January 26, 2016

Wearing the Name Christian

The editor of our local paper turned his soapbox into a pulpit when he wrote in a recent editorial, “It amazes me. So much in our community is willing to call itself “Christian,” yet so few want to abide by the very Christian principal of love and understanding…and equally important…forgiveness.” He then calls on the religious community to have a city-wide sermon series on forgiveness. It’s bad enough when people feel they are qualified to judge people of faith, but I think we should draw the line at letting them try to script our sermons. Jesus said, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me” (Matt 5:11 NIV).

1 comment:

Steve Corey said...


-----”Brethren, do not be children in your thinking; be babes in evil, but in thinking be mature.” (I Cor 14:20) Did the editor say something in context to skew the meanings of “love”, “understanding”, and “forgiveness”? We use these words like gunnysacks -they carry about any meaning imaginable. If his context made the common error of stretching love, understanding, and forgiveness around uncategorized acceptance, then I agree with you. The Soylent Green fed society today says understanding someone means rationalizing his beliefs and lifestyles; loving someone means accepting his beliefs and lifestyles; and forgiveness means validating them. We know by revelation that all men are false. So why should we think man’s garbage when God has provided nutritious thought?
-----Love seeks God’s good for someone, not what someone wants, and especially not what they throw tantrums over not getting (like gay wedding cakes from Christian bakers.) Understanding someone is simply to have a working idea of what that person believes and its congruities and incongruities with the truth (in as much of the truth as you know.) To forgive someone has nothing to do with his beliefs and behaviors and everything to do with relationship. Nor does forgiveness make a participatory relationship; we are required to forgive everyone, which includes many more fools, thugs, and liars than practicers of godliness. We are forbidden to participate with fools, thugs, and liars, but we are commanded to forgive them, to maintain an open avenue through which we continue to flow godliness to them regardless of what they are and believe. That way they alone are responsible for their beliefs and behaviors, which responsibility is elevated all the more in the presence of godly treatment by others.
-----If the editor was meaning the latter set of concepts, or something more insightful and true than them, then I have to agree with him. Anecdotes abound of Christians who would dare not drink a beer or smoke a cigarette, yet profess their need to forgive later, “Because I’m just not ready to forgive today.” I never actually made a tally, but of my brethren with whom I’ve conversed regarding forgiveness, the far overwhelming majority admit the inability to forgive with no seeming thought given to what their Lord said, “…if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Mat 6:15) Nor would I need a career if I were paid a nickel for every time I hear, “I just can’t love someone like that!” and a penny for, “I just don’t understand that kind of thinking.” To understand something is not to accept it; to love someone is not to support or enable their wishes and wants. Understanding something does not validate it. It is to know its fundamentals, where they came from, what they are supposed to mean, what they actually do mean, how they are meant to effect a situation at hand, and how they actually effect it. Understanding is critical, yet we who call on the Lord refuse to employ it in our relationships. For loving someone requires understanding them so that love will support and enable their godliness, true needs, and prudent desires.
-----Within the church’s patina is an attitude about righteousness being tithing, witnessing, going to church, and not smoking cigarettes or drinking beer. Righteousness as revealed in the Bible is the giant and general category of everything and anything being right and effecting right. Considering church history, its current history included, it seems love, understanding, and forgiveness appear in the church patina as big shows with no concept and little production. Thankfully, that’s only an appearance, because God has His remnant of individuals who know and practice love, understanding, and forgiveness while the church in general proclaims its spiritual wealth.

Love you all,
Steve Corey