Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Reckless Tongues part 1 - criticism in the church

In a recent entry, I called criticism America's new favorite pastime. This statement stuck me as all the more true while reading through Romans 14:1 - 15:13, a passage where Paul instructs us on how do deal with diverse spiritual backgrounds and levels of maturity. An issue that must have been quite a challenge to the newly founded church that brought Jews and Gentiles together for the first time. While the specific issues that they were dealing with may not be all that relevant to the current church. The need for the Christ like correction for the spiritually immature that Paul calls for is still very relevant. For it is plain to see that this passage has not been heeded by everyone in the church of today. For we live in an age where people are not always given the opportunity to grow into the truth naturally. We exist in a time where people are quick to quarrel over details in an impatient, unkind, rude, and unloving way.

Verse 14:1 - Accept the one who faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters.

I say this because clearly in the war of Biblical interpretation and worldview, criticism, condemnation, and judgment have become the weapons of choice. The spoils of this war is a loss of joy, peace, and love within the church. A practice that has left more people discouraged than built up. Since people cannot be forced into the next level of spiritual maturity by criticism any more than we can force a rose bud to open without ruining it.

What I am driving at is this. Criticism has the power to reshape lives, but the question is it in a good and constructive way? Or is it actually for the worse for those involved? A question that all believers would do well to ask ourselves before choosing to criticize others. A question I have thought long and hard on myself, and wish to share what I have discovered in further detail via this blog over the next few weeks. In the meantime, I encourage you to read and meditate on the entire Romans passage for yourselves. Then ask yourself, do I treat the weak as Paul instructs us to, or do I just try to criticize people into submission as the sinful nature of the flesh gravitates us towards.

Verses 15:1-3 - We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.

a person condemning someone whom Christ has forgiven.
Grace and forgiveness is for for all who live by it