Friday, July 17, 2015

I'd love your input

I'm thinking of sending this in next week to the paper for my article. I'd love your input/opinion. This is my rough draft.

I'm Sorry
A recurrent teaching around my house is “how you say what you say is just as important as what you say.” I repeatedly tell my boys that you can be right in what you say, but wrong in how you say it. You need to say the right thing in the right way. This involves respect for the person you’re speaking to, tone of voice, tact and kindness.
 Over the past few weeks I’ve been a little embarrassed by my fellow Christian brothers and sisters because of how we’ve said what we’ve said. We mean well, at least most of us do, but we haven’t been all that Christ-like with our words. At times, we’ve been downright jerks. And I want to apologize.
 We’ve let those who disagree with us, issues we feel passionate about and our emotions trump our obedience to the teachings of the Bible.
 We seem to have forgotten that Jesus said we would be known by our love for one another (John 13:34-35). I’m sorry.
 We have ignored the subtleness of being salt and light. Instead, we have been an obnoxious bullhorn (Matthew 5:13-16). I’m sorry.
 We’ve been more focused on making a point than making a difference (1 Peter 2:12). I’m sorry.
 We’ve forgotten Paul’s admonition to not let any unwholesome and unhelpful talk come out of our mouths (Ephesians 4:29). Paul is clear that our speech should be helpful and it should benefit those who listen. We’ve not been helpful or beneficial lately. I’m sorry.
 We unfairly ask, or in some cases demand, that everyone agree with our standards of morality when not everyone has signed up to live according to those standards (1 Peter 3:15). I’m sorry.
 The fact of the matter, which we’ve made painfully obvious over the past few weeks, is that we do have deeply held values and beliefs. Most everybody does. The reason we are so passionate is because we believe the Bible is true and tells us how we are to live as followers of Jesus. Also, we’re taught throughout the Bible that rebellion against God and his standards comes with serious consequences. We can’t and shouldn’t change what we believe. But we can, and should, change how we respond.
 We should know better. Jesus set a great example for us to follow. When Jesus was arrested, falsely accused, beaten and crucified he responded with these words: Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.
 If you’re not a Christian I can understand why you might not want to become a Christian. That breaks my heart. It’s why I’m saying I’m sorry. Don’t let our shortcomings keep you away from Jesus.


At 7:56 AM, July 31, 2015 , Blogger Boo said...

Dear Johnathan, I read this article just now in the paper and came online to search for you. It is excellent! Thank you! I could not agree with you more. A bit about me: I am 60 and have walked with Jesus all my life. I had the blessing of growing up in a faithful family with deep roots in Christian fellowship. I was an Episcoplaian most of my life...until the national church walked away from the Bible. Now, my husband and I are members of Westminster Presbyterian Church, affiliated with ECO (Evangelical Covenant Order.)

My husband and I met through Young Life in 1975 and have lived here in Hillbrook ever since we were married. I am grateful that the Herald Journal still gives an opportunity for folks like you to speak truth. I dislike the paper for many reasons, but when I read something such as your article, I resolve to keep our subscription. I write to you now, on your own blog because I do not trust the paper to keep comments I send through them private, or unedited.

Thank you though for your courage in saying what so many of us need to say. Fear, anger, blame, accusation, and sarcasm have no place in our individual and corporate lives as Christians. Judgement too, horrifies me, as we should know that as we judge, so we will be judged! Your article made me think of one of my favorite quotes often attributed to St. Francis, though disputed: "Preach the gospel at all times. Use words if necessary."

Our words often betray us as you so carefully pointed out. Again, thank you and I will look forward to reading your articles again. May God bless you, your family, and the family of Hub Bity Church. Sincerely, Betsy Grimes


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