Tag Archives: sin

Do you get defensive when criticized?


Shout emoticon

I do! And I am trying not to! An article I read made me put down this reflection while on Sabbatical:

Sabbatical reflection 8: It is easy for us as Christians to get defensive when people criticize us but we must all learn to remember that we are worse than our critics know (we tend to have amnesia about our sinfulness when dealing with critics) and yet still loved by God because we are in Christ.

We are worse than our critics know. If we had a DVD that we could eject from our heads and on that DVD was everything we had looked at as the visuals, everything we had said and thought as the sound track, our real motives supplied by God as the subtitles… how many of our critics and even friends would know that about us? I rest my case. It is also worth reflecting on Paul’s honesty in Romans 7: 15 – 20 and John’s reminder in 1 John 1: 8.

And guess what? God sees all on that DVD and yet in Christ still loves us deeply! Paul’s solution to his sinful condition is the loving grace of God in Christ! Romans 7: 24 – 8: 4. And John’s solution to the fact that we are sinful is the same. 1 John 1: 9 – 2: 2.

So bring on the critics they will only criticize about surface stuff and none of that will change how much God loves us in Christ!

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Have you been hurt by the church?


disappointment.

There are many people who have been. Just like there are many people who have been hurt by families, businesses and various organizations. This was in my thinking as I wrote down…

Sabbatical reflection 7: In our experience of the church here on earth we will always be hurt like in any relationship that matters. We will be hurt precisely because the church and our relationship to it (them) matters. We will also be hurt because we all love conditionally and if our conditions are not met we tend to get upset. Experiencing hurt in the local church should not be surprising and is very seldom a valid reason to leave a particular local church.

The church is a gathering of people with whom we have relationships. These people are all sinners – some redeemed some not. And so as in all places where sinful people gather there will be people hurting each other. This should not surprise us. But it will surprise us and we will be unable to deal with the hurt if we are self-centered and conditional in our love of others.

I think we should encourage each other with the words of Paul in Philippians 2: 1 – 8, “If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider (value) others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of the others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:  Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped (used to his own advantage),but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross!”

But at the same time we remember the same Paul’s words, as he struggles with sin and what God requires of him, in Romans 7: 15, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” And so we should remember that not only will we be hurt, but we will also be those who hurt others. It is inevitable. Let’s not be quick to leave a church just because we are hurt because it will happen wherever we go – another church or even away from church. And anyway wherever we go we take ourselves who will eventually hurt others anyway.

Instead of running away we should use these opportunities of hurt to grow in biblical love as in 1 Corinthians 13: 4 – 8(a) (and these attributes only grow in the context of circumstances where they are hard to exercise), “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

Instead of running away we should use these opportunities of hurt to grow in the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5: 22 – 23(a) (and this fruit only grows in the context of circumstances where they are hard to exercise), “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control”.

Even though there are some circumstances when it will be wise to leave a particular church, I think it is true to say that those who stay and work biblically through hurt will grow much more than those who run away from it.

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Why are we so hard on ourselves and each other?


Currently I am on a 3 month sabbatical. This is both a blessing and a challenge. It is a challenge because I have realized just how much I am caught up in the work of the Lord and when that is taken away I see what I really am (or am not) as a person apart from my work. It is a blessing in that I can step back from the relentlessness of ministry and begin to focus and reflect on precisely these things. Over the next few weeks here on Bible-ography I would like to share some of those reflections with you. I hope they will bless you. I have pasted the bones of these reflections on facebook and on the front page of our church’s website.

Sabbatical reflection 1: On this earth as a disciple of Jesus I am and always will be a work in progress. I have weaknesses and struggles just like all other disciples do. I must learn to grow while resting in God’s grace and allow all other disciples of Jesus to do the same.

ANDAMIOS

This comes from a place where I reflected on why I am so hard on myself as a Christian and how that affects my relationships with others. I must remember that while on this earth although a saved sinner I will continue to fall into sin and will always be a work in progress by the Holy Spirit. And while I must not use that as an excuse to carry on sinning I must constantly remind myself of that and not expect perfection from myself but progress – even if sometimes that progress is one step forward and two steps back.

Oh how I wish people would see me in that way, but I know they won’t because we all tend to be judgmental towards others especially when they don’t do and say what we want them too… and so I must learn to see the very people who judge me in that “work in progress” way too even if they feel justified in judging me as the Bible says they shouldn’t (I am not talking about gracious challenge).

Oh how I wish I would see all Christians in this way and treat them in the gracious way that Jesus does.

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