Swallow that Camel

I’m sorry to have concerned so many of my friends with my latest post.  Without a doubt things are not easy.  Sinful people, myself included, don’t make it any easier.

Learning to set aside the deliberately cruel words of believers is a hard thing for me to do.  It isn’t so much the words they say as it is the lack of reasoning.  No matter how hard they try they will never convince that the grass is purple and not green.  Not only does a false declaration not change truth, it points them out as greater fools. God reminds us that it is better not to hear the song of fools. (Ec 7:5).

A statement of the exact meaning of a word leaves very little room for my interpretation.  High doesn’t mean low, nor does low mean high.  No matter how short or tall I am, perspective doesn’t change the definitive.  Period.

Something I have discovered amongst believers whom I have been around is that they claim the authority of Scripture over their lives, but not when perspective changes how they see.  We would call that situational ethics.  The situation trumps God’s Word and His authority.  They claim to obey however they add the BUT to the obedience.  I really should say WE because I know I’m not immune to the affect of sinful human nature.  Isn’t that what causes us all to compromise, or justify in matters that are clearly black and white?

Why do we so desire to concede an whole truth for a partial truth?  Hard as it is to believe the truth about someone, or something, or some situation – truth isn’t subjective, so why are we?

Why do we not acknowledge a lie as a lie?  We have categorized lies into – little, white, harmless, reasoned, etc.

Why do we feel the need to confront others with harsh and uncompromising words, and opinions?  Even when we think we know the facts?  And then expect that they will not respond in defense.

I can think back to several situations in my life.  Chiari would be a significant one.  The evidence proves that Chiari shouldn’t be measured as much on cause (herniation being 5mm or greater), as it ought to be on effect (neurological evidence of a worsening state of being).  The neurosurgeons who have figured that out have helped countless people like me.  Dr. Heffez didn’t wait for me to incur the absolute worst of Chiari before stepping in.  He stepped in and offered a solution towards giving me a measure of my life back while he still could.

So here’s my point.  In the church we condemn the world for everything.  We naturally want to say their wisdom is worthless.  But is it?  I would not be enjoying the good health I have today had I not trusted in the world’s wisdom, given to them by God, of course.  We cry foul that the world knows not the things of God and therefore that settles it.  Does it really, though?

Jesus said to render unto Caesar what was his…do we?  We pay taxes, we pay tolls, and we pay fines.   We elect officials, elect politicians and judges.  We expect the police to uphold the laws…except when it comes to upholding the law against us.  Then it becomes another matter entirely.  Then we cry we must take matters of the church before the church.  Are legal matters really matters of the church?  We cry that we don’t want to give the upper hand to the world or bring government into our churches or homes.  Is that a wise thing?

In our legalistic stances are we robbing ourselves of assets or tools that would be of benefit to the church, or to us personally?

What are your thoughts?

Debbie

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9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jeremy
    Aug 11, 2011 @ 17:40:50

    Legal matters are matters of the state. Period. Just as a church would not want the state to interfere in how it conducts faith and practice, so the church must respect the fact that legal matters are the states business.

    To answer your final question: legalism robs us of more than assets and tools that would helps us, it robs us of the gospel itself, and without that why exist?

    Reply

  2. Dawn Gearhart
    Aug 11, 2011 @ 18:48:09

    Interesting thoughts, Debbie. I do find that we can be very double minded….we don’t want the government in our lives on one hand, and with the other we accept the Pell Grant that puts us through college or an FHA loan that puts a roof over our heads.

    I do think that legal matters are legal matters. There are times, however, where legal matters cross paths with church matters, and both need to react. Abuse, for instance, is a legal matter that often must be reacted to and handled (in conjunction with and not instead of) along with the legal authorities. I think that there are enough current/recent cases that show that this has not been the case. When my neighbors are selling drugs, should I just add them to the church prayer list? No, I should report them to the authorities! When someone in my church is selling drugs, I should report them too. (completely hypothetical BTW).

    I believe that we cannot make scripture say what it does not. We need to live cross-centered, gospel-centered lives, calling on the wisdom of scripture to guide us. We do tend to be hypocritical people….we say that we should love others as Christ does, then shun the gay man or the cult member because they are “of the world.” I’m not saying we should accept or condone their behavior, but we shouldn’t act as though they are any bigger sinners than we are.

