Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Must vs. Can

All too often see seek to find out whether or not we *can* speak, whether or not we *can* admonish.  Can I rightly complain about what that person over there has done.  Is it "public" enough for me to complain about it publicly?  Can I unload on *him* because he is teaching false doctrine.  Can I speak, and still maintain a clean conscience?

That isn't the question we should be asking.  We should consider this: "Must I speak?"  That's the standard Paul sets in 1 Corinthians 9 - "For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!"  Am I compelled by God and my office to speak.

I am compelled to preach Christ and Him Crucified.
I am compelled to warn my flock and family of false doctrine.

I am also compelled by Christ to love my neighbor, to pray for my enemies, even the ones who persecute me.  I am compelled to strive to restore the erring in a spirit of gentleness.

These are all things I *must* do.  Can has nothing to do with it.

So, when you are going to speak, consider this.  Is it merely something you have found a "reason" that says that you can - or is it something you must, something that you have to speak upon.

The latter is the way of kindness and gentleness and love.  The former will let you cover-up and justify all sorts of sin. 


aletheist said...

This is a great point. Lately quite a few folks around the country have gotten worked up about FiveTwo and its Wiki14 conference, which took place last week. I worry that a lot of energy is wasted trying to bring everyone else into line, rather than focusing on preaching the Gospel and administering the Sacraments in one's own congregation (although I myself am not a pastor). I generally find it counterproductive to tell other people how to do what God has called them to do, rather than focusing on trying to do what God has called me to do.

Steve Martin said...

I like the word, "may".

In our freedom…we "may" do this, that, or the other thing.

Rev. Eric J Brown said...

May is a great word - but there still are some musts in this life.