I was having lunch with my good friend, Pastor Jeff Rabe, and as is generally the case, our conversation was as good as the meal. Our discussion lingered at length around a subject that ultimately spurred the thought leading to today’s topic.
Pastor Rabe made the point, generally speaking, we have grown apprehensive when it comes to confrontation. We are reluctant to call things out in others, and when situations begin to escalate, we placate and are quick to cut and run. His observation was that often times it takes a tense, uncomfortable hard conversation to get to the heart of the matter and affect the greatest outcome.
As we talked and expanded on this statement, it took a number of turns and applications, and also continued to fuel my thoughts on the matter. The other day, while reading “Western Hunter”, I came upon a quote that resonated with me and I feel ties in well with my thoughts for today. “Whatever you do in life, surround yourself with smart people, who’ll argue with you.” ~John Robert Wooden
So often, we resist, even resent it when someone disagrees with us. Most, I would assert, retreat from those situations and “cut and run”. Why? If you are fully convinced of the validity of what you are thinking, saying, believing and doing, why not allow it to be challenged? Even when we are “right”, testing it is worth while, is it not? It serves to strengthen your position, and perhaps sway the opposition to a new line of thought. I Peter 3:15 (NKJV) But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;
It is equally important when we are wrong. We need to be challenged and our “wrong” perceptions called out and put to the fire. Otherwise, we will continue along, trapped in our mis-perception. Think of the damage that is so often wrought from that condition.
From the other side of the fence is the necessity of our willingness to go to another and challenge them, to call them out on their speech and deeds. This is hard, unpleasant and most shy away from doing so. We don’t wish to offend someone, hurt someone’s feelings, illicit hostility in return or possibly alienate others. However, we must be willing, with gentleness and humility, to go. Galatians 6:1,2 Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
Christ compels us to hold one another accountable. He compels us to do so in love and gentleness, but do it we must.
I’m not suggesting that we cast aside compassion and discretion and just proceed in calling out every thing that we disagree with in others. My suggestion, however, is that we not be so eager to cut and run, leave things unsaid that need to be said. Rather, that we answer God’s call when compelled and render aide when aide is needed. I also suggest that we spend more time introspectively analyzing our own thoughts, deeds and beliefs, checking them against the ultimate litmus, scripture, and see how firmly our own footing truly is.
Doing life together can sometimes be hard. We are tested by and testing each other constantly. Fortunately, the standard by which we are to navigate our life together is found neatly laid out in the pages of the manual for life, the bible, God’s Word. Test yourself, your notions by His standard and then help others do the same. Have a blessed weekend.
Colossians 3:16,17 (NKJV) Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,