Monday, October 22, 2007

Paradigm Shift

I am going through a massive paradigm shift. I have avoided talking about it here because as hard as I am going to try to explain what I believe I think there is a pretty good chance some will misunderstand me and dismiss me as becoming "liberal".

One of the ways that evangelicals distinguish themselves is their passion for truth. This turns into a belief that we can know what is "right". Being "right" is highly prized. If its true that for every strength there is a weakness what is the weakness of this viewpoint?

A while back I was thinking these questions. "Is God's highest and best for me that I be "right"?" "Does God communicate to us about himself through scripture that his greatest and most important characteristic is his "rightness"?" Do we learn in the New Testament that we will be most like him if we just learn what is the "right" answer for every question?"

I was also observing that those that prize being "right" also often talk about the dangers of being "wrong". This leads to list of dangerous enemies. While some say we have to love our enemies they never talk about how to do that. Instead they move onto telling you more about why they are "right". How many people who make it a mission to teach what is "right" have as their highest goal, the persuasion of those who are wrong because they love them and are deeply concerned about their well-being verses the motivation of self preservation?

Some people have taken these messages and come to believe that their highest calling from God is to tell people how to think and act rightly. When challenged about what to do with the verses that tell us we are not to judge lest we be judged they don't know how to fit that thought into their belief system. To judge others and tell them that they are wrong is one of their duties.

My paradigm shift - What if we valued God's love and compassion for every one as being equal to God being right. Is telling the world how right God is without sharing with them how loving He is doing more harm than good?

Having a relationship with Jesus, experiencing his love for me has been what has persuaded me to give up what I want, what my flesh craves and take a chance that Jesus is right. Over and over again Jesus has proven himself to be right, always right.

This means I'll be willing to have a friend who is struggling to give up being a prostitute, because she isn't sure she can believe that God will provide for her if she gives up the only security she knows. I will listen to her not judge her. I will pray for her. I will testify to why I am so certain the promise of provision is true. I will find other prostitutes who feared the same thing trusted God and He was faithful.

This means that I will encourage my son to have friendships with people who don't believe that following God is worth the trouble. It means I wont abandon my son if he chooses to lead a double life.

It means that I'll be honest about my own sin nature and my desperate need for the love and correction of God. I will be honest about the damage the self righteousness has done to my own soul.

It means I will risk being misunderstood by those who believe that compassion is the same as giving permission for sin.

God has extended me so much compassion, grace, forgiveness, love, mercy to me. How on earth do I have the right to withhold that from others? I believe it is God's place and responsibility to judge and to convict. My job is to affirm through my own testimony what God has done for me.

It is my job to seek the Lord so He can teach me what He wants me to know. Trusting that what I learn from Him can be confirmed in scripture and in the testimony of other believers.

P.S - I'm willing to listen to any reaction you may have to what I have just written. I don't want to engage in an argument so I may not respond to your comment but I do promise to think about and pray about whatever you might share.

If you have a question please don't hesitate to ask? Please don't hesitate to respond anonymously if that is important to you for some reason.


Joye said...

I don't see anything argumentative in your post. You are absolutely RIGHT! No one will want to listen to a person who insists on being right and does not have love. They're a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. Also, it isn't possible for us to have all the right answers. If we think we do, we definitely need to do a heart check, don't you think?

Cheri said...

Hi Joye,

It isn't possible to have all the right answers. I trust that what ever answers are necessary for me to grow, to change, to minister and to serve, to bring glory to the Lord will be provided.

I hope the Spirit of God will convict me when I think I'm right and I couldn't be more wrong or I'm only partially right. :)

Doesn't it seem like a miracle that we ever grasp anything good?!

Robyn Rochelle E. said...

i love you