4. Like You Are One Of My Own

4 12 2010

(For the past few days I have been blogging on the book “The Bait of Satan” by John Bevere. Here are my reflections on chapter 4)

What is my primary concern: my goals, or people?

All of us have goals; another way of putting it is, we all have an agenda. Sometimes it is even a “righteous” agenda but what comes first as we walk alongside one another? What happens when we don’t see what we want to see? What happens when someone steps on our toes; or does something truly “offensive”?

The author does a beautiful job of retelling the story of David and Saul and how Saul relentlessly hounded David, hunted David, and threatened David’s life. David longed for a relationship with King Saul and for there to be “rightness” (like a father and son) but Saul couldn’t see past his own agenda driven by jealousy. David had every reason to be completely put-off; offended. He had every right to take Saul out as Saul was bent on murder. But David’s saw Saul as God’s anointed. Though opportunity continually presented itself, David would not be guilty of bringing any kind of harm to Saul. And when Saul died, David did not sigh with relief; he mourned. He wrote a mourning song and called everyone to mourn. He set apart the place where Saul died and did not declare it a victory, but a loss.

I just have to pause here because as I am reflecting on this I am thinking about how much we DON’T mourn one another. Why do I find it so easy to be angry but so hard to mourn? What would I do differently if I mourned?

Today, brothers and sisters in Christ don’t come after each other with literal weapons, but we “ravage each other with a sword of another kind — the tongue” (40). We lose sight of the fingerprints of God on another person’s life and “we take aim with words sharpened by bitterness and anger” (40). We might even have factual information, but impure motives, warped by an agenda that is anything but loving. We don’t see each other as God’s treasure. We have these miniature holy wars, personal crusades we feel so justified about and want to be victorious in no matter the cost.

And, we see this all too often, brothers and sisters in Christ actually sowing discord. Proverbs 6:6-19 says that to “sow discord among the brethren is an ABOMINATION to the Lord.” Abomination is a loaded word: something detestable or disgusting. God detests and is disgusted by discord. This word ought to hit us in the chest; hard!

The chapter calls those of us who are disciplers to be “fathers” and “mothers” to people, to treat people with the kind of value you would treat your offspring. This picture is clear for anyone who has been called to any kind of leadership position; it also applies to anyone who has influence over someone else; we are all connected to people that we can honor or destroy.

I wonder what would have happened if Saul and David had sat down to talk. What if they cleared the tent of all people (and weapons!) and just looked each other in the eye to speak as a father and son would. What if they shared a meal together and were committed to staying at the table? What if the fists became unclenched, each setting aside their offenses and defenses, and each had the same goal: to put things aright?

If discord is detestable to God, then being of one “accord” must be beautiful to God. Accord means harmony and as I think about that word, harmony is two different notes moving in the same direction that sound good together.

Romans 15:5-7 says,

“Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.”

Ah, accepting one another just as Christ accepts us. There are so many reasons for Christ to not accept me. I am so stubborn. I am so cocky. I usually think I am right and take so long to figure out that I might not be. I am judgmental. I continually lean towards justifying my own actions. I am about presenting my own case far sooner than I am ready to listen to someone else’s. God, it is hard to be selfless! Haven’t I offended God over and over? Yet, He says I am the apple of His eye. He keeps watching out for and over me.

So who has offended me? Am I soft-hearted enough to say, “Jesus adores you, would He accept it if I adored you less?” Proverbs 19:11, “A man’s discretion makes him slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook a transgression.”

Christ is calling me not to simply overlook offense, He is calling me to be an example during it and through it when the temptation to be offended is in front of me; when the offender is beside me. I have been a Christ follower for a long time. I am not a kid; I am a “mother,” so-to-speak. I am not new around here, I have known Jesus long enough to know what He asks. Christ is asking me to treat people in my life with that kind of tenderness, respect, honor, honesty, commitment and loving guidance that I would offer to one of my own.

— Teresa Klassen




One response

4 12 2010

Ooh, this sounds like a great book! There is another good book out there called “You’re Adversary, The Devil,” which I think you would enjoy. Loved your post. God bless!

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