We all have someone in our lives we could look back on and remember as someone we used to know. It may be a former love interest, a close friend, or a work associate. Depending on the relationship the memory of that person may or may not be a pleasant reminder. There are times it may even apply to self. I can remember a time when I was sitting in a local diner drinking coffee and talking with two acquaintances when one of the young men began to verbally attack his girlfriend. This young lady worked as a waitress in this diner. That it took place publicly was an embarrassment to all around. At the end of the verbal assault, the waitress now in tears and the angry young man having left the premises in haste, the other young man there with me said he didn't know that man. What man? The one that walked out. They actually knew each other for years, but a new side had been revealed for the first time.
I began to think of the contents of this article as I struggle with a problem that is personal as well as spiritual. It is personal because it involves me but also involves others of my family, both biological and spiritual. I started thinking of how people change as they go through life. Yet often those changes go unnoticed because people are separated by distance, or certain characteristics are kept hidden from loved ones. Sometimes characteristics are seen but ignored.
Have you ever received a bad report about someone and refused to believe it? We may want to believe only the best about people, and that's noble. Sometimes people change. I'm not suggesting we blindly believe everything we hear, regardless of the subject matter. But if there is a possibility a brother or sister is in sin, do we love them enough to make sure? Or are we content to say, "that's not the person I know." It may be true it is not the person you used to know, but people do change. Sometimes that change may happen right before our eyes and go unnoticed, if we allow ourselves to be blinded by past loyalties. Sometimes change will take place away from our view. Too many times reports are received based on someone we used to know, and not who (or what) the person has become.
James speaks of one who looks into a mirror, goes away and forgets what kind of person he was. This person has deceived himself for he has not changed what he saw in the mirror. He continues to do wrong because he did not look intently into the perfect law of liberty, God's word, which shows a reflection of one who saw a need to change and did so (Ja. 1:23-25). We can't just be hearers of the word, we must be doers. That means we have to be willing to change. Oftentimes even when one has been baptized change can happen over time that deceives the heart of the evil doer, while also staying hidden from the view of others.
But if we really believe in the sacrifice of Jesus, then we should truly be willing to change. To be the mirror image of Jesus demands that change from us, so that we may behold as in a mirror the glory of the Lord (2 Cor. 3:18), as He transforms us into His image from glory to glory. From our cleansing to become free from sin, to our glorious eternal home in heaven, it is God through Christ who transforms us. Let us not become blind to our own need to change, and let us not look blindly upon those around us who may be struggling in their spiritual lives. How sad it would be to one day hear the Lord say about us, "he was just someone I used to know." Rodger
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
There may be many thoughts which lay beneath the surface when the blushing bride comes to mind. It may be the prolonged kiss at the altar, causing a bit of embarrassment. Or perhaps the point in time when the garter belt is thrown, though that may be a bit too old fashioned for some to remember. You may have your own reason for remembering the blushing bride. I fear however, we have have come to a time when the bride no longer blushes.
The ever changing social attitudes have taken a once loud voice and brought it largely to silence. The women of our land who spoke loudly against attacks on motherhood, homemakers, and the mistreatment of women in various ways, are now the very same voices who allow such attacks to be tolerated and often times overlooked. The women of this world no longer blush or stand ashamed of the lifestyles that are now the norm in their lives.
The prophet Jeremiah spoke about this problem in his day (Jer. 6:15; 8:12). Jeremiah was not speaking in general terms regarding women but more specifically against the prophets and priests who were unfaithful in their service to God. There is however, an application to be made more broadly to the words of Jeremiah. Since Jeremiah was speaking to the covenant children who served under the Law of Moses, let us make application to the bride of the new covenant, the church.
Jeremiah speaks the words of God against those who were offering a superficial healing by crying "peace peace," when there is no peace (6:14; 8:11). Preachers today will many times stand in the pulpit and preach of God's love and grace while not addressing sinful behavior taking place in the body. This is not solely the responsibility of the preacher, but he certainly bears that responsibility. We certainly need God's grace and His love but not at the expense of losing souls through a watered down gospel.
More and more the worldly elements of immorality are creeping into the church through many ways, and yet we don't seem to mind. Faithful parents as well as preachers faithful to the word are becoming the exception in the church today, no longer the norm. That is a disturbing trend that needs to stop. We must all be mindful of our own lives and look to the welfare of others. Young people in the body of Christ need to return to a more modest way of life and turn away from the forms of entertainment that should be causing them to blush, and yet seem to be looked upon as acceptable behavior. Older people need to be doing this as well.
When someone today gets embarrassed by what they heard or saw, they are looked upon as out of touch and old fashioned. But the truth of God's word is not going to change. That goes beyond the teaching concerning our salvation to the daily lifestyle we follow. What we must really understand is that when Jeremiah was telling the Lord's people they had forgotten how to blush, they were not being complimented for their maturity in now being able to accept and tolerate certain behavior. They were being chastised for their disobedience and warned of the impending judgment against them.
The church today, the chosen lady (2 John 1), needs to stand in defense of what is right according to God's standard, so we may truly be the mirror image of His purity and holiness. There are images all around us that should be making us blush. After all, we are the bride of Christ. Rodger