesday, 11 December 2013

MYOB {being agreeable when you disagree...}

This post is going to be a little ranty. It's about an issue that has been on my heart and mind for a few weeks now.

It all stemmed from hearing about the public confession of someone who had fallen into sin.

It rattled through the internet express, and hit the headlines on a lot of blogs.

It was sad. Sad, more than anything else, because someone, to whom many people looked up to, had been involved in sin and confessed to doing wrong.

The repercussions were inevitable.

That is where my problem lies.  I don't want to analyse the sins of another, with no knowledge of the facts or circumstances.  It's not my place to judge. Knowing what I know, my only plea is "Lord, keep me from sin, and keep me near your heart".

No, my problem lies with the reaction of others. I see, so often, and hear it from people far too regularly, people airing their opinions on things that are really none of their business. I am not suggesting that we can sweep everything under a carpet, or hide from bad things that happen.  There is certainly much to be taken and learnt from the experiences and circumstances of others.  We can learn not to make the same mistakes, if nothing else.

My problem is with people who latch onto one thing they see that they don't like, and start to pick apart the entire lives of others who don't hold to the same point of view.  I have seen downright bitter and ungodly responses to the particular man I initially referred to.  People making assumptions, casting aspersions and judging the heart and motives of those involved. It's not our place to do such a thing. We do not know their hearts. Worse than that is then pulling apart their entire lives, based on one sin, or one area of their lives that the others didn't approve of.

"Quiverfull movement"

"Patriarchal movement"

These topics are being raised and torn apart.

I am not saying that I advocate or adhere to these "movements".  I am not even going to comment on what they are or what they involve. I simply have an issue with people, especially Christians, who see others with a different point of view and cannot just let them have it.  Both these subjects are not primary issues, and yet people can become rather vitriolic about others who hold to them.

Undoubtedly, some people can become obsessed with a subject, in their Christian life, and make far too much of it. People in both the camps mentioned above have a tendency to make something which IS a secondary issue, into a primary one. However, many people may hold to the principles involved in these movements, to a certain degree, not to the nth degree, and yet they get criticised by those standing by.  People who seem to think it's their business to share their point of view on what the other holds to.

It happens with home-schooling, too. Maybe you could say there is a "home educating movement"?? (Maybe people do, and I am so IN it, I have never heard it?!!??)

People like to give their view on how we have chosen to educate our family.  Our family size.  How we live our life.  Our plans for our family.  How we run our home.

It seems, that Christians today have developed an intensely critical spirit, and can't just let people make their own choices on secondary issues, without telling them they are wrong, instead of accepting them as simply "different".

Where's love, long-suffering and compassion gone?

Where has intelligent discussion, tolerance and mutual respect gone?

Instead, I find a critical spirit, harsh words and bitterness directed at those who are different.

As with all I say, I try to bring it all back to the scriptures. I don't want my blog to be about MY viewpoints, but in what the Bible tells us.

"Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 
Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 
Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 
Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things"
I Corinthians 13:4-7

How can we not go to this chapter, and remember what REAL love is?

We need to be truth seekers, if we love.

We need to be patient, if we love.

We need to think the best of others, if we love.

We are not to be glad when others stumble, if we love.

We are to be tolerant of the views of others, if we love.

We are not to think our own point of view is more important than that of others, if we love.

If we DON'T love, then we are not the Lord's at all. Ergo, we need to display all these attributes, iN ORDER to love.

What about the fruit of the spirit?

"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."
Galatians 5:22-24

There is never a topic that is so important that we can cast aside gentleness in how we deal with others in communicating our point of view.  We are to be gentle, when we disagree with others - when others are as strong about what they believe as we are about what we believe. We need to put to death - to cast aside - any tendencies towards a sinful attitude and behaviour, when we share a viewpoint with others. 

"Let your speech be alway with grace"
Colossians 4:6

It's what I tell my children, and have to remind myself. It's not always WHAT you say, it can also be how you say it!  Oh boy - does that really say "alway"?  I know MY speech is not always gracious. I'm talking about right here at home, never mind with anyone else. There's something I need to work on, right there. 

"Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers."
Ephesians 4:29

If our speech being full of grace is HOW we say something, then this is more about WHAT we say. We need to put our point of view across in a way that encourages and builds up others. It may make them think, but it won't immediately put their up if we put it across in the right way. I think, if we always try and back it up with scriptures, that's a good start. (That is a subject, weighing on my heart, formulating in another post...) However, if it doesn't tie in with the "gracious" part, it can still come across wrongly. We need the whole package. The right words and in the right way.

I need to remember, too, that there is a time and a place for everything.  Sometimes we need to hold back on saying something. Sometimes things NEED to be said, because no-one else is saying it.  We need to wisely seek the Lord about what and how we speak. 

Oh, and another thing to remember.  Words that are in type do not have the same expression as the spoken word. Emotions, and sentiment, are not always fully understood when you read something. I try my very best to express myself with love and grace.  When I am reading, I equally try and have that same love and grace, in order to take things in the best possible light. Not to be negative or critical of the words of another - to be open to interpreting them in a way that is positive. 

Let's be more tolerant of those that may have different viewpoints on things that are secondary. Let's be more gracious in our responses to what they say or do. Let's be careful in our replies to those who we disagree with. Let's remember that we are united in Christ, and love is ALWAYS the most important thing. 

As my  Dad used to say, when we asked him what he was doing when it was none of our concern...


Mind your OWN business.

Keep being responsible for your own attitudes, actions and words, and be less critical of others.

1 comment :

  1. Hear hear! I have just had to deal with something similar on my blog about the celebration of Christmas! I have not written a post in reply (although perhaps I should have) but rather responded in my comments.

    If we as Christians were careful to MYOB and rather build up the body - wouldn't the world be a better place? United we should stand as a better witness to the world. Instead so often time is wasted and energy expended at debating a difference of opinion which at the end of the day has nothing to do with our salvation!

    Too manyy focus on legalistic do's and don'ts and not enough emphasis on the BY GRACE YOU ARE SAVED part!

    Great post and beautifully written.