    To say that we have to reject the world’s thinking entirely would be crazy – your Chiari experience is a great example.

    Boy, I wish we could have a Dr. Pepper and chat 🙂

    Reply

    • aintlosinmymarbles
      Aug 11, 2011 @ 21:38:00

      Dawn, you hit the very same nail I was, right on the head. I agree completely. There are many times that issues should have been taken to the courts and the leaders in the church made other choices. Perhaps thinking they were helping but actually perpetuating the criminal acts. An abuser who is literally protected by the encouragement for the wife to trust God more. The focus turns to not allowing separation or divorce and is completely blind to the abuse. Physical and emotional wounds that will have an impact for a lifetime.

      There are so many other examples – obeying traffic laws, reporting our home schools – suffice it to say it doesn’t solve anything for the church to railroad the law.

      Amen to the Dr. Pepper and a chat. 🙂

      Reply

  3. Kay Ward Walton
    Aug 11, 2011 @ 19:01:47

    I don’t want to sound contrary, but I would disagree with your statement following “So here’s my point …”
    I have never been in a church (and I’ve been in several) where we condemn the world for everything. Frankly, the churches I’ve been in have simply reminded us that we were all in “worldly” shoes. We didn’t understand the truth of the Gospel spiritually until someone showed us and explained it to us.
    My church leaders have encouraged “worldly professional opinions” in many areas – legal, medical, educational, etc. However, we also need to go to the “professionals” for Biblical advice. It’s wonderful when we can seek professional opinions (medical, to be specific) with the aid of prayer and God’s direction. I know for a fact that God directed my steps to several professionals, some who were and some who weren’t believers.
    For the record, our founding fathers set up the separation of church and state to help avoid a repeat of England and the fiascos there. It’s been interpreted and misinterpreted in the US since then.
    I would also disagree that keeping things separate is a “legalistic” stance. It’s merely a choice churches make based upon convictions. That isn’t legalistic, it’s merely doctrinal or practical interpretation. Each church is individually obligated to act on those interpretations or they shouldn’t be an organized body.

    Reply

    • aintlosinmymarbles
      Aug 11, 2011 @ 21:55:51

      Kay, maybe I shouldn’t have posted this when you were still upset with the litterbug. :-))) There’s an example right there of what I was attempting to point out. You were frustrated with a man you didn’t know because he was rude. But more than that, he broke the law. Now I would ask, if that man were someone you knew, would you have been more tolerant? I know I probably would have been. Don’t want to offend them. Because I was personally speaking of the believers I had been around, preachers I’d heard, blogs I’ve read, facebook status’…you get the point…the statement of everything really was geared towards that circle of my experience. However, I painted with a broad brush when I shouldn’t have. After all, I know some wonderful believers who I know would not turn a blind eye to sin – pew warmer or pastor. And they would deal with it fairly. Even if that meant involving the authorities. In my experience when the needed involvement of authorities arose, it was pushed down very quickly. Diminishing the truth of the sin committed, and/or scaring the accuser into compliance by striking great fear of legal involvement.

      By legalistic stance I mean we are more focused on preferences than using the true plumb line of Scripture and where applicable, the laws of the land. So in the case of a truly criminal act the legalism would be exposed in that the church leaders would ignore the need for legal intervention in favor of protecting image. Make sense?

      Reply

  4. Kay Ward Walton
    Aug 11, 2011 @ 19:03:48

    Ditto to the Dr. Pepper and chat comment above. Sometimes print just comes up short. Sorry if I sounded curt.

    Reply

  5. Kay Ward Walton
    Aug 12, 2011 @ 01:40:22

    I do love you! 🙂
    And yes, even the litterbug, in context in the Lord. [BTW, if I’d known the man, I’d have done the same thing, but actually spoken to him – hopefully with humor]. Context noted.
    I would echo the sentiment shared then, we live BY Scripture UNDER the laws of the land. Hopefully we act according to Scripture in the church, but that doesn’t absolve our need to act legally.
    And then again, we’re flawed, frail humans. Glad HE is patient with us all.

    Reply

  6. aintlosinmymarbles
    Aug 12, 2011 @ 12:32:45

    I love you too, Kay!

    Reply

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