Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Love. Again.

It just so happens the very day I had a discussion with a dear friend about the progressive church's view on love and the neglecting of the commandments of God, Kimberly at Raising Olives posted on the very thing. That in turn, prompted me to repost a post I did on love a while back. I'm just copying the post. You can visit the orignal post to see a little discussion over the topic.

Repost from 12/29/2009

This post was prompted by some responses on my Righteous Judgment entry. Throughout the past few years, I have heard it said a lot. “Judge not, lest ye be judged” and “love your neighbor as yourself.” All of this is scriptural and can be found in Matthew 7:1 and Matthew 22:39. I do not deny what the scripture states. I do, however, believe these scriptures have been misunderstood.

For example, if you continue on in Matthew chapter 7, you will see that once you remove the plank from your own eye, you will see more clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. It never states the speck should not be removed but that we should see clearly ourselves before addressing the issue at hand. Too often scripture is misread to mean we should never judge and as I said in my last post, there is a righteous judgment.

Usually in response to words such as these, we get hit with the “love your neighbor as yourself.” I guess my question is this, what exactly does love mean? Most people believe we should “agree to disagree” when it comes to issues of doctrine. Jesus is portrayed as a peace-loving hippy. Does this image contradict what Jesus said in Matthew 10:34-36 when He said, “Do not think I came to bring peace on earth, I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.” Is this the same Jesus that threw up tables in the synagogue with His wrath and spoke “woe to the Pharisees and scribes,” calling them hypocrites and fools? Would Jesus’ actions be considered loving today?

“These people draw near to Me with their mouth,
And honor Me with their lips,
But their heart is far from Me.
And in vain they worship me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” Matthew 7:8-9

Loving on today’s terms means letting your neighbor believe what he/she chooses and accepting there is no definitive truth. If your neighbor is walking into death, do you love them by warning them of the danger or do you let them go their own way to not offend them?

As a loving sister in Christ, I believe that it is important for the body of Christ to be unified. I believe if I see a brother or sister wavering or going down a road that does not seem to be The Way, it is loving if I use God’s Word to speak to them. I, too, will accept this discussion if I am the one that appears to be on the wrong path. Jesus tells us “many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.” In a culture where Christianity is easy, I believe it is pertinent that we test all things against scripture. There is only One Truth and until we find it we should be ever seeking. I understand that all people believe their way is lead by the Holy Spirit, but we should always test it against scripture. There are deceiving spirits and how do we know we have not been taken captive?

I have prayed continuously that if I am being blinded that God will allow me to see. It’s not a matter of being right or wrong, it’s a matter of ensuring we are serving the One True God. By becoming complacent with the god we believe in, we just may be serving an idol in our head instead of the God of the Bible. Will it be the complacent that in the end the Lord will declare to, “I never knew you, depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.” In His name, these same folks prophesied, cast out demons, and did many wonders. (Matthew 7:22-23)

If we believe someone is following a false doctrine, it is not loving to let them be led astray. “Beware of false prophets who come in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.” Jesus spoke these words and on more than this one occasion warned us of the dangers. Paul was dedicated to warning fellow believers about false doctrines and to not be carried away as children “tossed to and fro and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men…” (Ephesians 4:14)

Paul told Timothy, “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears they will heap up for themselves teachers and they will turn their ears away from truth, and be turned aside to fables.” (2 Timothy 4:2-5)

I just cannot grasp how we love our neighbor by turning our backs when the wolves may be carrying them away. And I’m saying this to you, too. If you think I am being led astray, then get your Bible out and show me who God is; because that is the most important thing, to serve the One True God. I can have faith in anything, but if I don’t have faith in the true God, I have nothing.


Gregg said...

Excellent post! You are right we can't love our neighbor or anyone for that matter if we are unwilling to lovingly, humbly, and in a Christ-like gracious manner point out sin.

If there is a verse that has been so mistreated, mishandled, and misquoted more than "Don't judge..." I don't know of it. Those who love their sin love to yank that verse right out of context.

This is good food for the soul!

Persis said...

I'm glad you reposted this, Michelle. The "don't judge" attitude as in make no moral judgments is in the very air we breathe. But in doing so, we tolerate sin and don't love our neighbor.

Susan said...

Thanks Michelle, by their fruit you will know them, and the fruit needs to be the fruit of the Spirit, or else it's bad fruit.

I sometimes shudder when I hear someone say "I'm not claiming that!" when someone says something "negative", sigh... and I want to find the words to say, but when the Spirit doesn't give me words, I can't put words in place of the ones He hasn't given me, so I purse my lips and cringe.

I agree with you about the "don't judge" verse being wrenched out of it's proper context. Where was it said that "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing"?