September 29, 2011

Spiritual Disciplines XII: Nobody's Fool

Apt Pupil of God and Self

I have learned that God is truly long-suffering. He patiently waited out the stiff-necked Israelites right to the bitter end. He continually gave them second chances. He even asked the Father to forgive them for they did not understand what they were doing as He hung on the cross. I personally have learned that longsuffering is loves struggling mate. There can be no true long-suffering, tolerance and patience for someone…unless you love them. Only true ἀγάπη / agape love would allow a person to continually be dumped on and deserted but continue to give love to their abuser expecting nothing in return. We could all stand to learn from this selfless act.

Apt Pupils Are Flexible On Non-Essentials

I have realized that I can win arguments but loose people. I now understand that dogma in orthodoxy is a good thing but dogma in the non-essentials prohibits me from winning people to Jesus Christ. If I become dogmatic and legalistic about non-essentials I build a wall instead of a paved path between the person I am evangelizing and myself. Being on fire for God is fine. Trying to light people on fire for God like a blowtorch on paper is not. Blugeoning people over the head with the Holy Spirit has a counterproductive effect. People don’t care that you know your Bible upside down and backwards and can spout doctrine and Calvin’s Institutes…they care that you love them and will hug them when life sucks. They care that you will be there to lift them when they fall and stumble in this life. I have learned if I do these things first and occasionally bring them cookies or candy…they will listen to just about anything you have to say and will often buy whatever you are selling (figuratively speaking). What this says about my journey thus far is that either someone has been slipping Valium into my coffee or God is doing a tremendous work of cleansing and sanctification in me. I believe it is the latter of the two obviously. I believe the Lord has me closer to where He needs me to be to have an effective ministry. I am far from perfect but I am not the exact same person I was either. I am justified in Christ…and that is the best start anyone can have.

Epitome of The Astute

A person that is teachable is a listener and an observer. Nobody learns anything flapping their gums all day or shuttering their eyes from the world. Silence is usually all that is needed for someone to teach. Light on things is usually all that is needed to learn. Light exposes truth and silence solicits a reaction. Silence is a vacuum in the company of people that usually needs to be filled. Unless one is trying to rest their mind in preparation for prayer silence usually does not stay so for long. We are social people and the one that learns the most is the one that sees and hears. It is these type of characteristics that I run constantly in many different people that are teachable.

How To Deal With Other Opinions

When I hear something I do not agree with I try to figure out why the opinion is disagreeable. Is it my prejudices or is the opinion or idea just repulsive by its nature. Sometimes things are just plain repulsive because they are truly and sincerely wrong. They are so far outside an acceptable morality that they leave no question to their “wrongness”. If they are more middle of the road I try to evaluate the truth of the statement. In fairness I have learned to do this otherwise I remain in a myopic intellectual bubble. What is worse is I can potentially become ignorant and hypocritcal. I would not be intellectually honest if I did not evaluate in fairness the pros and cons of a given position...even when I may not agree with them. That being said, if after completing the evaluation I find the opinion to be outside biblical limits I call the person to task to defend their position. Usually by doing this I expose the flaw in their argument and dismantle them. If they have validity to their opinion I will respect it and nod or walk away with respect for the person and their opinion. Relationships are about compromise and teachable moments. If we do not compromise and realize that we could potentially be wrong or admit we don’t know something….how could we ever possibly learn? Trust me…no one is that smart.

"Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still, teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning” ~Proverbs 9:9

"The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, turning a man from the snares of death." ~Proverbs 13:14

“A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered. Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue. ~Proverbs 17:27-28

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...