Family is an interesting thing. For the most part, you don’t pick your family, you show up into the world with people that stay in your life and you have no say in the matter. The church can be like that. We become part of the family and look around and see who else is in the body with us. Many times we find people we connect with and click with. Sometimes we find ourselves at odds with people, and sometimes we find people we just don’t agree with, but love anyway.
I have some brothers who I love dearly but I just don’t always agree with. I don’t agree with everything that Rick Warren has said, I disagree with some of the actions of Mark Driscoll, some of the things that he says grieves me. Sometimes Peter Lumpkins and I have disagreed on blogs. Dave Miller loves the Yankees. Enough said.
I meet with one of these guys once a week usually. I have met one of these guys a couple times, had some conversations with him. One of these guys I have interacted with via blogs and one of these guys I have only heard him preach online and read some of his materials. I love all of these guys as brothers, and I really believe that they have a desire to serve Christ. I think they are doing what they believe is best to further the kingdom and to serve the Savior. Sometimes they have all messed up, there are some things they each say that I don’t agree with, and one who supports an evil baseball empire.
So how do I deal with these 4 men? I could argue and be malicious. I could cut them down, call them liberals and Red Sox fans. I could tell everyone how they need to be judged for their evil and malicious ways. None of those things seem like a very Christian options. So I have to ask myself some questions. Do I need to be offended? Is this a doctrine that will divide us? Will Dave really suffer eternal torment for liking the Yankees? If all of these things, will there be division, and will it help of hinder the cause of Christ in my reactions?
There are some things which I know I need to overlook. Those things in which I don’t overlook, I have to ask myself how can I deal with it? What do I need to say, what do I need to do? How should I interact with Rick Warren, should I write him an e-mail? Should I blog about Dave Miller? As I relate, there are a few things I need to ask myself.
1. Is this issue something that affects me or others? Do I need to address it as something personal or something that is hurting the Body of Christ?
2. If this is personal, have I gone through the process of Matthew 18, going first in private and then brings a few trusted men of wisdom with me to address the issue.
3. If this issue effects other believers, have I addressed it with grace and gentleness in an attempt to restore and make reconciliation? Am I doing damage to a brother or to the body as a whole?
4. Am I applying 1 Corinthians 13? Am I being patient, kind, not being arrogant or rude? Am I insisting on my own way, am I being irritable or resentful? Am I believing, hoping and enduring? If I am not, can I really say I am approaching my brother in love?
5. Am I restoring gently? In Galatians 6, I am told that we should restore a brother gently in a spirit of gentleness. There is a not of gentle going on in that verse. Are my words and actions gentile? Will the result of my actions be a more unified body, or one more torn apart? Am I being gentle and loving?
If I can’t apply these things, if I am not working out of gentleness and love and compassion, then maybe I shouldn’t say anything. Am I saying something for the benefit of the church, for the good of the entire body, or for my own ego? Am I loving my brothers? I need to check myself, check my motivation and make sure when I am interacting with anyone from Dave Miller to Mark Driscoll, from Peter Lumpkin or Rick Warren, that it’s filled with grace and love.
My blogging family, I hope and pray that my writings are supportive and encouraging, that they are gentile and filled with grace. My hope and desire is that as we interact on blogs that we are encouraged and occasionally amused. That our interactions will be filled with fellowship and will be fruitful and we support one other in love and grace.