A couple of days ago - the 9th to be precise - I read my daily reading in Proverbs. And I had to camp on 3 verses I have thought about a lot the last few years.
"He who corrects a scoffer gets shame for himself,
And he who rebukes a wicked man only harms himself.
Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you.
Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you.
Give instructions to a wise man, and he will be still wiser.
Teach a just man, and he will increase in learning."
Proverbs 9:7-9 (NKJV)
I mentioned before some frustrations with Facebook. One big one is that I get so offended and hurt and, honestly, so sad when I read unbelievers' comments on Christian public posts. I don't purposely seek out to read comments. But, at times, thinking I'd only read fellow believers' comments on a strong Christian post, I'd find such hatred spewed (best word for a lot of the comments). My heart hurts at their unbelief, their hatred (from so many), the loss of their souls. And the fact if they read my words, they would think of me as a backward ignorant for my strong beliefs.
I want to defend myself. But I harken back to words I've read in scripture, about how my words will fall on deaf ears. Only gibberish will be heard. So sad.
Another is with fellow Christians' posts on Facebook, feeling it is their duty to speak the Truth, no matter what.
Yes, we should always stand by the Word of the LORD. Always speak the Truth. Always let people know about the love and sacrifice of Christ. But, I struggle...So many unbelievers don't hear the Truth. They hear judgment and hatred. As Christians, we aren't to hate! We are to love our neighbors. That doesn't mean we aren't to love our fellow Christians. Of course, we ARE to love our fellow Christians (even when it's tough). They are part of the BODY of Christ. The arms, the legs, the feet, the fingertips, the cells, the organs, etc. We need all the parts fully functioning! So to speak.
But, when I hear the Truth being said to unbelievers, especially in a public forum such as Facebook, such a one (or is it two?) dimensional way, where you can't make eye contact, touch, hear voices, have a dialogue, except through comments that are often filled with scoffing and hatred, I keep being reminded of the above passage from Proverbs.
It isn't up to us, as Christians, to judge the unbelievers around us and condemn them for the sin we believe they are committing. It is up to God to judge them and bring them to Him if they will. It is up to us to keep our fellow believers in line, to correct (gently!!) when necessary one on one, bring them before a group of other Christians to talk it out (gently!!) if they won't listen to the one on one conversation, and ask them to leave the church if they refuse to turn from their sin. That may seem harder than telling unbelievers they are sinning. But, if the unbelievers don't believe they are sinning, why should they read our posts?
I truly believe we are called strictly to love the people around us, and pray for them. If there is an unbeliever you are wanting so strongly to save from his or her sin, sin according to what God has taught us is sin, pray! Be a friend. Lead by example. SERVE! If conversation brings up the topic on your heart, Pray!! Trust what God lays on your heart, and that He will use the words He wants the person to hear, if that person is ready to listen.
I realize I am not educated in theology. All I know is from scripture and from very wise Christian writers. People I WISH I could be like, but will never even be close to holding that wisdom. So, that is my disclaimer. All I can share is what I study, read, pray about, feel lead to share. So many of you are so much wiser than I and I acknowledge that. Be kind, if you feel you have to say anything! (See above paragraph.)
I will end this post with the verse I am working to memorize (not my strong suit, but I know, now, I should've been memorizing verses my entire life. But better late than never, right?):
"So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God." James 1:19-20 (NIV)
Heavy with so much meat, right?
Leaving you with a picture of our newest family member - Stripz (because he makes the girl think of bacon strips).
God bless you.
'Til next time!