WCGIW Chapter 1 Thursday Discussion

On Thursdays we will look at the weeks chapter and flesh out a couple of what I feel are main points.  I will look at two points from the book through the lens of scripture that I feel is appropriate.  You may agree entirely with what I write, you may think I am nuts, or you may see some similarities and some differences.  My hope is for the latter, it will make for a more interesting discussion.  Please comment and feel free to remind us of other scripture that you feel is important to your view-point.  Interaction and civil exchange is encouraged, name calling and cursing will be removed.

The first point that I want to look at is Reverend Hamilton’s fourth point and that is regarding his discussion on being “two-faced.” I like the way that  he explains the idea of being two-faced when he writes on page 13, “Jesus was speaking of a superficial faith, which is seen in the outward appearance of religious behavior but has not sunk down into the heart.”  When I think of people like this I remember the old television show “Leave it to Beaver,” there was a character there named Eddie who tried to put on a polite show for adults, when in reality he was a jerk.  He laid it on so thick that in truth he was fooling no one, just as the pharisees were seen through by Jesus. 

We see Jesus calling them out for this in Matthew 23:25-26 (NRSV)”Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may become clean.”  Why would they clean the outside, because that is what people saw!  We see throughout the Gospels Jesus telling people, all people followers and opponents alike, that if they are going to talk the talk they better walk the walk.  In my eyes our God is a God of love and relationship, just talking about love or only loving a select few goes against all that we are taught.  The key here is how we love.  We need to love in such a way that all of people’s needs are cared for – both physical and spiritual.  These needs need to be met in ways that people see and feel that love, we need more than good intentions.  So showing love will look different to every person that we love.

“Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye.” Matthew 7:3-5 (NRSV) The second point that I want to pull out is what Hamilton calls, “Pointing out the sin of others without seeing your own.”  This is another point that Jesus makes frequently, remember the story of casting the first stone and other similar lessons.  Being in relationships does not include a scoreboard.  There are not points awarded for or deducted for sins.  There are no classifications of wrong, just wrong.

Many times when I know that I am wrong about something, I try to deflect the issue by pointing out a problem with someone or something else.  This is very unproductive.  This is an issue we all face at various times in the day.  This problem takes many shapes.  It can be gossip where people talk about others problems or it can be complaining and pointing out what is wrong.  We all know that person who is always negative, bitter and complaining about something.  Odds are that person is ourself on a number of occasions.  It is usually best to not point out another’s problems outside of a deep personal relationship with that person.

Everyone needs a person or a group to keep them accountable.  Those relationships take work and time.  It does no good to walk down a street and tell a person that they are doing something wrong.  Odds are they will ignore you and think badly of those around you.  I think that we need to earn the right to point out another’s sins.  When we have not done the foundational work in advance, we will not be heard, and maybe the person who has put in the time will be ignored too.

Those are my thoughts.  What do you think.  Maybe other places spoke more to you let me know.  I have been amazed by the participation, but I really look forward to more people getting involved in the next days to come.  If this is valuable to you, let your friends know and invite them to participate too. 

Until Saturday…

ron

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13 thoughts on “WCGIW Chapter 1 Thursday Discussion

  1. I just want to encourage anyone who is doing this study or thinking about doing the study to watch Adam Hamilton’s first week’s sermon that goes along with this study. I just made time to watch it and it was very good and convicting and got me fired up again mid-week for this study. He is a great speaker, and for me, hit home on a lot of points.

    • I can’t seem to find the link to the sermon. Can someone post it for me?
      Not sure I can watch due to dial up service but want to try.

      Thanks

      • Jen, I tried to copy the link but I don’t think it worked. It was underlined in Pastor Ron’s 8/16 comments. See if that helps
        I am not the best at all computer things…sorry.

      • Thanks Carol, I found it but I was right I can’t get it to load with dial up : (

    • Jerry and I agree but since I had heard his sermons before his writing is very much like he speaks.

  2. I just read the above posting by Pastor 4 times and all I can say is WOW.

  3. I am far behind with work “stuff” so only have a minute right now. Hopefully I can post more later but I just wanted to say it really hit home to me regarding the “speck in the eye” portion. That was very meaningful to me. It’s so difficult to remember to keep your mouth shut when someone is being rude or acting out in an unacceptable manner. I have to learn to remind myself to try and love EVERYONE the way Jesus does. There is something good in everyone, but…… there are certain times you just have to dig a little deeper to find it!

  4. Thank you Pastor Ron for your post. I have really been working on being a good Christian and to have a personal relationship with god. I just recently started devoting time each day to daily devotions, praying and reserving time for God. For some reason I just never set aside time for God before I don’t know why it took me so long to do this. I fear I may have at least in part have been one of those superficial Christians. I would go to church each week and tell people I was belonged to a church. I have been watching Joyce Meyer on TV and she points out if you share your good deeds with people for their praise instead of doing them just because it is the right thing to do in Christ you have received all of the reward you will get on earth. I have to say that I now look forward to the time I set aside to spend with God each day and I say that not for recognition but to say if other have just not seemed to find time to set aside each day for God to just do it. We really do have time we can find. I recently just realized what is more important than God and why am I not devoting time to God each day (and then I started to). I think that Satan works to keep us from devoting time in our day to God, he fills our minds with lies that we are too busy and makes us thinks of all the other things we could be doing. I almost feel like a baby Christian again, but I feel like I get more connected to God each day. For a long time I felt like I was missing that connection with God and about a week into starting my daily devotions to God I was driving home from work and saying a prayer and a feeling of joy came over me and Ifelt a true connection. I have had several similar experiences in the weeks following.

