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Believe Me / Don’t Believe Me 4

July 1, 2006

There were some interesting comments on the last post. Some things I would like to explore but may not have room in this post are: the good and bad of comparing ourselves to others, finding the “real” Jesus, “no one has is right”, the bible as a measuring tool, is Jesus a myth, what are the fundamentals of who is a Christian and who decides, feeling close to God, and can we be “upright”.

There is the illustration (now pretty old) that goes like this. What if God said all you have to do to be saved is to jump from here to the moon. (its 220,000 to 252,000 miles to the moon from earth) If that was the case then it wouldn’t really matter if you were Michael Jordan or if your vertical leap was non existent. We could compare ourselves and say at least I can jump higher than them. But it wouldn’t really matter would it. We all would be so far from reaching the goal.

My mother used to try to drill it into me not to worry about what other people thought. “Just be yourself”. That is a little bit different than comparing yourself, but it has some commonalities. When we worry about what others think about us we are giving them the ability to measure us. When we reverse it we are comparing ourselves against them. There is both a good and bad in comparing ourselves with others. As mentioned by some of the commentary last post, we can be encouraged or challenged to be better by others example. But if that becomes our measuring stick then we may end up with a false metric.

But don’t believe me. 2 cor. 10:12 says that it is foolish that some compare themselves to one another. Romans 2 talks about how that when we make ourselves feel better by condemning someone else we in fact condemning ourself. We should be very slow to condemn others. Even those that we disagree with. Someone may have a limp and may mock their inability to run with us. We don’t know what might have caused that limp nor are we recognizing our own weakness.

Sometimes our judging is because we are convinced that we are right. We KNOW we are. The painting is of the conversion of Saul. His story is a great example of two people who knew they had judged rightly. He was sure that this “Way” was blasphemous. That they were an offense to God and he was right in knowing they were wrong. He left no room for God’s spirit to guide him. He new the scriptures (probably as well as anyone alive) “Cursed is the man that hangs on a tree” That “proved” Jesus could not have been the Messiah. He missed a few other connections because he had it all figured out. And then there is Ananias. A vision that tells you to go to the man that you probably know was coming to drag you to your death or prison. I wonder if he asked God “Are you sure? He might be faking. This could be a trap.” My guess is he was sure that he had judged Saul correctly. But he was faithful to follow and what a difference it made.

All that to say, we should always be humble when in our sureness that we are right it causes us to judge others. I do think that we can be sure of some things and will get to that next.

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. July 2, 2006 9:22 am

    The New Testament makes it clear that our faith in God and Jesus Christ is not built on fantasy, but is solidly rooted in all God reveals to us through his Word and His Son and His Spirit.

    As for being humble in all our thoughts and ways and not judging others – absolutely we should all be that way. I think some of us are more predicated to being humble than others, but it something we must all always strive for and maintain in our innermost being – our souls.

    As for your opening illustration (about jumping to the moon), I’ve heard that one and several very similar over the years beginning when I was in my very early 20s and those illustrations made by Godly men were what opened my eyes and my heart to the meaning of grace and I was overwhelmed and amazed in my “deliverance” from “rule” living as a Christian and false measurements.

    Thanks for these posts, Tommy. They are each and all excellent.

    Dee

  2. July 2, 2006 9:22 am

    The New Testament makes it clear that our faith in God and Jesus Christ is not built on fantasy, but is solidly rooted in all God reveals to us through his Word and His Son and His Spirit.

    As for being humble in all our thoughts and ways and not judging others – absolutely we should all be that way. I think some of us are more predicated to being humble than others, but it something we must all always strive for and maintain in our innermost being – our souls.

    As for your opening illustration (about jumping to the moon), I’ve heard that one and several very similar over the years beginning when I was in my very early 20s and those illustrations made by Godly men were what opened my eyes and my heart to the meaning of grace and I was overwhelmed and amazed in my “deliverance” from “rule” living as a Christian and false measurements.

