05 January 2008

A Sad State of Affairs, part 1

A well known pastor blogger in the blogworld has blatantly, falsely and very publicly accused an upright brother in Christ of racism. Taking words completely out of context and then twisting them in such a way as to bring political advantage to himself within his denomination is what he is guilty of doing. This is a "man of God" who is to be a model to the church he pastors and the community in which he lives. I am repulsed by his behavior and await a public apology. I am not giving details of names and webites because I have no desire to draw readers of my blog into the muck and mire of self-elevation, lies and pride. But I do want to use this circumstance to address an issue that is so prevalent in the community of believers, and that would be the issue of pride.

At the heart of slander, attacks, wrong assumptions and accusations is pride. It is arrogance that causes one to think that their interpretation and opinion of another's words is more accurate than the intentions of the author/speaker of them. What if all relationships were like this? What if our marriages, friendships, co-worker relationships, etc. were all based on our opinion of what someone has said rather than ever taking care to learn the true intentions? What if we dealt with Scripture this way . . . our interpretation rather than a hermeneutical effort, our reliance on the Spirit within us and the other Scripture to determine what the Bible is really saying? There are many, many false religions that have resulted from just this very thing. I'm sure you catch my drift here . . . the meaning of words lies with the author of them.

Pride can be exposed as it was by the servants of Naaman in 2 Kings 5. Naaman's prideful heart was offended by being addressed by Elishas's servant rather than Elisha himself. He was offended by even the idea of going down into the dirty Jordan river. However, at the urging of his servants, he had a change of heart. He humbled himself and went into the Jordan 7 times as Elisha's messenger had instructed. As a result, Naaman was was cleansed.

Pride can be exposed, but exposure alone does not accomplish the cleansing and healing that is necessary. There has to be a change of heart. We are given many examples in Scripture of those who were filled with pride and never were repentant and cleansed of that. It is sad, and I pray that this will not be the case in the recent chain of events on the SBC blogworld.

Our job remains living in such a way as to be ready to give an account . . . making the most of our time here on earth. It means encouraging and lifting one another up as the Spirit prompts. It means discerning truth in all circumstances. It means being humble and guarding our hearts against the destructiveness of pride as our inherent sinful natures make all of us prone to it. It also means revealing pride, warning others and holding one another accountable for the damaging effects that pride has on another brother in Christ.

Pride is a matter of the heart. It's effects are damaging and long reaching. A dear friends recent call to prayer is a poignant call indeed. What remains to be seen is whether or not there will be a personal choice, a changed heart, resulting in a repentance, cleansing and healing. I hope so.

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