Malu and I are doing well. We’re having a great time with the people here, getting to know them and helping out the pastors here as best we can. In our time we’ve come to know a great couple that own a small business in town. They are both recent believers in Jesus and it’s awesome to see the passion that they carry to know more about Christ, God and the faith. I know that as Christians we sometimes get stuck and struggle with purpose, but for me when we get back to these grass-root commands of God, “...go and make disciples.” Life seems to take on a whole new outlook.
Over quit a few encounters the husband and I have been having discussions about how we communicate with other Christians; more to the point if we see our brother or sister in Christ sinning, how should we approach it? (Let’s call the husband Al) Al’s point is that as Christians, by the revelation of the Holy Spirit we should know what is right or wrong and therefore as brothers and sisters in the Lord we should be able to confront one another on issues. And he’s been a little surprised at the backlash he’s getting from his fellow believers because of this...now let me explain a little. Part of this is cultural and I here all you Canadians saying”Cultural?...they’re all in Mexico, right?”... true, but there is a dramatic cultural shift between the North and the South of Mexico, even from the middle, where we are now, to the North. In the North people are more direct, they don’t use the diminutive form as much and they aren’t “offended” as easily. In the south people have a much softer way of talking in terms of inflection and the conjugations they use are much softer as well, remember that Spanish has some 14 verb forms. SO, as you can guess, Al is from the north and he doesn’t understand why people are so sensitive ... he’s also a man! As we’ve been talking through this I’ve alluded to the fact that he might look at who he’s talking to you. Although his intentions are good and he wants to see his brothers and sisters in Christ grow and be good witnesses of Jesus’ love, his method is causing friction. We talked about the bible and how it asks us to confront one another in the Lord with love. We chatted about how we can’t just sit back and judge one another and not help our brothers and sisters walk through their lives and deal with issues.
There are things that we all know are blatant sins like murder, theft, adultery, etc. and these are issues in Christian’s lives that need to be dealt immediately, but there are other things as well. The way we talk about people or to people; our attitudes; things we don’t do and should; the more subtle struggles that we all have in one more or more areas of our lives. We all can look into the mirror and see things that need to change; we sometimes are our own best critics. And there is a way to help one another with these issues as well. Part of it is to realize that we ourselves are not perfect and that we are all under grace. Knowing that God is working in our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ as He is working in us, “perfecting us until the day of salvation”, says the bible. Giving timely advice, being ready to listen and available to lend a hand. If we’re going to call out sin in others lives then we need to have the position to do it and the willingness to help with the mess. Jesus reprimanded the Pharisees for being over occupied with the small stuff (Matt 23:24) . . . not that we’re not to look at it but we need to remember what Jesus calls the weightier matters. Paul says “Rom 14:13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge ye this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock in his brother's way, or an occasion of falling.” And one final comment...just remember that we’re all under grace and that the Word says we will be judged by the same manner that you judge others (Luke 6:37) and we should have mercy.
(I do have more to write, but I think this is good for now!!)
What started as a small discussion with Al about an issue he was struggling with, ballooned into a central tenant of how I belief, how do I rationalize my own actions? Do I judge myself against the inherent Word? Am I fully surrendered?
Pro 21:2 Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but Jehovah ponders the hearts.