Posts Tagged With: loving

If Clichés Could Kill You

As you will hear in this PODCAST, there is a myth so commonly taught that it has almost become cliché. So universal is this teaching that if I echoed it in this message, very few would even question it.

Yet, it is one of the most exhaustingly exasperating, or self-exalting teachings we could ever hear.

And in that sense, it can often be diabolically defeating for any Christian. Perhaps even for you.

Give this a listen, and see what you think.

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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Gentle Shepherd

Jesus-Good-Shepherd-guides-meLast week, I introduced you ever-so-briefly to the subject of shepherds. This because Jesus drew our attention to all-things sheep-and-shepherd-related when He defined Himself by saying, “I AM the door (gate) of the sheep.”

This week, in this PODCAST, we’ll discover together exactly what Jesus meant when He identified Himself as the “door of the sheep.”

The important point to remember from last week is this: Life for the shepherd was and is unpredictable and oh-so-difficult.

You might remember that when his or her world is rocked by undeserved trauma of some sort, a shepherd will never ask the question of God, “Why?” Or “Why me?” It is a given that life in the desert is tough, and that problems are the norm.

Shepherds “get it” — that in this world of ours, bad things do indeed happen. Bad things do indeed happen to good people. We live in a world where, as but one example, men are born blind. And as Jesus made crystal-clear in John 9, it has nothing to do with the man’s sins, or his parents’ for that matter, as assumed by the disciples who asked Jesus about that very thing.

In the thinking of a shepherd, the evidence of the blessing of God in someone’s life is NOT the absence of problems or pain. The evidence of God’s blessing is His peace-giving presence that shepherds us through our problems and pain.

As Peter (who knew his fair share of suffering and pain) completely understood, Jesus is and ever will be our “Shepherd, the Guardian of our souls.” (1 Peter 2:25) A shepherd who guards our souls not from trouble, but while we are in the midst of trouble — undeserved, unpredictable, oh-so-difficult problems and personal pain.

Given all of that, what then did Jesus mean when He identified Himself as the “door of the sheep”? More than you can possibly imagine.

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 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.

PEARLS

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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