Friday, January 6, 2012
I am a professional at judgement. I think everyone would agree that we all are. The intense scrutiny we apply to our own lives, what we lack, what we fail at, what we didn't do, what we did. The frustration and anger that comes from reliving these things everyday, just can't help but make us lash out at others. What they lack, what they fail at, what they didn't do, what they did. We are so good at it because we practice on ourselves so much! The easy faults we pick out in others, should give us a sign on what we need to work on ourselves.
Christians are very good at this. We spend everyday meditating on someone who was perfect, wanting to be just like Him. We struggle and fail and then become frustrated with ourselves. We have missed the point entirely! He says over and over in His word, that what we are trying to attain is not possible. We should not expect it from ourselves or from others. What a relieving thought.
Here is an idea. The next time someone does something that you would like to judge. STOP. THINK about it. Think about when you made that same mistake and have compassion. Share your trial, struggle, victory or failure. You just might find a friend in the person you thought you didn't like.
Monday, October 10, 2011
Monday, September 12, 2011
When do I graduate?
Ever since we were kids, there has been a method to our madness. We started with preschool. A prep time. A time to get us ready for the real learning. We learned how to be socialable with other kids and how to eat healthy and take a nap. We abandoned all of these concepts as soon as we reached High School but that is not my point of this writing.
We then reach first Grade. We start our building blocks on which the rest of our education rested. We continued through elementary school and then to High School. When we reach the tender age of 18, we find ourselves in the position of graduating. Oh, to graduate. Our school tells us that we now have the foundation we need to continue on and do whatever we can dream of. We now have our High school diploma and we don't have to go back!
Each of us then have the choice to continue their education through college and so on. However, eventually we graduate. You might be asking what I am trying to get too. Ok, here it is.
As believers in Christ, we understand that there is no limit to what we can learn about God. We understand that our relationship with Him is an ever growing, ever deepening relationship and will continue to be thus through eternity. With that understood, however, there seems to be a graduating point in the scripture for individuals from the basics (milk) to the not so basic (meat). The growing up knowledge from when we first become believers (infant) to a person who lives and acts knowing their responsibility to Jesus and are working in the very gifting that they were blessed with (adult).
Hebrews 5:11-14 says this:
11 There is much more we would like to say about this, but it is difficult to explain, especially since you are spiritually dull and don’t seem to listen. 12 You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word.[c] You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. 13 For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. 14 Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong.
There then seems to a maturity level that all of us who claim to be christians must come to. When is this spot? How is it graded? Who is the one that decides if we are there or not?
One thing that is quite evident in this passage concerning these questions is the ability of the person to decide what is right and wrong. In fact it seems to be the deciding statement as to who is mature and who is not. Those who are still needing milk or those who have gone on to eat the meat. In the beginning Paul also refers to the fact that we should only be taking milk for so long. That we shouldn't continue to be on the milk but there is an age of a believer that they should be teaching others. He says of those he is writing to in this passage that the reason why they can't understand the more difficult things is because they are spiritually dull and don't seem to listen.
What does it mean to be spiritually dull?
I think that the answer is something we can find ourselves. I believe we all at one point of time have felt that we are spiritually dull. It goes something like this. A restlessness that won't leave. A feeling of inadequecy. A feeling in our hearts that we are not doing enough. A desire to want to learn more or dig into scripture more. Being sick of the status quo. Wanting to do more for him.
We continue to go to church on wed. and sunday nights. We continue to listen to the same teachers and same sermons. We have it told us that we need this. We need to be reminded of the basics over and over again, but when is the point that we graduate and began to teach others? When do we graduate? Isn't our job to go from the milk to the meat? Are we not suppose to go from being infants to adults? Do we need to continue to here the same messages over and over again because we are spiritually dull and hard of listening? Are we keeping ourselves in the spot or are those who claim to be our overlookers? When do we start to teach? Not because we want fame and fortune but because it says we are suppose to in scripture.
I believe that the current structure of things depends on us not graduating.
In science we learn that the body is a flowing fountain of cells. The old ones move out why the new ones are created. Isn't this the way that the body of Christ should be. The old ones moving out to teach and newer ones taking their spot. But we have the idea that big is good. We continue to hold on to the old ones for number purposes and not releasing them. I am not talking about new preachers taking older for the old ones. I am talking about each and every Christian growing to a maturity level that they are able to distinguish what is good and what is bad. We are all suppose to become teachers with our lives. Be good, patient and kind. Show people how powerful truth is by being honest with your life and others.
When do I graduate? Good question to ask for any christian.
Saturday, September 10, 2011
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
When I was interning at my first church, I remember very vividly how my down days would go. The pastor's wife there, whatever good intention she had, would see that I was down and tell me I had to not let my emotions rule me but I was to rule my emotions. She would then advise me to put on church music and worship my way out of it. She had a very caring spirit but here is where I believe this scripture comes into play and where she was wrong.
What is it saying when we say we need to worship our way out of sadness? Logic would tells us then that sadness is bad. Is sadness bad? NO. It is an emotion that God gave us. In fact, in this specific scripture, God tells us to be sad with those who are sad. We are not to force our way out, OR TELL OTHERS TO DO IT, but we are to get down with them. I am reminded while I type about scenes in the old testament where someone's family member has died. They would rip their beard and tear their robe and fall down to the dust. They would literally pour the dirt over their heads in anguish. Think about the symbolism here. To them they believed the creation story, where we came from dust. Obviously rolling around in it would remind us that that is where we came and that is where we will go. To help us understand that death happens, doesn't totally cure our mourning but it does take the sting out a little. Also, the beard was a sign of pride, the longer the beard, the better the man. To actually pluck out your beard, I can't imagine, is to say you are nothing. God gives and God takes away. It is a sign of saying that you are not in control.
I seem to be ranting. What I mean is this. When you see a person falling to their knees and ripping out their beard and throwing dirt on their face. Don't pull them up and slap them and tell them to get it together. Get down on the ground, rip out your beard and start throwing dust on your own head. Show them that you understand or that you want to understand, that is a true friend.