Early on in my spiritual walk I happened to meet two basic sorts of people among professing Christians- and began to be concerned about both.
The one was typically nice, quite open, creative, often went into their imagination, not closed to fresh or new ideas and would be the kind of person you could mention most anything to and not worry about them looking at you “sideways” wondering if they shouldn’t turn you in to a “higher authority” of some sort for a “proper beating”.
On the other hand I began to meet the curmudgeon sort of individual. They were rather cemented into a spiritual and social “slot”, often deeply serious, quick to criticize anything different and particularly outside of their view of right and acceptable, small in mind and sadly, often in heart.
I’m clearly speaking in general terms and certainly there are overlaps between these two, got that! The other important point is whether one or the other is our typical go-to state or simply an occasional plane of operation.
The first type individual could truly be undependable and flighty, undisciplined, the second sort stable and constant while sometimes horrid about community, collaboration or team playing. The first might show up to join a group and within a short time run off to chase butterflies in the wind never to be seen again. The second sort being so very independent would rarely join in unless in full charge (or satisfied a militant like them is) and left unchecked, drive others off to the extent the team might even cease to exist.
I know both of these personalities well because I’ve often seen them in my mirror in the morning.
The churches (and rest of society on earth) are loaded with both kinds of people -and when it comes to biblical pronouncements and interpretation, both general personalities also appear.
While we all bring good and bad stuff to any table and likewise to our reading and sharing of Bible truths, it is not merely interpretation methodology and skill (sorely needed for all of us who say we love God’s Word, His Church and those not yet following Jesus!) but also our personality which needs serious consideration.
The habits and associated strengths and weaknesses that manifest in meetings with people, social media exchanges, certainly in our marriages and interaction with family, friends, co-workers and yes, enemies seem to me to often lean one way or the other re. the two general pools I’ve mentioned in this post.
I’ve never expected to agree with everyone about everything -and certainly we must learn to listen, offer grace, even forgiveness when we feel wronged, misunderstood or perhaps experienced some kind of “inquisition” among “spiritual” people.
The other side of the coin is that we have at times been the problem as much as they due to our own flippant “WHATEVER… IT’S ALL RELATIVE… UHHHH… I DON’T CARE” all the way to “SIT DOWN YOU IDIOT WHO TOLD YOU YOU COULD BELIEVE -THAT- DEMONIC NONSENSE [YOU IGNORANT] LITTLE TWIT?!”.
On one hand we can be so open to new views regarding scripture we reject sound, carefully exegetical truth while on the other we can be so closed to at least considering a fresh understanding we ourselves have in reality simply become a modern version of the scribes, pharisees and religious hypocrites who were not loving God and neighbor but rather passing harsh judgment on all who don’t agree with the illustrious and self-righteous US.
I cannot control anyone and at times find it (hmmm… you too??) quite difficult to control myself.
The fruit of the Spirit which Paul mentions in the fifth chapter of Galatians takes not only general faith in the Lord but surrender and co-operation on my part to GROW in -and every one of those nine (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control) are -ready for this?: THE STUFF OF GOOD RELATIONSHIP-BUILDING, MAINTENANCE AND, GROWTH.
It’s not merely truth but attitude towards others we must face up to in our own life.
If you know me well you are aware I lean toward the more open side of things- but not by a long shot do I believe the scriptural truths have or do change, not one iota. God is perfect, unchanging, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever and what God thinks, says and (beyond mere belief) knows as truth isn’t going to change regardless of the human race nor any of our individual ideas of anything.
The issue is whether we interpret and apply scripture on the basis of sound exegesis or our individual personality -and the second is massive in what we believe and at times saddle others with in terms of both our judgment and our application of scripture.
Further, one must consider what sort of friends (if any) we both want and have this side of heaven. Which of these might you be most comfortable with? For balance I’d say you need- yes need- to hang around both. Learning to live in love and grace with ALL is Christ’s call to those claiming to follow Him.
Lastly, what sort of witness of both the love and truth of Jesus are we currently equipped to share with versus demand of others in the process of living and walking together on the road?
Perhaps important matters to consider?
As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn