Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Sword for Evil, Not Each Other


Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth.
I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.

Matthew 10:34


Sigh.

These words of Jesus are hard to swallow. Following Christ will cause conflict with others who don't believe. I may not like it, but it's true. I've experienced it enough to know I should expect it and not take it too personally. People thought me a wacko for calling a reading curriculum "evil." Peers in high school called me "religious" and "square." My own brothers respect me, but think me a bit radical. It's okay. Jesus reminds me no one is attacking me. They're reacting to my God.

I can take some fall out from those who may not understand my faith. But what really hurts my heart is when those who DO BELIEVE are at war. We nitpick over gray areas in scripture, making judgment calls on the spiritual health of our brothers and sisters without considering what God has called them to do. We hold others to the standards God has impressed on us, thinking less of them of they don't follow. Is it too far fetched to think God has differing relationships with His children? Isn't it possible He requires different things of different people?

The fire rises in my belly when I hear believers criticizing Christians they don't agree with. Who are we to know what God has placed in another person's heart? Quick to criticize each other's thinking and behavior, we reveal Pharisee attitudes which slow God's work.

And I must admit I am guilty. Sigh. Lord Jesus, clean my yucky heart.

Our fight is not with flesh and blood . . .

Jesus didn't bring a sword for us to fight with other believers. He brought weapons for us to fend off the enemy, the devil who seeks to destroy us, the forces of evil vying for our very souls. When we turn on each other, it only brings destruction and hampers the Body's display of a gracious, merciful God.

Join more In "Other" Words participants at Esthermay's blog, The Heart of a Pastor's Wife.


10 comments:

MiPa said...

"not attacking me...attacking God" Thanks for the reminder!

Having walked the road of being attacked by those who are fellow believers, this post speaks volumes to me. Thank you for being willing to say it!

Karen said...

How very true Tami what you said about those who believe being at war amongst themselves, that's not good. Thanks so much for your thoughts on this very important subject.

Rachelle said...

Good post!

Debbie said...

Tami, you make some great points today. And I cannot agree with you more regarding conflicts within the church. Jesus said that the world should know us by our love. And that love He spoke of was for other believers. Does it really matter about some of the trivial issues? The one thing that is the important thing is the Gospel and that Jesus is the only way to God the Father. But music and progams are the nonessentials, at least in my humble opinion.

Blessings and love,
Debbie

Nic said...

I love the different perspective on this quote from you!

Lelia Chealey said...

Wow...very good and makes me think before I jump.

Denise Hughes said...

"We hold others to the standards God has impressed on us, thinking less of them of they don't follow."

Wow. Great words of wisdom here! I so appreciate your heart. Yes, I believe God does have differing relationships with his children. We are all at differing places in our walk with God so that only makes sense. Your blog is always a place of inspiration!

Your friend,
Denise Hughes :)

Esthermay said...

You make such valid and vitally important points in your post. I especially like your statement that ...they're reacting to my God. Absolutely right!

Don't you think -and this may be one of those points where we differ- one of the greatest conflicts in the "church"/among believers today is a lack of respect and acceptance of God's Word as an authority?

For example -- I live in a part of the country where the Lutheran Church is very predominant. The Lutheran Church has recently agreed among its leaders that homosexuality is not a sin and as such homosexuals may lead entire congregations. THAT is SICK! And it is against God's Word. Other examples abound -- Some churches have even agreed in their published doctrines that the BIBLE is NOT the inerrant Word of God. If this is indeed their stance, it is no wonder there are disagreements!! no?

Please don't misinterpret my comment -- I could not agree with you more that the conflicts within the body of Christ are of the most egregious and damaging. Most are trivial -- but when we sacrifice the Truth of Scripture in the pursuit of 'getting along'... well, that's when I think we've gone astray. THIS is the "sword" I think Jesus was referring to...

Your posts always soften me! THANK you for that!!...for I think you know after so many IOWs that I (for good or bad -- LoL!!) am one who can be very blunt!

I always enjoy my visits to your blog! :~)

~esthermay

Tami Boesiger said...

Esthermay,

I don't think we disagree at all.

We absolutely cannot and should not sacrifice the Truth in the name of getting along.

What gets under my skin is the way some Christians choose to handle the division by attacking the deluded party. Can we stand for Truth without pointing fingers? Can't we stand for Truth merely by PROCLAIMING it?

We shoot ourselves in the foot by alienating others with accusations. What will draw them to the Truth if they feel under attack?

Thank you, friend, for a good discussion and opening up sincere, thoughtful dialogue. I appreciate you.

LittleWomen21 said...

"We shoot ourselves in the foot by alienating others with accusations. What will draw them to the Truth if they feel under attack?" So true! But I always struggle with how exactly to draw them to the truth. You can't just shoot Bible verses at them, because that can feel like an attack, too. I always try to put myself in their shoes, so to speak, and then from that position try to find someway to point them to the authority of God's word. But sometimes we can only pray... we can't be the Holy Spirit. And you so right that we have to humble ourselves first and make sure our pride hasn't made us the one in error, not them!

You asked in your comment on my blog "I found this interesting. So, how did you decide He was God?" If you are interested, I have a link to the story of my salvation at http://littlewomen21.blogspot.com/2008/03/testimony-warning-this-is-very-long-and.html. It's kind of long, but it's my absolute favorite story to share! (and I'd love to read yours too if you have it posted. I just fellow IOW Micey's story).