Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Specks and logs

Jesus, the prophets and apostles alike all used good arguments when they taught the gospel. They were sensible and persuasive. They made sense.

Reading Sire earlier this month was very refreshing. He is concerned for clear argument accompanied with kindness and dependence upon the Spirit of God to change lives. However, I've discovered that its easier to critique others for poor argument, than to examine myself. Instinctively I fail to be be generous and kind, nor to think hard upon the work of the Spirit in others lives. Thus, I find myself challenged and encouraged by Mark Lauterbach once again, On suspicion and discernment:
I believe in a doctrine of sin that is serious and deep – but I think it is a wrong application of the doctrine of sin to cause me to hold others in suspicion. I think the doctrine of sin should lead me to hold myself in suspicion and assume others are not nearly as corrupt in motives as I am. But that is not the case.

The other day I spent more time looking through my prayer list – and saw that often when I looked at someone’s name it really was their sin that first came to mind. This means my heart is predisposed to suspicion of others rather than seeing grace in others. I do not think this is a mark of Gospel transformation.

It is called censoriousness by Edwards and fault-finding by others – the remarkable facility to see your specks of evil and miss my own logs of sin.
Lord, help me to love your people more. Lord, help me to be discerning - to discern evidences of grace in those I serve. Lord, help my conversation to encourage the growth of the Spirit's fruit, to encourage progress in faith and joy.

2 comments:

  1. Honest as ever Dave.
    Jesus classic teaching on specks and planks is one we often forget simply through over-familiarity.
    I wonder how often those with pastoral responsibility rebuke others over a problem with a particular sin compared to how often they take others aside to say they can see how the Holy Spirit has been working in them, to encourage them?

    Do you think we can also apply this to international relations and politics? How often some of us powerful western countries love to point out the evils of others, as if we ourselves are blameless!

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  2. i suppose its a matter of encourage the good wherever you find it, and if you can't find it look harder... doesn't mean we don't point out error and correct it... but a lot can be achieved by finding the good....

    the danger is we go to far into platitudes and flattery, but if we are really looking for evidence of God's work then much encouragement could be gained...

    might help in international politics... maybe.

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