The Minority Report

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Romans 2:21-23[Y]ou, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who brag about the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law?  (NIV 1984)

My Musings – This one’s going to sting a bit.  The following quote was recently posted to my FaceBook page. “A lie doesn’t become truth, wrong doesn’t become right, and evil doesn’t become good just because it’s accepted by a majority.”  I like the quote.  I agree with the quote.  I believe the quote is very descriptive of what we see happening in these “last days.”  So, I shared it.  But need to be aware of a couple potential problems.

Problem #1 – While we certainly should not condone or excuse calling a lie truth (or truth a lie), wrong right (or right wrong) or evil good (or good evil), perhaps we should not be too eager to condemn a society that does?  After all, weren’t we part of that majority at some point in time?  They are now, like we once were, already condemned.  What they need now, like we once did, is redemption.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save [redeem] the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”  (John 3:17–21, NIV 1984)

We cannot expect those living in darkness to recognize the light for what it is, if we use it as a weapon to maliciously expose them and not as a tool to sincerely help them see plainly.  We do not want people to be blinded by the light.  We want them to be able to see through the darkness because of the light.  And there is no middle ground here.  We must not dampen the light in an attempt make truth, right and good less “offensive” and more “user-friendly.”  A watered-down Gospel is no gospel at all.

Problem #2 – Just like God did not send His Son to condemn, but to save, Jesus sends us to be wielders of the light in an increasingly dark world.  But we cannot expect those living in darkness to see the light as a good thing if it also reveals our hypocrisy. “You who brag about the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law?”    We cannot excuse our own faults by viewing the faults of others as more egregious than ours.  Jesus was not scourged less for our sins than theirs.  His cross was not made heavier because of their sins than it was for ours.  His death was not more necessary for their sins than it was for ours.  Their was no sin so great that Jesus did not die for it and no sin so small that He did not have to die for it.

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”  (Matthew 5:14–16, NIV 1984).

We cannot expect those living in darkness to see the light as a good thing if rather than illuminating our good deeds, it spotlights our hypocrisy.

Now here is where it really stings.  Are we Christians, in our hypocrisy, just as guilty of calling a lie truth, wrong right and evil good, when we excuse our “minor” sins while excoriating  the “major” sins of the lost?

My AdviceAlways be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.  (1 Peter 3:15–16, NIV 1984)

Proclaim the truthBut do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience.  

Stand up for what is rightBut do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience.

Expose evilBut do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience.

Remember, the lost do not need our condemnation, because they already stand condemned.  They need our light to guide them out of darkness (the lies they believe to be truth, the wrong they believe to be right, the evil they believe to be good), to where they can see clearly enough to believe the “minority report.”  Do not compromise your credibility as a wielder of what is true, right and good, by living like the majority.  Keep a clear conscience.

When all is said and done, the majority may continue to “hate the light” and speak “maliciously” about our witness.  We should not expect to be treated any differently than the Master.  Let’s just make sure that the malicious talk is indeed “slander.”  In so doing, we just may help rescue some.

Now for what really, really stings. This advice, like most of the advice I give, is just as much for me as it is for others.

 

Choose Wisely

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Romans 12:2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.  (NIV 1984)

My Musings –  Attitude is a choice. Too often we choose “the pattern of this world,” which is a bad attitude.  This can cloud our judgment, making it difficult “to test and approve what God’s will is.”  We need to renew our minds (attitude) and be transformed.

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude to me is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace that day. I am convinced that life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it.” (Chuck Swindoll)

My Advice – Keep renewing your mind and be more consistent in maintaining a positive attitude, despite obstacles, adversities and disappointments. It very well could make the difference between success and failure.  How?  “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8, NIV 1984).  You’ll be surprised about what this can do for one’s attitude.

 

Overcoming the World

1 John 5:1-5Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.(NIV 1984)

My Musings – In life situations, sometimes having made the trip is more rewarding and satisfying than arriving at the destination.  But when you make the trip with Christ, arriving at the destination will be the ultimate in reward and satisfaction.

Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles one has overcome while trying to succeed. (Booker T. Washington)

My Advice – Don’t let obstacles stop you. They may slow you down as you learn how to overcome them, but do not let them overcome you.  Overcome them.  But do not just overcome the obstacles, overcome the world.   “Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.”

Dangerous Comfort

Revelation 3:15-17 -“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were one or the other! So because you are lukewarm-neither hot nor cold-I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.”  (NIV 1978)

My Musings – Being lukewarm is dangerous because it is deceptive. We know when we are on fire for God and we know when we are in outright rebellion. Lukewarm is comfortable and harder to detect. We need to periodically take a spiritual inventory to make sure we have not become complacent in our faith.

My Advice – Becoming a lukewarm Christian is often a greater danger than growing cold. Many times this occurs when we grow comfortable in life. So as your career becomes successful and provides you with wealth and comfort, be doubly on guard against a cooling in your relationship with Christ.

Is Your Reputation Real?

Revelation 3:1-2 – “I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up!” (NIV 1978)

My Musings – Our faith must be more than reputation, it must be reality. It must be more than outward appearance.

My Advice – Don’t build a Godly reputation without building a Godly relationship.

What Do You Tolerate?

Revelation 2:19-20 – “I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first. Nevertheless, I have this against: You tolerate.…” (NIV 1978)

My Musing – This is an age where tolerance is considered a virtue. And in certain cases it may be. But not where the tolerance is for immorality or religious teachings that deny Christ or teach another path to God.

My Advice – Tolerance sounds admirable, but be careful of what you tolerate.

Grace Is Not License

Jude 4For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are Godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign Lord. (NIV 1978)

My Musings – They may not openly deny Christ. They may in fact claim to represent Christ. But if they pervert grace into permission to ignore God’s moral laws, they are in fact denying Jesus.

My Advice –  Be alert for doctrines and teachings that are contrary to or have a strained interpretation of the Scriptures. These can be more dangerous than the ones that openly and blatantly oppose the teachings of the Word.