Thursday, July 1, 2010

What is said - what is heard

We must always make sure that we speak truth in a way so that it isn't misheard.

What is said: "If you give, Jesus will bless you."
What is heard: "If you don't give, Jesus won't bless you."

Why this is so wrong: God's blessing of us and attitude towards us is not dependent upon our actions. Luther says of this when preaching on Luke 5: "If God did not give us anything unless we had earned it and were worthy of it, He could hardly give us bread and plain water. But He does not intend to look at our merit and worthiness but at our need and His grace and mercy." The focus of giving should not be what we will get, for that implies an ability to earn or merit goodness from God. We give because we can, because it pleases God and we like please God. It helps folks - that's good, and good enough for us.

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What is said: "Everyday people are dying without Jesus"
What is heard: ".... because you haven't given enough - so yes, you send them to hell."

Why this is so wrong: This is so egotistical. We understand that God uses means, that God uses us to work His will, to speak His truth. But I as an individual am not the only person whom God uses - and if I fail, if I falter, He will use someone else to accomplish His purpose of having the Holy Spirit speak faith into people when and where He wills. I don't have to do X, I don't have to support mission Y over mission Z. I simply live, I simply remain God's workmanship, and he puts me to use, and should I fail, He'll use somebody else.

Anyone got any others? There's tons more, I'm sure. . . but these are the ones that have stood out the most to me right now.


RobbieFish said...

Forgive me if this already posted... I tried before & it didn't seem to work.

I'm not sure your first "said/heard" is completely without merit. There is some biblical basis for saying "If you give, God will bless." But in your second "said/heard" you make a tremendously welcome & interesting point.

Maybe a sister to this is the idea that, once your board/committee has opened with prayer, whatever it decides must be the will of God...

Rev. Eric J Brown said...

In each case what is said is true -- right now people are dying with out Jesus, and if you give, God will bless you. However, both those statements lead too thoughts which are false if they stand simply on your own.

And God will bless me in spite of myself -- that blessing may not look like fantastic cash or prizes - indeed, the times when He has humbled me have been some of His greatest blessings to me. His blessing of me isn't depended upon how well I act.