Monday, April 30, 2007

Iron Sharpens Iron

Dear Lady discusses how real friends tell others the truth and are glad to receive instruction when spoken lovingly. Actually, I like this blog. It looks to me like she is giving good advice to those who will hear about how accountability to one another will sound between friends. Christians who are trained in these principles are much more likely to accept a correction from their brothers & sisters in Christ, especially those clearly trying to act in Christ at the time

Me, I have been that kind of friend & heard out that kind of friend.

I cannot help but note that very truthful words, though they needed to be spoken, and were spoken with love, just inspires anger unless the person is walking very closely indeed with Christ (even if they have had much proof of your love for a long time). Heck, we even do this in our families. No matter how nicely your mom/bro/sister/hubby/cousin says it, because nobody likes to be caught in a failing. Somehow we all seem to think that naming it out loud makes the error or sin worse in some way. Actually facing it gives the opportunity to fix things as nothing else will.

God knows this much better than any human. He ALWAYS speaks in love and truth, and yet so many spurn His friendship, so many deafen themselves from even the gentlest correction. In God's case, it is kindness to reprove us now, even painfully, before it affects us eternally. He has given us free will, a beautiful world in which to express ourselves, though sadly our cumulative sins have made it a very rough place to be right now. Yet, God, the best friend of all is rejected & blamed by most.

As we seek to represent Christ in this world, we may be told to say things we know will not have favor. We must speak if we would obey God, and if we would truly love these friends. I have tried flavoring such speeches with as much praise & love as I could honestly add, but even this didn't always help. If anything, it seemed to add an odd emotional strain, so I quit trying to 'balance' my words this way. I'll just pray to say what I should as wellas I can and let the chips fall where they may.

I have seen relationships end because someone did speak the truth in love, kinda shocked at the direction a beloved friend seemed to have chosen. Sometimes you find out then they weren't the believer you thought they were.

I have since realized that the carnally-minded take words of loving reproof as proof, instead, that you hate and judge them. That's how they would have meant it. They are sure that if you said something so strong to their face you must be saying much worse behind the scenes & thereafter they will war against you (often behind the scenes). Be warned! Pray first! Sometimes God will tell us to be silent where we thought we should have spoken. When we talk then anyway, we may depart from the best path for ourselves & others.

[I think this is why Christ told some people he healed to be quiet about it while others were commended when they gave God the glory everywhere possible. Being Christ, he knew what the results in each case would be.]

Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

The wise love instruction, but we here on Earth are mostly fools. Christians are only reformed fools

Psalms 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
Consider what they said about Christ among his own people? We are not better than our Master.

But sometimes those words of 'loving reproof' aren't so blessed. Sometimes we don't pray about what we say. Sometimes it is a case of crying "peace, peace" when there is no peace, when a real injury is being passed over lightly. People in positions of authority in the body often feel their leadership calls upon them to make discerning commentary, but if they have been very blessed in a situation themselves, they may lack the wisdom to judge the case of the dispossessed correctly. How shall the one who is full counsel the empty? Does a king have much patience with beggars' quarrels? Does the athlete walk well with the cripple? So too, if we do not seek real empathy in the Holy Spirit before opening our big mouths, may well fail our injured brothers and sisters in Christ.

Too many of those blessed not to see the worst spiritual battles have the sad tendency to presume those who HAVE faced them are entirely to blame for the trials in their lives. Its judgmental, its unhelpful (as even when it is true Jesus would still like to see His stumbling sheep rescued) and its utterly unloving. Yes, hurt sheep can be angry. Yes, klutzy sheep can get injured. Doesn't always mean it was their fault entirely that they got where they are. Determining blame doesn't make the problem go away either, unless you send the person away with it. That is exactly what the poor and needy fear when they hear it, often with good cause.

We are supposed to be concerned with binding up those wounds, being a friend, being a good neighbor (even if they do dislike us, as Samaritans)

It isn't a given we will receive real friendship back by choosing to be one, but its the only way to be God's.

1 comment:

Alpyne Lady said...

Another one: After being the outreach friend, the injured seeker may try to get some backup from the church you go to; and people there push them out the door on that week day...just about literally! No appointment, sorry we did that (cause/need) for this six months. We really are close to ______the other person in some real problem situations. Pray for ears that hear.... if you can trust at all. So now what do you tell them? At least God isn't so deaf.