May 09, 2016

The Look of Faith

Generally speaking, Christians are hesitant to evaluate the spiritual attributes we observe in others because we don’t want to be accused of being judgmental, or unqualified. The Apostle Paul encountered a man in Lystra who was lame from birth and had never walked. The crippled man listened to Paul as he was speaking and, “Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed and called out, “Stand up on your feet!” At that, the man jumped up and began to walk” (Acts 14:9-10 NIV). During this brief encounter Paul not only saw faith in the man, but he evaluated the man's faith. I’m now wondering what faith looks like. Can I see the faith to be healed in others… and can they see it in me?

1 comment:

Steve Corey said...


-----There’s always been confusion between discernment and judgment, partly because people do not think deeply enough to distinguish between the two, and partly because the confusion is perpetuated by people who do not want their nature or deeds discerned. There is no scripture telling us not to discern. But discernment is perilously close to judgment, close enough that the scriptural imperatives against judgment can be stretched to seemingly cover discernment.
-----It is good not to go there with them. Discernment is about acquiring knowledge and elevating understanding and insight. The more a person understands the elements of his situation the better choices he will make for interacting with those elements whether they be people, things, or ideas. When Paul tells us not to sleep as others do, but to keep awake and be sober (I Thes 5:6,) he is telling us of the importance of knowing our situation at all times, that is, of being discerning, of using good judgment.
-----The substance of the matter making the two clearly distinct is purpose. Scripture even uses the term “judgment” to express a more discerning role. And every one of us knows this word’s utility as such. We’ve all heard and spoken of using “better judgment” when making choices. We also recognize that such usage does involve measuring up things according to their goodness or badness. But it is not that its measurement purpose involves distinguishing between good and bad that the Bible tells us not to judge. Better judgment’s purpose is to determine the step forward which will build up rather than tear down, that will benefit rather than detriment. We need to do that a lot in life; I think it goes without saying.
-----I have known many situations in the church involving unmarried couples living together. Some of those have been two people mutually at odds with the ritualistic and legalistic aspects of marriage who are committed all the same. Other situations have been of two people merely enjoying one another in a non committed “enjoy it while it lasts, then move on” attitude (similar to the way some treat marriage.) The church has become a moral mess because we’ve failed to step forward and help people caught up in such subtle snares. We’ve allowed this and much more in the church partly because today’s church fails to grasp the difference between condemnation and going forward building up as purposes of judging, and partly because we are too cowardly to help those ensnared in such sins. Thus we use the Bible’s imperative against judging others’ to condemn them so we will have an excuse not to judge others’ to discern what scriptural action to make. There‘s just so much obedience necessary in doing right that most people scare into to the easy way out: just do not judge. Monkey no see. Monkey no hear. Monkey speak no gospel.
-----I think judgment is one of the more important aspects of the new life. By better judgment we do not judge. And for the perils of things done which God judges contemptible, we must judge to warn. How does the blood of the victims not fall upon the shoulders of the watchers when the watchers watch without discernment?

Love you all,
Steve Corey