January 20, 2011

Alongside Not Upside the Head


Someone half my age told me something that hit me like a brick. It has been in the back of my head for 2 or 3 weeks in different forms. I have had a dream about it as it has been in the forefront of my thinking. Then along comes one of my friends from my Greek class...

"You don't need to know everything. It's good that you know the Bible so well but...you don't need to try and learn it all. People won't remember whether you knew something or not or if you knew everything but they will remember whether of not you loved them."

It felt as if I had been hit with a divine 2 x 4. He did it in such a manner that I had to smirk at his tact but he did it in a way that had enough of an impact for me to stop dead in my tracks. I personally believe God in His perfect timing used this young man at just the right time to get my attention. I had bee told this before by others but it had stuck a little but either my sin pushed through again or I was being shaped gradually. Patience has never been a strong point for me. Neither was humbleness but over time I have realized I'm a sinning idiot and this has helped with the humbleness part. I've missed the mark on patience though. I have missed it totally. I have shot wide and landed off target.

The greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the one who serves. ~Luke 22:26

What I am about to say is obviously not an excuse to be Scripturally ignorant, it just means that there are ways to reach people other than bludgeoning them over the head.

I figure if we actually do try to learn and know everything we have a few issues that may put us in conflict with God. Control and supplanting ourselves intellectually or just plain being a know-it-all. To me both of these make me rather uncomfortable. God wants us sharp, no doubt about it, especially when it comes to salvation issues but everything else requires grace.

But...

We are to come alongside others and gently exhort them, not bash them over the head. Love them with actions not batter them with our dogma. It is the same thing we would do with our very own children. We need to come up along side people to guide them, gently nurture them to teach them, not constantly rip into them until you break their spirit. You can win the argument and still lose the person. Conversely, you could win the person by loosing the argument, especially it is a non-salvation issue.

So I pray that I learn how to better come up alongside brethren and non-brethren alike rather the cracking people upside the head with the Word. Trying to help people by showing them I know how to answer their questions does nothing more that let people know I have answers..not whether I care or not.

This was my reality cross-check for the month. I one statement this young man revealed two truths. He has more of a heart for people than I do and I have some more work to do in the sanctification department. Clever and insightful. God bless him.

We need to come up alongside them with Jesus, not bludgeon them over the head with Jesus. I must admit that I have struggled with this one.

3 comments:

Don and Shelly said...

So very true...

Barbara said...

I'm not making excuses here since this is a lesson well worth learning if we are to be Christlike. However, I do believe it has to do with personality types and giftedness as well. Paul also appeared to have difficulty in this area. His intellectual drive caused him to become impatient with those less passionate of intellectual pursuits. Our understanding of Christ should drive us to act like Christ...that should translate into acts of love and compassion. However, the body of Christ is also varied in it's giftings so that we are fully equipped to complete the works of Christ.

Andy Pierson said...

I wrestle with this all the time. How much conviction? How much compassion?

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