    Thanks for these posts, Tommy. They are each and all excellent.

    Dee

  3. July 3, 2006 8:36 am

    TCS,

    Good observations. I am eager to read your thoughts on the other topics that you didn’t have the room to touch on this time, especially the “real Jesus,” “Jesus as myth,” and “the fundamentals of who is a Christian and who decides.”

    Dee,

    “The New Testament makes it clear that our faith in God and Jesus Christ is not built on fantasy, but is solidly rooted in all God reveals to us through his Word and His Son and His Spirit.”

    Could you explain in detail what you mean by this? How is it clear? How can we use the Bible to prove what the Bible says is true? How exactly is this revealed “through his Word and His Son and His Spirit.”?

    Brent

  4. July 3, 2006 8:36 am

    TCS,

    Good observations. I am eager to read your thoughts on the other topics that you didn’t have the room to touch on this time, especially the “real Jesus,” “Jesus as myth,” and “the fundamentals of who is a Christian and who decides.”

    Dee,

    “The New Testament makes it clear that our faith in God and Jesus Christ is not built on fantasy, but is solidly rooted in all God reveals to us through his Word and His Son and His Spirit.”

    Could you explain in detail what you mean by this? How is it clear? How can we use the Bible to prove what the Bible says is true? How exactly is this revealed “through his Word and His Son and His Spirit.”?

    Brent

  5. July 3, 2006 4:59 pm

    “We should be very slow to condemn others. Even those that we disagree with.”

    Yeah… I would even say ESPECIALLY those we disagree with.

    Some of the best conversations (not arguments!) I’ve ever had were with a couple of my athiest friends. Needless to say, there’s a gap in our belief systems… but I would’ve lost out on so much had I just written them off. Both of them were much more analytical/critical than me, so I gained a lot from that previously ignored perspective. When you ENJOY conversations with others (rather than dreading their questions or trying to think ahead to your best apologetic to squash him with), you’ll have a better chance to see the heart of the person… and that’s a beautiful thing.

    The Mar/Apr edition of Discipleship Journal is titled “Why are Christians so INTOLERANT? (and other tough questions nonChristians ask).” Excellent articles there… But sometimes I think we’re too busy learning how to engage people among ourselves whose beliefs simply run along a different vein… No wonder we don’t have time to deal with nonChristians! SAD!!!

  6. July 3, 2006 4:59 pm

    “We should be very slow to condemn others. Even those that we disagree with.”

    Yeah… I would even say ESPECIALLY those we disagree with.

    Some of the best conversations (not arguments!) I’ve ever had were with a couple of my athiest friends. Needless to say, there’s a gap in our belief systems… but I would’ve lost out on so much had I just written them off. Both of them were much more analytical/critical than me, so I gained a lot from that previously ignored perspective. When you ENJOY conversations with others (rather than dreading their questions or trying to think ahead to your best apologetic to squash him with), you’ll have a better chance to see the heart of the person… and that’s a beautiful thing.

    The Mar/Apr edition of Discipleship Journal is titled “Why are Christians so INTOLERANT? (and other tough questions nonChristians ask).” Excellent articles there… But sometimes I think we’re too busy learning how to engage people among ourselves whose beliefs simply run along a different vein… No wonder we don’t have time to deal with nonChristians! SAD!!!

  7. July 3, 2006 10:06 pm

    Great post.

  8. July 3, 2006 10:06 pm

    Great post.

  9. July 4, 2006 10:53 am

    So often our judgements of others are made and we have nor heard what was said – we responded to what we thought they said. Communication requires us to ask questions and probe, but so often we are thinking of our next response, not listening to understand.–>

  10. July 4, 2006 10:53 am

    So often our judgements of others are made and we have nor heard what was said – we responded to what we thought they said. Communication requires us to ask questions and probe, but so often we are thinking of our next response, not listening to understand.–>

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