Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: BOYCOTT (11/01/18)
- TITLE: Watch Your Words
By Elaine Hemingway
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It’s not the first time such has happened; it won’t be the last. In every family, there can be relationship problems and the church family is no exception. Misconceptions or alternative understandings of scripture can be a cause for concern. In my husband’s case, he had a sensitivity about his past and a weakness in self-esteem. Delusional, in the early days of then undiagnosed dementia, my husband, a tireless worker gifted in Helps and always ready to offer his expertise to Mission, church function or individual, mentioned his feeling of guilt to a church elder. Instead of confirming my husband’s worth and security in the righteousness of Jesus he told him that perhaps he should re-examine his faith. The response was a boycott because his understanding was that he had been told he was unwelcome.
Proverbs 20:27. The lamp of the Lord shines into our human spirit, into our conscience, helping us to see ourselves as we really are. The trouble is that when we see ourselves at our worst, we may be tempted to abdicate from our position as chosen, adopted, accepted children of God. Thankfully, He won’t allow that. He will pursue us until once again we can experience His forgiving Spirit, overcoming our own and drawing us back to His warmth and will.
No stranger to the intricacies of confusion in the mentally challenged I find myself disappointed in the careless speech of believers. God created us in His image which can only be fully understood under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and we are all works in progress. He uses situations and circumstances to train us in the way we should go, giving opportunities to join Him in His work in others. To be remembered is 1.Peter 3:15. But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope you have. But do this with gentleness and respect …
A physically and mentally challenged sister brought many lessons into my life with an awareness of how circumspect we must be in our conversation. A very badly disabled lady led my sister to the Lord and we rejoiced at her acceptance that Jesus had died for her and that she was a new creation. But taking communion was a stumbling block. “I’m not going there,” she said. “They drink blood.” The room in question was boycotted forthwith.
A recent conversation with a gentleman very similar to my husband when in his heyday, occurred, A good man, helpful and keen to assist those less fortunate; sympathetic and known for his good works and charitable mindset, he spoke of my belief. “I dabbled in religion once,” he told me, “but I walked away. I grew up in the established church but was not told all the things you people seem to accept. I was a Boy Scout and as I got older a friend and I attended the Keswick convention. It sounded so much more interesting and exciting, what we heard there and the music was great. I joined a Bible Study group but then the leader told me all about what I should be doing and wasn’t. That was enough! I resigned – couldn’t handle the do’s and don’ts.”
What a tragedy, that from a pharisaical comment one could lose faith and boycott the church and fellowship with true believers. Legalism has a lot to answer for. As we read in Paul’s letter to the Galatians 3:1, You foolish Galatians Who has bewitched you? … I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? And in verse 11:- Clearly no-one who relies on the law is justified before God, because the righteous will live by faith.
In my friend’s case, someone who thought his wisdom was worth following had, like many before him, made a false assumption, and not realised that straying from God’s grace leads to the bondage of legalism. Boycott such ideas and enjoy the freedom of a life of faith.
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