Monday, May 19, 2014

Of Planks and Sawdust

J.D. Greear says this,"There is a balance here between grace and truthSo don’t judge others by withholding the truth. But don’t judge them by speaking the truth without grace. Instead, give them the grace and truth of the gospel.Truth without grace is judgmental fundamentalism; grace without truth is liberal sentimentality. The gospel combines both."

So I want to take the plank out of my own eye before I attempt to take a speck of sawdust out of someone else’s eye.  In other words--“Judge not lest you be judged.” You might ask, why do I want to do that?   Because when we judge others, we are in jeopardy of being judged in the same way.  We should make peace with God about our own sins before we try to help others to see theirs. 

When I was fifteen I was upset with myself but I didn’t know it was sin that I was bothered about.   I didn’t know how to repent and to be forgiven before God.  Below is a scan of the 2 pages I wrote and hid in my room.  The pages were there for over 40 years. After my parents died I found what I wrote hidden in the backing of the mirror that was in my room.

Well, what would I say to my fifteen-year-old self now?  I’d say that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God but we can be cleansed of all unrighteousness because of what Jesus did on the cross.  All we have to do is ask God to forgive us and He will.  If we believe and follow Christ we will be saved from death.

But living our lives in our own strength just doesn’t work.  We need to ask for help from the Holy Spirit to help us live the life of obedience God wants us to live.  As I know now, we walk by faith and not by sight.  In this life we can ask for God’s help to obey Him, and to use the gifts and talents that He has given us to bring glory to Him.  You may have to do the following suggestion on your journey through life

—“The Christian life is the process of putting down our tour books and trusting the tour guide.” Calvin Sodestrom. 

Sometimes our lives just don’t make sense to us. Then we have to trust Him Who will never leave us or forsake us.

Looking back at my life I realize that I was very naive when my husband and I were married.  In the family of my youth we valued keeping ourselves pure by not being aware of anything that would be known by someone with street sense. Such as, at my high school I’m sure there were kids who smoked, drank, and had sex.  I wasn’t conscious of it at the time.   Another thing I never heard of was pornography, (pictures or movies that stimulate one sexually.)  I was led with my eyes wide open to see images that I had never seen before.  Due to my own pride I pretended like seeing this stuff was OK with me, as I wanted to be thought of as “with it.”

Then James Dobson, PHD. met with Ted Bundy.  He reported that Bundy believed that his involvement with pornography caused him to become a serial killer.  I let my kids, (they were in their teens); know this and as a result one young man they knew threw away his collection of Playboy Magazines when he heard this.

God has been working with me to help me to keep myself pure.  I remember that song we sang as children.  “Be careful little eyes what you see.”  So now I’m beginning to see differences in worldviews.  I can no longer read secular novels or watch secular movies or TV shows where people are jumping into bed with each other and using foul language.  I choose to read only novels written by Christian authors.  When I look at various programs on PBS I don’t watch “Mr. Selfridge” because I sense that the writers have a different worldview than I do. I do watch “Paradise” and hope it will not degrade.  I don’t watch “Upstairs Downstairs" because of the view of the writers.  I do watch “Downton Abbey.”

I’m also learning to be patient with others as God has been patient with me.  My eyes were blind to certain things in my life but God is revealing my sin to me little by little.  John 12:40 says "He has blinded their eyes and he hardened their heart, so that they would not see with their eyes and perceive with their heats, and be converted and I heal them.”

Isaiah 44: 18 says, “They do not know, nor do they understand, for He has smeared over their eyes so that they cannot see and their hearts so that they cannot comprehend.” 

There are certain times, such as with Pharaoh in Egypt, that God will harden a heart.  The Pharaoh had hardened his heart time and time again and finally God hardened his heart.  So eventually it will be too late if we don’t turn.

So we must pray that God will open the eyes of unbelievers and the eyes of believers to see their own sin before it is too late.

Jared Wilson's blog sums it up beautifully :

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