Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Words to live by

Zechariah 8
16These are the things that ye shall do; Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbour; execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates:
17And let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his neighbour; and love no false oath: for all these are things that I hate, saith the LORD.

I read this passage this morning and found it so profound, yet so simple. "These are things you need to do", and he just lays them out.
Be truthful.
Do not tolerate lieing within your gates (home).
Plan no evil against anyone ... this one I'll go as far as to THINK no evil towards anyone.
Find false oaths unacceptable.

These are things he hates, so we should, too. Such a basic plan to live by in our daily lives. What a great foundation to lay for our children. This is what kids can grasp, so there's no reason we as adults should not be able to grab hold of these concepts and do so. Yet, will we choose to do so?

I was reading in a forum recently a conversation about Christians boycotting companies that promote, or even, do not oppose, homosexuality. There were scores who said they had nothing to do with a major theme park in our country, or the merchandise of the company that owns the theme park, because of their refusal to stay neutral in the culture war. There was a lone Christian there that shared her thought that she felt such a boycott was not ... necessary perse, because there are TONS of companies out there, that support the lifestyle in one way, shape, form or fashion and we might be supporting that company.

I understood what she is saying. "Choose your battles". I watched the thread unfold, with her conversing when she could with the rest of those who chose to boycott, then there was "the post". The one that says anyone who has that wavelength of thinking is just making excuses not to live a godlier life and stand up for the Lord. Whhhaaaaaattt?

Okay lets step back. The bible says nothing about boycotts. Can we acknowledge that? Are we really questioning the fruitfulness of some one's spirituality because they choose to purchase merchandise from a company that supports the homosexual lifestyle? Since when did we become the judge and jury of what is in some one's heart?

That person was thinking evil towards their neighbor. Even worse, towards a sibling in Christ, which IMO is worse. We all have our own convictions regarding certain things, but we must be careful in our words not to strike down another because they do not share the same convictions. If the bible does not say "boycott companies that ...", then clearly, there's a gray area and we are left to seek the Lord in the matter.

If we all acted the same, we would be one boring family, that's for sure. We all have our own purpose in this giant family in Christ, lets remember to respect each other.

Lets be truthful:
acknowledge there are gray areas that the Lord has left in our world to cause us to seek Him out for His guidance, not the opinions of others.

Lets not be so dogmatic about our convictions that it might cause someone in our home to lie to us for fear of confrontation. Have you ever had someone visiting that was lost, and when trying to talk to them about the Lord they acted much more spiritual than you know they are? There's such thing as showing respect for some one's way of life, then there's the matter of someone feeling like they have to act like something they are not around you, because of how you act through your attitudes, words, and actions.

Plan no evil against anyone.
If someone does not share the same convictions as you, and you are having a hard time wrapping your mind around how someone can feel that way- it might be a good idea to just not say anything at all. You stand a better chance of getting understanding and wisdom in the matter of you pray for that person, rather than accusing that person of making excuses for not being the same as you, and coming off as legalistic or "better than thou". That person might be the weaker Christian and your attitude may cause them to stumble greatly in their walk with the Lord because of what you might say.

Find false oaths unacceptable.
This can be applicable to witnessing. Most anyone will say "Yes I'm a Christian" to avoid speaking to you. There are many versions of the term "Christian" out there. To us who know truly what it means to be a Christian, this is unacceptable, that person may indeed be false! How about asking "Have you been born again?". You can tell from their reaction where the truth lies. Even if you don't get to lead them to the Lord that day, you know more what to pray for then rather than accepting the person's word that they were a Christian, when it's very possible, they truly are not according to the Bible's standards.

Have you ever read through the book Zechariah? This is my first time. What a treasure. Those two verses just jumped out at me this morning. I hope this was a blessing for you, as it was for me to find these verses. Why not comment and share your thoughts?

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