Long has it been since my last post due to the lack of time; however, the winter break affords me joys that I would not know during the school year. Despite the “break,” it really feels as if I am in a constant struggle. Tension at home from transporting people to and from an area leaves me wondering if the head figures in the house understand what they say. It is one thing to mention my fault in this act; it is quite another to question my faith. Certainly, conditions with health and mind may play a role in this hopefully absent-minded utterance of frustration and anxiety; if not, much needs to be said of the way we treat our verbiage towards other brothers and sisters.
“I thought you said you couldn’t drive others. And you call yourself a Christian.”
The last six words comprise of one of the most frequent phrases in the family from a faithful person. Though it may seem unimaginable to do so, it is quickly becoming an earsore and needs to be dealt with quickly. Though I myself have never so much as thought of the phrase, it seems to be treated lightly, especially when I am the target, and I have finally decided between writing this post in hopes that the offender may see it or leaving home and not returning. This six-word phrase should be the most offensive, disgusting, self-extolling object human voices have graced, yet remorse witnessed after its appearance is non-existent. It is not within my nature to do such a thing, but edification may be gained from the writing of this post, and I hope that I may extract human bias and emotion from it and rely on the Word of God.
Two aspects of the phrase must be addressed: the judgment and the lack of forgiveness. I certainly hope calling myself a Christian does not mean that I judge others as the Pharisees of old did, and I also pray that it does not lead me to relinquish my sense of forgiveness. However, the assault of my faith seems to contain an inherent lack of forgiveness and a heaping portion of condescension. How many souls have been lost by holier-than-thou Christians! Yet from history, have we learned nothing that we may continue on in this fashion? Asking me how and to what extent I’ve read the Bible as a way of condemning me engenders not guilt, but skepticism. Certainly, I have not read the whole Bible; the genealogies and such serve to be a stumbling block in my many attempts. However, this is not to say that I haven’t taken to heart the Lord’s exhortations and lessons. Following are a few verses that might prove to be helpful to those who struggle with judging others, and they frequently remind me to keep a civil tongue and reflect upon my own transgression before doling out condemnation to others.
Matthew 7:1-5 ESV
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
Galatians 6:1 ESV
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.
These two verses alone speak volumes of how we ought to conduct ourselves in regards to others in the Body. In Galatians, it says, “you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness.” How easy it is to hear words of edification when spoken without animosity and human venom! It is indeed difficult to maintain gentility while enraged, however, so I will pray for this presence of mind in my own life. In Matthew, it obviously addresses the issue of judgment, and there is no greater example than in John 8, where Jesus spares the adulteress. Let him who him who has no sin cast the first stone indeed! All others would do well to beware of such judgment, lest they be judged accordingly. Judgment is indeed a persuasive temptress; for this trespass, I forgive the offender, for I myself am weak in this.
The next verses relate to forgiveness, and I am not attempting to boast, but I am glad that the Lord has given me a measure of patience and an iota of forgiveness. Patience and forgiveness, as I now realize in the writing of this, are heavenly gifts; I have too long taken them for granted and these virtues call to be acknowledged. The following are verses on forgiveness that have aided me in consciously forgiving others while also praying that I might be even more forgiving.
33 “And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. 34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”
Ephesians 4:31-32 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Even as I seek these verses, I gain more and more light. For I do this not to lift myself up in glory, but to understand further the conduct in the Church and in the Christian walk. Being a Christian, to me, represents following Christ, who was God’s Son and the only one who pleased Him. Even as He was nailed to the Cross, He pleaded forgiveness for His murderers. What manner of love and forgiveness is this? Is my act of “indecency” truly enough to call into question my faith and just not forgive me my foolishness? Had anyone been injured, then certainly, I would feel extreme remorse; however, good food and fellowship were had, so I fail to see the harm in the situation.
It truly must have been God’s will that moved me to write this. It removed all my furious thoughts and has replaced them with a spirit of introspection. The writing of this has been a very intensely personal discovery of how to better conduct my own person among God’s people, and I hope that it may shed some, even if only a single ray, of light on any reader of this discourse.
Post script: All tension has been relieved within 15 minutes of the writing of this post! Praise the Lord!