Monday, August 5, 2013

Trashed for not Walking the Talk!

Love, in my opinion, is an overrated emotion with an underrated performance, at least in Christendom. If it weren’t, surely there wouldn’t be as many divisions in the church of Jesus Christ.

In his work ‘Four Loves,’ C.S Lewis mentions two forms of love: Gift-Love and Need-Love. He describes them as, “The typical example of Gift-love would be that love which moves a man to work and plan and save for the future well-being of his family which he will die without sharing or seeing; of the second, that which sends a lonely or frightened child to its mother's arms.” God’s love is Gift-Love. HE lacks nothing, so HE expects nothing from anyone for HIS satisfaction. Man’s love can be either of these, depending on a given situation. However, we fail at times and it is that failure I want to highlight, but with a prayer for an enriched Christ-like life in yours and mine.

When those unaware of biblical truths know and teach love, shouldn’t Christians, by virtue of our supernatural transformation (cf. John 3:5-8) and knowledge of Bible’s lofty standards, pave way for the world to love? How genuine or Christ-like is christian love? Pardon me if this hurts; I have often seen the Lord Jesus Christ in the love of a non-christian than a christian.

The heart of love of some christians is, ‘if you love me, I will love you; if you hate me, I will hate you.’ Or, ‘if you do what I say, I will love you; if you rebel, I will hate you.’ Aren’t these thoughts similar to, ‘if you gratify me, I will gratify you’ or ‘you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours?’ Yes, love is involved in these acts, but hate is equally involved due to selfishness.

A powerfully creative human mind can manufacture fascinating rationale to un-love or trash another (I use the term ‘un-love,’ for ‘hate’ may be too hard an antonym to ‘love’ in this context). Let me elaborate. We live in the digital realm - email, twitter, facebook et al - where one can quite easily trash a friend. One instance of trashing, an expression of scorn, is un-friending on facebook. Of course there are other novel ways to express our scorn.

A holy rationale for trashing a friend could be that he isn’t walking his talk (practicing what he preaches). Let me dwell in this subject for a few moments of your time.

When we accuse a friend for not walking his talk, we make certain presuppositions. Common knowledge states that misunderstanding frequently arises through controversial situations. One presupposition in accusation is superior knowledge of all aspects of the controversial situation. Another presupposition is superior knowledge of the theme of accusation (anger, misappropriation of finances, adultery etc.), especially the biblical interpretation. If the unceremonial trashing has occurred while the controversial situation was under way and none implicated conclusively in the controversy, the trasher presupposes a superior predictive knowledge of the character of the trashed. In a nutshell, the trasher claims superior knowledge of his friend’s walk, talk, and the theology of it all. But that’s not it, when one trashes another for hypocrisy; the one who trashes claims a holier life devoid of hypocrisy.

While worldly and spiritual maturity, discernment and wisdom lead to superior knowledge, one should be wise and diligent to exercise judgment over another, especially in the event of destroying or interrupting a relationship. Any incorrect move on the part of a trasher will position him in the realm of having sinned against the second greatest commandment of God, which is to love the other as oneself. A spiritual man can judge another (cf. 1 Corinthians 2: 15, NIV), but as we know the spiritual man is entirely reliant upon the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 2: 9-10, NIV). When a christian decides to trash a friend for the sake of apparent or actual hypocrisy, he claims revelation from God about hypocrisy. Thus, in trashing he invokes God’s presence and judgment upon himself. A mighty ramification to an unnecessary action!

Look at this from another perspective. Why should Christians choose un-loving /trashing as the only way to confront relationships? Is it not possible to dialogue? If the dialogue gets rough and shoddy, is it impossible to continue to love, rather than un-love or trash the person? Eventually, ‘un-loving’ morphs into ‘hatred.’ This is a dangerous situation for man, let alone Christianity.

This verse always renders me speechless, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8, NASB; emphasis mine). The holy God loved me when I was constantly and consciously abusing HIM. Can u digest this? When we are overwhelmed by God’s love, why can’t we love one another with HIS love, especially when we claim that God lives in us? God allows man to depart from HIS presence only when man chooses to reject HIM through unbelief. However, if a man seeks and believes in God, then God, by no means, will reject or trash man from HIS presence.

My response to rejection is not to disturb those who reject me. If a friend disbelieves me, then I would rather stay away from him, instead of trying my best to prove my credibility. This by no means implies that my door is closed. My door is always open to the one who rejects me, but I neither have the patience nor strength to run after him to prove my credibility. Of course we can dialogue, I am there to talk, or if you prove my guilt, I will willingly apologize. But I am much rigid if I am faultless in that particular context.

Ravi Zacharias narrates how Sammy Dagger, a Lebanese evangelist, was instrumental in leading Franklin Graham (Rev. Billy Graham’s son) to Christ.1 Rev. Billy Graham led multitudes to the Lord, but his own son was led to the Lord by another evangelist. Does this imply a failure of the acclaimed evangelist? Do we interpret that Rev. Billy Graham’s walk of his talk was inconsistent that he was unable to lead his own son (who was witness to Rev. Billy’s private life) to the Lord? I definitely do not think so! No situation is adequate or justifiable to trash another.

Walking the talk is pivotal to a christian life, for belief determines behavior, and behavior is the manifestation of belief. However, one can always find sin in another’s life, which would render his walk imperfect. This is precisely why we are called to mind our own business before we mind another’s business. Alternatively, we are called to remove the log from our eye before we help remove the speck from our brother’s eye (Matthew 7:3, NASB). Let us remember that Christ states that we have a LOG in our eye whereas our brother has only a SPECK in his eye. Our sins are much worse in comparison to our brother’s.

Let us be mindful of walking our talk, and be right in God’s eyes, before we trash others for their apparent or actual inconsistencies. Trashing should be removed from the vocabulary of a Christian. Love should replace trash and its synonyms.

If you have been trashed or forsaken by your friend, then let the wonderful words of the hymn, ‘What a friend we have in Jesus,’ comfort, encourage and direct you:

“Do thy friends despise, forsake thee? Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He’ll take and shield thee, Thou wilt find a solace there.”

Our friends may trash us, but Christ will always heal and will never ever trash or reject the one who seeks and believes in HIM. Amen.

Over the next few weeks, I will endeavor to dwell on topics such as abortion, embryonic stem cell research, reproductive technologies, biotechnology and human cloning, euthanasia and physician assisted suicide, sexual ethics, war et al. Christian response to these subjects would be the theme of these blogs.


1“Sammy Dagger was instrumental in bringing Franklin Graham back to the Lord, the son of Billy. Franklin was in Beruit, a loser and a lost, hanging around with a life completely confused, and Sammy was instrumental in bringing Franklin to Christ, and Sammy didn't even know who Billy Graham was.”
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Malcolm said...

Yes Raj There are more non Christian that behave in a Christian manner than so who profess to be Christian, as I have always held the view Christianity is a way of life with having Jesus within you in your actions and words, no amount of 'church going, prayer, theology, can ever replace words and actions in true love, I stand firm on the two basic commands of Jesus "Love God and love your neighbor" and when love and forgiveness rule supreme in ones live only then will one find the true meaning of peace.

Raj Richard said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Totally agree with you, Malcolm. There is one thing I desire to add, which is that repentance precedes forgiveness.