    Regarding your comment “Many times when I know that I am wrong about something, I try to deflect the issue by pointing out a problem with someone or something else.” I have done that too. Whenever someone points out something I have done wrong or something they don’t like about me I would often tell them something they do wrong or something I don’t like about them. I have worked to realize this and stop this. If someone has a problem with me I listen to what they have to say and stop my self from reacting right away and try to think about what they say and adress it, even apologize when necessary.
    Trying to be the best Christian I can be has not been an easy journey, but I feel it is definetely worth the effort. I understand now that we cannot do this alone. I pray frequently thoughout the day for God to help me be the best Christian I can be. That I can watch the words I say to others, that I can control my anger, that I can deal with my stress, and for whatever else I need strength for. I now fully understand I am not on this journey alone.

    • In reading my post I kind of sounded like I was touting myself. I did not mean to come across as prideful. I am just really excited about my journey right now.
      I was thinking about the comment that “the only people Jesus had words of judgment for in the gospels were the religious folks. What angered him the most about these people, particularly the religious leaders, was their judgmentalism, their hypocrisy, and their failure to love. I do see this sometimes with the television evagalists or preachers who frequent the tv unfortunately. Not all of them, but some of them spend more time condemning people than saving them. Some of them also only preach the doom and gloom. I have occasionally run into this in churches I have visited throughout my lifetime as well, but not often. I could see how this could turn people away. I do think that both Pastor Ron and Pastor George do a good job delivering a message without judgment, but also letting people know the word. I really appreciated the recent sermon on gossip. I have been reading about the power of our words. I took the opportunity to make my office at work a gossip free zone. I have been trying not to gossip and my friends are holding me too it. It is amazing when you think about it how many times the opportunity to gossip comes up. Now I think before I speak (is this just gossip). 🙂

  5. This discussion has brought to mind a “conversation” I was following on Facebook a while back. It particularly relates to Ron’s comment “We need to love in such a way that all of people’s needs are cared for – both physical and spiritual.  These needs need to be met in ways that people see and feel that love, we need more than good intentions.  So showing love will look different to every person that we love.”. A friend of mine posted the question of where do you give charitable donations, besides your church? My husband’s answer was that we give our money to the Ronald McDonald House charities because of our personal experience with them. Another poster attacked him because we are giving to a charity that does not preach the gospel at people. This angered me, because I have rarely felt God’s love and unconditional support and acceptance from any organization as strongly as I did during our stay at RMH. No, they didn’t confront us with our spirituality, but they loved us, took care of our physical needs and gave us hope. Even being a Christian, the last thing I needed at that point in my life was someone throwing Jesus in my face in the way this gentleman wanted all “good” charities to do. The people who showed us God’s love did so through their prayers and their love, not by preaching to us. Fortunately, my faith is strong enough not to allow this person’s comments to push me away, but it is an example of how Christians can treat people in a way that is offensive. We have to remember that everyone has different life experiences, and not everyone is in a place where a lecture on spirituality is going to do any good. I think we need to learn to care for people, build relationships, and when God leads, teach them. Without relationship, it can become hollow and even offensive.

    • Angie that was a wonderful reply and very well spoken. Jerry and I also give to a variety of causes where we feel the need and hope we can be of help.

  6. I just reread the chapter again because there were so many areas I could relate to. What it boils down to is: “God wants us to love Him and love our neighbors.” It goes on to say “Our neighbors are anyone who needs our help.” It also talks about God telling his disciples saying “the world will know they are His disciples by their love.” That reminds of a song we used to sing when I was a teenager “We are one in the Spirit…..” Why do we always have to make it so complicated? I have a hang up right now with something which I am not going to share at this point, but I am really frustrated and I, too, have been judgmental of others. At times it has caused friction with those I love deeply. Reading this has made me remember that my beliefs may not be another persons beliefs but I am not the one who decides who is right and who is wrong. My job as a Christian is to love unconditionally and give the frustration and argumentative attitude to God. Until I let go of my “opinions” (which, by the way, no one asked for them anyway) I cannot go on loving. So I have chosen to give my concerns to God and go on loving each and every person despite our differences. Nothing gives me more pleasure than to do something for someone who really needs to be blessed. To see the appreciation on their face is an undescribable feeling. People know who do things for the right reasons and who don’t. I am going to try to start living more closely to those simple words from God: “Love Me and love your neighbor.” I am praying God will be reflected in my words and deeds and others will see how powerful He really is and that he is “for real.”
    I loved this chapter and I am excited for the next. It’s fun to read all the comments because you can learn so much from others. This is awesome Pastor Ron.

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