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Learning to respond in a godly manner with conviction.

From my observation here on TheNET we tend to make several mistakes that if avoided could go along way to preserving peace and edifying the body. It is easy to add “amen” to a post that you agree with, but how do you deal with a post that you don’t agree with?

What are some of the steps that we can take to respond in a godly manner with conviction? I am going to list some pointers from my perspective and encourage comments and further input to be added.

- We should not ever respond to a post we disagree with immediately (Note below for exceptions).
- We need to reread the post several times seeking the whole of its content and not focus in on one sentence or statement initially.
- We need to pray about the content of the post seeking discernment.
- We need to examine it in the light of Scripture.
- We need to pose questions to the author about their post, rather than assume and accuse.
- If, after time, rereading, prayer, Scriptural analysis, and posing questions we find the post in error, we need to address the issue(s) directly substantiating your position with Scripture.
- Never attack the character of the poster. (If you defend your position scripturally you do not have to digress to attacking the poster).
- If attacked, brush it off and stay on topic. Scripture will always win the battle, not your verbal assault or defense of self. You can defend Scripture and turn the other cheek at the same time.
- Be teachable. You might actually have this one wrong. If you do, accept it, acknowledge it and embrace the truth. None of us have it all perfectly right (If you do, stay away from me, I will corrupt you … little humor please :-)
- Lastly, not everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will see it the same way as you or me on every issue. There are a variety of views on numerous topics. You may be passionate about that particular topic and so will others who may see it differently. This does not mean we are not brothers, for it is at the cross we find our identity, not in the dogma of doctrines or preferences that are open to various interpretations. What are some examples? Mode of baptism, spiritual gifts, evidence of being filled with the Holy Spirit, end time views, Calvinist or Armenian, denominations or not, the list goes on.

Having said the above I must say that there are times we will respond instantly and harshly. There are times wolves come here in sheep’s clothing. There are people who come here and attack the central doctrines of the Christian faith. They will be met swiftly and rebuked. A good (under)shepherd will protect the sheep from ravenous wolves and must.

One must ask oneself what their purpose is. Am I seeking to edify and help others grow while I am seeking to grow, or am I seeking to be right? Iron sharpens iron and in the process of those two pieces of iron sharpening each other there will be friction and heat, but in the end they benefit each other …. Think about that.
(These principles actually go beyond TheNET and apply to our daily lives and dealing with others who do not quite see eye-to-eye with us.)

Lord Bless,
LT

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Wow, I need to practice this in my life better........

LT
I'm impressed by this LT. Thank you.
LT, thank you so much for these guidelines. I will feature them so that everyone can find them and read them. You are right in that these are not just principles for TheNET but for life. Seek first to understand before trying to make others understand you is a good maxim.

I heartily endorse this because you, brother, practice what you preach. Thanks for being a good example to all of us!
EXCELLENT!!! Spoken like a true gentleman and man of God. EXCELLENT:))
If people can back up their beliefs with scripture, isn't it wrong to ban them just because you do not like how they said what they said? I would rather have someone speak the truth with conviction than worrying about feelings. Feelings don't matter in relation to Truth.

This is the reason I have left every other Christian site I have ever been a part of. Usually the people speaking with passion and conviction get slammed and banned not because of what they said but how they said it. I was hoping it would be different here.
Victoria,

I will let Greg respond, if he chooses, regarding the banning of anyone here as the administrator.

Regarding feelings, it is not feelings, but proper respect being given to a brother or sister in Christ that is in question and Scripture does speak to that.

MT 5:21-22 "You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, `Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, `Raca, ' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, `You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell.

MT 5:23-24 "Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.

RO 12:14-20 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head."

2TI 4:1-2 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction.

2TI 2:22-26 Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

EPH 4:1-3 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

COL 3:12-14 Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

We can stand our ground and defend Scripture without attacking the character of another, especially when we are speaking to one who is a brother or sister in Christ.

Lord Bless,
LT
LT, as usual, has made an excellent post and I agree with him.

Feelings do matter as Christians should not be in the habit of unnecessarily offending people (see the excellent forums on the proper use of our tongue). Having said that, however, we cannot control what other people feel and some truth, even when spoken in kindness and graciousness, causes offense.

Our model is Jesus who "came from the Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1:14, 17). Notice how these two words are set equal to each other.

Colossians 4:6 says, "Let your conversation be ALWAYS full of GRACE..."

Ephesians 4:15 tells us we should be "speaking the truth in love".

I would propose, therefore, that God is telling us that how one says something is equally important as what one says. When you think about it, in everyday human interaction, when someone is talking to us, we interpret the meaning of their words based on their tone of voice.

It is my observation after having lived outside the US for 16 years, that here in the West (and especially in the US) we have forgotten how to be gracious and have exalted self-expression at the expense of others. That is why there is so much verbal filth, general nastiness to others, and inappropriate displays of anger. God is calling us all to a higher standard.

Victoria, we will never ban anyone here for speaking the truth with passion or conviction. We will, however, ban people who, after repeated warnings, continue to use rude, insulting, or abusive speech or who attack or deny the central doctrines of the Christian faith.
LT & Greg, I really appreciate this guidance from you both.

When I was a young girl, and said something that got me into trouble, I can remember my mother's telling me it's not what I said, but how I said it. Even though I do not remember any of the incidents, I can still remember mom's words. If fact, I won't ever forget them.

I do believe we can speak the truth in love. People are never our enemy. We only have one enemy, God's enemy, Satan. We must do all possible to insure Satan is not using us to attack and weaken our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Thank you gentlemen for reminding us of why we are here...to build each other up in Christ, and walk the path HE has for each of us.

MaryAnn

I agree kindness always.

Victoria, well said . I shoot from the hip and I encourage others to do the same to me. I do try to be thoughtful with my words. ...How can I learn if I don't listen to what others have to say to me. I do admit at times it has not been easy, I gad  to stop and  force myself to listen and not react, and they are usually correct.  I am still learning and always want it this way.Thank you !

Excellent post LT.

God is at work in each of our lives.
Let us each remember that!
None of us is perfect, if we were, we would already be with our Heavenly Father.

However, as it is, there is still much work to be done! I am amazed that by His grace and His great Love for us, that He continues to use us, because He wants a relationship with us.

Let us each have the mindset, whenever we speak to one another, that we are talking to Jesus directly. Would you speak differently to Jesus than to anyone else? I know I sure would!

Love in Christ, Carla

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