Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Is the Bible Determinative? - Part II

2. Is the Bible determinative in your relationships within the church?

We have all heard amazing stories of church rancor. I recall being told of one deacon meeting that ended in a brawl on the front steps since these leaders thought it “un-Christian” to slug each other “in the church!”

Yet, what is visibly grotesque in this scenario is invisibly present in many of our hearts! When tempted to anger and envy and divisiveness... what will determine your response? I am asking what directs your actions when you are forgotten or sinned against or just feeling lousy? What determines how you live with brothers and sisters?

Do we inwardly and outwardly practice such things as:

  • a love that covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8)
  • forgiveness of the same intensity and freedom as Christ’s (Ephesians 4:32)
  • restoration of sinning brothers in humility and under the control of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 6:1)

Or, do we permit ourselves to do what the Bible forbids:

  • holding grudges that grow into bitterness (Hebrews 12:15)
  • giving vent to our anger, clamor, slander and wrath (Ephesians 4:31)
  • feeding our flesh with envy, jealousy, enmity, strife and fits of anger (Galatians 5:21)

Equally important is our response to all the positive commands of Jesus to be “slave of all,” “servant of all,” “least of all” or simply fulfilling our ministry. Again, my question for you and me is, “Do these Biblical commands determine how we live with brothers and sisters in the church?” Asked another way, “Do you excuse certain wrong behaviors when you are hurt or offended?” Circumstance or Christ? Which determines how you live?