Tag Archives: rules

Loving Laws or Loving People

Loving Laws or Loving People

For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  Galatians 5:14

Do you know someone that is hyper critical?  I mean, they have a problem with everyone and everything.  “The temperature is too hot.  The music is too fast. The speaker is too loud.  The women are dressing wrong.  The bulletin was not folded right.  The deacons should have a tie on.  The people helping are not doing it the same way I would do it. The van is parked at the wrong place.  The family is too big or too small.”  You get the idea.

Hyper critical people have forgotten the “Who” they should be loving.  Instead of loving God and loving people, they love a “What.”   They love rules.  They love laws.  They love their preferences and personal expectations and project them onto other people in a way that is detrimental to relationship.

If we could learn to love people more than our preferences, programs, and personal pet peeves, then we would show more honor to the Lord.  And in turn actually live out God’s law instead of a human version of His law.

Loving our neighbor does several things:

  1. Considers others ahead of ourselves.
  2. Creates a forgiving temperament.
  3. Causes more healthy relationships.
  4. Casts aside personal preferences.
  5. Calms personal interactions with others.

Music styles in church can have great variety and still please the Lord.

Preaching and teaching styles vary greatly from person to person, and God can use each delivery style in wonderful ways.

Organizational structure, facility maintenance, the next building project, and more need not be a stumbling point for you or for others at your church.  When we love God and love others, no matter the rules we may impose on ourselves, we do not need to let those preferential things divide and hurt relationships.

One terrific example is the Church at Ephesus in Revelation 2:1-7.  This church had pure doctrine.  They withstood persecution.  They even had a good work ethic.  But Jesus said “You left your first love.”  These second generation Christians, with a godly heritage, clung to laws, rules, and preferences to the neglect of loving Jesus.  They loved their “version of Christianity” more than they loved Jesus!

Don’t let rules and regulations or personal preferences stop you from loving your family (or church family) the way the Lord wants you to love them.

Love people more than laws.

 

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The Critical Eye

The Critical Eye

And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him.  And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out?  How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days. Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other.   Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him.  Matthew 12:1-14

Have you ever been around a person that is constantly complaining?  Have you ever been that person?  Perhaps all of us know someone that is always “pouring cold water” on a situation or known to be a “Johnny Rain-Cloud.”  People who are hyper critical can find fault with even the best of things in life.

Think of it this way – Jesus was and is perfect.  No fault. No sin. Nothing wrong with Jesus, and yet the hyper religious pharisees found what they perceived to be a fault – Jesus was healing people on the Sabbath day and that must constitute work in their ungracious estimation.  These men were perceiving things the wrong way because they had conceived their own way of following God’s law.  The expectations they demanded of others were a figment of their own thinking – not the Lord’s.  They had added new rules to God’s Law for everyday for the year!

Everyone should grow in discernment.  This is something the Bible says we should have.  Being critical of others and having personal discernment are not the same thing.  These religious leaders, many of whom could quote long passages of the Old Testament, did not have any practical smarts about them to see Jesus was doing better than the Law was actually calling for.  Watch out – when you start to “nit-pick” others, your eye is becoming critical.

Here are several thoughts about the critical eye.

  1. Those with critical eyes tend to hold others to higher standards than they hold themselves.
  2. Those with critical eyes choose not to see the good that is evident all around them.
  3. Those with critical eyes are quick to complain and let their critique be known – no matter how foolish their words really are.  Imagine – criticizing Jesus – doing good!
  4. Those with critical eyes neglect to have a close fellowship with God.  Instead of praising God, they praise themselves with their proud stance and egotistical demands.
  5. Those with critical eyes get angry very fast.  These irate leaders wanted to kill Jesus.
  6. Those with critical eyes are more emotional and listen less to common sense and reason.  If a man had a sheep fall into a pit and he rescued it – how is it any better or worse for Jesus to heal a man with a withered hand?  Their critical eye and angry heart refused basic reason and it diminished their thinking skills.
  7. Those with critical eyes fail to see the goodness of God.

Jesus did amazing things in His time on earth in the New Testament.  I suggest to you that Jesus continues to to incredible things through His people – His church today.  If you can’t see it – reexamine your heart.  Check your spiritual eyesight.  Sadly, there are many people who look at life like the Pharisees did.

Clean your classes off.  Open the Bible and see our Good and Great God!  Look to serve others by finding ways to carry others, not criticize them.  Avoid having a critical eye.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Free Range Bear

Bear and Cub

Free Range Bear

As a roaring lion, and a ranging bear; so is a wicked ruler over the poor people.   Proverbs 28:15

Years ago, we had the privilege of living in a small city in the heart of the Monongahela National Forest in the beautiful mountains of West Virginia.   We enjoyed living there and were always blessed to see the “Wild and Wonderful” wildlife of West Virginia.  We had many black bear in our area.  It was not uncommon to see a mother bear and her cubs playing, or a bear running up a hill.  Even though the cubs look like teddy bears, they grow up fast and when hungry can be dangerous to humans.

I understand that black bear are territorial and have a certain “circuit” they travel in their search for food.  Berries and nuts are their primary food source.  Many times a bear will defend its area so as to not run out of food.  During times of drought, or when for some reason food is scarce, a bear may expand its area to find more food.  These “free ranging” bear will come into cities and areas where people live in seasons like this.  Our dog was really excited one morning when a bear showed up in our back yard!

One day, we were at another church family’s house on the mountain when we noticed a bear near our truck.  This bear was lying down in the driveway.  He looked hungry as his body was not plump, but very skinny, almost emaciated.  Some corn from feeding the chickens was in the driveway and this bear was laying there licking it off the ground.  The other man banged pots and pans together and we rushed at the bear, trying to appear bigger in an attempt to chase him away from the truck so we could leave.  The bear was ranging, but expanding his territorial range. He was in an area that he was not supposed to be in because he was hungry.

Ranging in this verse has to do with a “running a course, and eating greedily.”  This verse indicates that a governmental leader that is roaring like a lion and ranging like a bear is a wicked leader.  Speaking many words, but saying very little is a common tactic of governmental leaders, especially when involved in political campaigns.

Consider then the ranging bear.  Just as a bear gets into areas that it should not be in, the government can also get into areas that it should not be in.  Wicked leaders can be like the bear.   When the “wicked ruler” of this verse is too involved in the life of his citizens, he is in reality interfering with their lives.  When the ranging bear goes out of his territory it is because he is hungry and wanting more.  When governmental leaders want more control they are acting the same.  Greed, lust, power, and manipulation of the poor people is the result.  An ever hungry government is like the hungry bear, looking for more food to devour.   It is the poor among us who are affected the most.

This application can be seen throughout history in nations with Kings, Parliaments, Congress and Presidents.  We should pray for our leaders no matter which party they may be a part of.  I suppose the solution to this growing problem would be to elect leaders who do not extend themselves beyond the range of their office.