Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Dealing with People


Alright, this is more of a self-study for me. Dr. Perry, from Moody Bible Institute, gave me this passage once to preach on. I knew at that time, and I know now that this is one of the hardest passages for me to live out; one I continually need to work on.

2 Timothy 2:23-25
"But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce quarrels.
The Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth,"

Reflections
1. When a Christian ("Lord's servant") is quarrelsome, rude, impatient, harsh they are not being a good representative/ambassador for Christ. They are allowing the impulses of the flesh to control them instead of God's Spirit. I know I struggle with this from moment to moment. I strive to be controlled by the Spirit, but often surrender to the strong pull of the flesh-impulses.
2. Refuse foolish and ignorant speculations (knowing they produce quarrels)-
μωρός mōrós; fem. mōrá, neut. mōrón, adj. Silly, stupid, foolish, from which the Eng. word “moron” is derived. Used of persons meaning morally worthless (Matt. 5:22). It is a more serious reproach than raká (4469), raca, which scorns a man by calling him stupid, whereas mōrós scorns him concerning his heart and character. Used of things (2 Tim. 2:23 “foolish and ignorant questionings” [a.t.]; Titus 3:9). In Matt. 5:13 and Luke 14:34, it refers to salt that has lost its flavor, become tasteless (mōraínō [3471]).
ἀπαίδευτος apaídeutos; gen. apaideútou, masc.–fem., neut. apaídeuton, adj. from the priv. a (1), without, and paideúō (3811), to instruct, chastise, correct. Unlearned, untaught, ignorant, stupid, foolish. Of persons (Sept.: Prov. 8:5; 15:15; 17:21). Only in 2 Tim. 2:23 referring to nonsensical, i.e., inept, trifling, absurd disputations.
So basically don't get into moronic, worthless, morally empty discussions and don't argue things you are ignorant about or don't know much about. Don't get into stupid arguments that don't really mean anything. Avoid, decline, refuse, don't engage in these type of "conversations", they aren't in any way beneficial. Don't only not die on these hills, but don't even step foot on these hills.

3. "The Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all"- first, I am a servant by choice. I have decided to take the name of Christ upon myself, my life. Furthermore, God has allowed me (for whatever reason, or no reason-certainly by no merit of my own) to bear His name.
μάχομαι; μάχη, ης f: serious conflict, either physical or non-physical, but clearly intensive and bitter—‘to clash severely, struggle, fight.’
A Christian (follower of Jesus), should not get into bitter conversations/fights/conflicts with people. They should, rather, strive to be at peace with all men (especially those who are in opposition! or from a different viewpoint) (Hebrews 12:14). Our role is to be not quarrelsome but to be kind to all (ex spouses, people of different worldviews, people who hate you, family, co-workers, your boss, your teacher, your teammates, the opposing team, etc.).
Kind is a hard word for me to wrap my head around. Is it kind to be direct in your approach (commonly my approach) or does kind also include a soft, around the horn approach or a gentle approach-direct but gentle (ie ask good questions)?
It is to be gentle, mild, easy toward all. This is hard for me because I have an intense, direct style. I get nervous when I have to confront someone on an issue and tend to go direct, to dive in, to "Geronimo" the situation. So pray for me about this, that I would be more of a kind, gentle person (kinda like Jon Jeter if you know him).
"with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth"
Gentleness- πραΰτης, ητος f; πραϋπαθία, ας f: gentleness of attitude and behavior, in contrast with harshness in one’s dealings with others—‘gentleness, meekness, mildness.’
πραΰτης: μετὰ πάσης ταπεινοφροσύνης καὶ πραΰτητος ‘be always humble and meek’ Eph 4:2.
πραϋπαθία: δίωκε … ὑπομονήν, πραϋπαθίαν ‘strive for … endurance and gentleness’ 1 Tm 6:11.
In a number of languages ‘gentleness’ is often expressed as a negation of harshness, so that ‘gentleness’ may often by rendered as ‘not being harsh with people,’ but gentleness may also be expressed in some instances in an idiomatic manner, for example, ‘always speaking softly to’ or ‘not raising one’s voice.’
The picture in the context is of meeting the opposition of aggressive, controversial people, absorbing the pain without losing one’s temper and lashing back at them. People are like eggs, and talk like lions. They may boast of how great they are, but often it is to cover frailness. People are sensitive, brittle, hurt easily & deeply. People should get a tat that says, "Fragile: Handle with Care". I need to value people enough to deal with them gently.


If you are a Christian, and your "wiring" makes this difficult, like it is for me, then let's work on this together and be the representatives God wants us to be, so we can represent Him well. With God's help.


Bibliography-
Liefeld, W. L. (1999). The NIV Application Commentary: 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus (261). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.


Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Vol. 1: Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament : Based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition.) (748). New York: United Bible societies.

Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Vol. 1: Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament : Based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition.) (494). New York: United Bible societies.
Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary : New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.

Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary : New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.

New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995 (2 Ti 2:23–26). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

Friday, July 9, 2010


"For God & Country!"

Where is your primary citizenship?

If you are a Christian, then through adoption, your primary citizenship is heaven, with Christ. You are a citizen in heaven, living here as an ambassador to do the work God has called you to do. Below are the verses for this case.

Now before you think I am pushing a Christian Jihad or some Christian extremist thing, we need to see what God has called us to do, and what this citizenship means.

1. It is a paradigm shift.
It helps us to, as Christians, put the world in perspective. It helps non-Christians to put us into perspective.

2. It is a call to mission.
A. God has called us to Love!
God has called us to be devoted, committed, loyal to Him.
God has called us to love people, both through our actions & deeply from the heart.

B. God has called us to Jihad!
God has called us to go into the world, and make disciples of all nations.

"Make"- some early Christians, if you can call them that, took make as a message of war. Wrongly, they saw people of different religions, primarily the Muslim people as the enemy.
Unlike the Qurans teachings, God, the Creator, has not called us to revenge. Our struggle is NOT against people. Check out Ephesians 6 to see what our struggle is against.
Also, if you look at Jesus' MO (method of operation), you see that He was not like the Zealots of His day, but was peaceful. Teaching to act in love, gentleness, kindness, humility, patience, prayerfully. Furthermore, the weapons of the Christian are truth, righteousness, faith, God's word, salvation, the gospel, prayer. Not guns, knives, missiles, hate.
Also, God never forces anyone to believe. It is their choice. God will even go as far as to work in their hearts, but the choice is up to the individual. And He desires for all people to be saved.

3. It must trump current residence.
The citizenship of the Christian is much greater than the country they live!

One thing that should disgust Christians and non-Christians alike is when we wrap the USA flag around the cross. The Christian flag should be flown higher than the USA flag, or whatever nation you reside, because that is the Church's true, higher citizenship (at least in your heart it should fly higher). The Christian flag should go to the right of the speaker, should be at the center of the grouping of flags, should be lit brighter at night, etc... Just to help us remember that we are a part of a bigger calling. We are citizens of heaven, living as ambassadors here, to represent God in whatever country we reside. Now there is nothing wrong with your country's flag, or voting, or paying taxes (you should obey the government in as much as it doesn't contradict a clear teaching in Scripture), but we need to keep this proper perspective.

Lastly, does this mean a Christian is better or has a "moral highroad", as my friend Andrew likes to debate? No. But we, through Christ's teachings, have a transferred citizenship upon receiving Christ as our savior and Lord.

Verses
Verses you need to look up to see this clearly-
Ephesians 2:19
1 Peter 2:10
Philippians 3:20
Hebrews 12:22-23
2 Corinthians 5:20
Ephesians 6:20
1 Peter 2:11