Posts Tagged With: forgiving

Heavenly Chutzpah

It’s been a tough week for our country. Riots at political rallies. An increasingly course discourse. Much angst in the world.

And I know you are feeling it.

Well, consider this PODCAST to be a bright and beautiful shot of much-needed adrenaline to your system, some refreshing encouragement from Jesus’ heart to yours.

Let’s begin our discussion with this: It is one of the most precious, and quite frankly priceless privileges in the entire Bible. I am referring to the one verse that concludes the fourth chapter of the book of Hebrews. One glorious verse that speaks volumes, both to the original readers of this verse, and to us as well.

But before I read it to you, I must first set this scene: As its title suggests — Hebrews — this book was written to Jewish believers in Jesus. These precious people lost everything when they become committed Christ-followers. Unlike the letters of Paul, written to local gatherings of believers in a given city — Rome, Corinth, Philippi — this letter was written to Jewish (Hebrew) believers struggling everywhere throughout the Roman Empire because, due to relentless persecution, they were scattered, far and wide.

We get only the barest of glimpses into their desperate circumstances from cryptic statements such as these:

“Think back on those early days when you first learned about Christ. Remember how you remained faithful even though it meant terrible suffering. Sometimes you were exposed to public ridicule and were beaten, and sometimes you helped others who were suffering the same things. You suffered along with those who were thrown into jail, and when all you owned was taken from you, you accepted it with joy. You knew there were better things waiting for you that will last forever” (Hebrews 10).

Or this in Hebrews 13:

“Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies.”

No one was exempt. Not even someone as faithful as young Pastor Timothy, protege of the Apostle Paul, of whom we read in Hebrews 13:

“I want you to know that our brother Timothy has been released from jail. If he comes here soon, I will bring him with me to see you.”

For the first generation of Jewish Christ-followers, times were tough, their circumstances dire. So in order to encourage them, the writer of this great book made to them (and to us!) this precious promise:

“So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”

Emphasis upon that shockingly bold word “boldly.”

Trust me. That thud you just heard was sound of their jaws dropping and hitting the floor as the original readers scanned those words into their suffering souls, for reasons that you will soon hear.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

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How NOT to be Torn into Pieces (Spiritual Abuse, Part 5)

How’s this for one weird command?

Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you.

Really? Did Jesus really say that? Did Jesus really mean that? Did Jesus really command us to do that?

Yes, He did.

 

So I’ve got to ask: In this context of Matthew 7:1-6, who are the people who are unholy? Who are the pigs (ceremonially unclean animals)? Wanna take a guess?

According to the context of the passage, people who krino others, who “judge” others, are the objects of Jesus’ command, those whom He referred to as “unholy” and “pigs.”

It ought to give us pause. Jesus compared those who “judge” others to unholy and unclean “attackers.”

According to Jesus, what should be our response to those who do judge others/krino us? What should be our response to someone whom Jesus proclaims as unholy and unclean?

This will indeed sound harsh. It needs to be harsh. Harsh words for those of us on the receiving end of such harsh judgmental treatment. Because nothing less than your soul and mine is at stake here. And let me respectfully remind you that Jesus said this, not me! What should be our responses to those who do “judge” us or “judge” others? To Spiritual Abusers? Ready?

Have nothing to do with them.

What should be our responses to those who do appoint themselves as our judges? Who mask their judgment by invoking the culturally Christian mantra, “I’m holding you accountable”?

Have nothing to do with them.

Don’t try to reason with them. Don’t get into an argument with them. Don’t try to correct them. Don’t defend yourself. Don’t debate them. Or in Jesus’ words, Don’t cast your pearls before those who cast stones either in your direction or in the direction of others.

Have nothing to do with them.

Our souls are simply too precious and too fragile to be crushed under heavy loads of guilt heaped upon us courtesy of finger-wagging, verse-spewing, “Christians.”

pig

We are under absolutely under no biblical obligation to tolerate Spiritual Abuse at the hands of another. If that is the price that we must pay to have a relationship with these individuals, then the cost of these relationships is far too much to pay.

Have nothing to do with them.

Jesus taught, and our life experiences confirm, that dialoging with judgers is fruitless, damaging, and too often lethal to our souls. This because judgers will twist the Bible — wield their double-edged swords (Remember that metaphor from our previous discussion? — and use their swords to stab, slash, and decapitate us, decapitate you!

Or in Jesus’ own words, use their Bibles to “turn and attack us.”

Which is exactly what they do. Your soul and mine is too precious to expose ourselves to that kind of judgmental, soul-crushing, spirit-killing treatment.

Hear me: As individual Christ-followers, we are about loving, forgiving, pursuing, redeeming, returning, and welcoming home those who wander away from their ekklesias. We do so because that is what Jesus told His followers to do. The same Jesus who told His followers,

Do not judge others!

The same Jesus who told His followers that when others judge us,

Have nothing to do with them.

If you want to hear the entire discussion, click on the podcast player and get ready to be refreshed.

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