I Repent and I Am Repenting

I repent and I am repenting

With a new year upon us, I’ve been contemplating previous years. I hope this year is one of great growth in Christ, one of great repentance and faith in Him. One thing I realize as I grow older is that I am more sinful than I previously thought, and God’s grace is greater than I previously thought. Thus, I repent and I am repenting. Specifically, I repent of my rhetoric.

I’ve been blogging “off and on” since 2005. My articles and comments have not always been helpful. My rhetoric has not always been in line with Scripture or in the tone of love for God and my neighbor. At times, I have said, “Scripture is sufficient,” while denying this truth through my use of unloving rhetoric for God and my neighbor. Thus, I publicly repent of depending on my rhetoric (my ability to craft arguments or turn a phrase) to change the hearts of individuals. If Scripture, Christ, or the gospel offends, so be it. But, if I offend apart from Scripture, Christ, or the gospel, I am hurting the cause of Christ. Therefore, I repent and continue to repent of depending on my rhetoric to convince others. Brothers and sisters, if I have needlessly offended you by my words (not Scripture), then I ask your forgiveness. If you are not a Christian and I have needlessly offended you, I ask for your forgiveness as well, but I also plead with you to consider the claims of Christ as Lord alone based on His identity and arguments and not the inadequacies of His followers. What will do with Jesus Christ sinner (John 3:16)?

For the purpose of clarity, I am not condemning the use of rhetoric or the perfecting of one’s rhetoric and argumentation. These things are God-honoring when connected to Him and under the Lordship of Christ. I am also not condemning my convictions, strong beliefs, or my desire to defend the truth and convince others. I think the church needs more boldness, not less. Nor am I bowing to the ungodly rhetoric of my brothers and sisters or unbelievers. Their ungodly rhetoric actually helps me to see my own. I am only condemning my dependence upon myself. Where the Bible speaks, God speaks, but where I speak apart from Scripture, only I speak. And I am what is wrong with the world…not merely my sins, but me (Rom. 3:9-26). My rhetoric separated from the Lordship of Christ is idolatry. Thus, my plea is for more of Christ, more of His sanctifying work in and through me, and less of my old self. My goal is to bear Christ’s cross and follow Him, not to bear a cross I have created apart from Him. My rhetoric has no power to save, convince, raise the dead, or sanctify the believer. God’s word, however, is sufficient for all Christian faith and practice and all human flourishing (2 Tim. 3:15-17). May my use of rhetoric proclaim the Lordship of Christ and not undermine it.

From now on, may others say of my writing, of my rhetoric, “Jared speaks the truth in love with a tone and words that are in line with Scripture. Praise God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit!”

Comments

  1. says

    Oh yeah, Take the High road why doncha! Make me look bad, I know that!
    Silliness aside, I too have been thinking my verbiage has been lacking in empathy and decorum at times.
    I actually appreciate a well thought out opinion that is different than mine. But some people, though highly intelligent- and smarter than me, are dumb as a rock! And I guess I think if I yell I can crack the rock. Hasn’t worked yet.

  2. Bart Barber says

    I have felt more internal conflict over my blogging than over any other thing I have ever done. I have had to make more public apologies over my blogging than over any other thing I have done. It is always a good thing to be quick to say “I’m sorry.” I commend you for doing so.

  3. Tarheel says

    Jared,

    Thank you for this.

    I too struggle with the use of, shall we say, sharp language…I almost always regret it right after doing it. I regret hurting and offending others, but more than that I regret sinning against God when I do not practice Romans 14 in my blog comments (Yea, scripture applies to blog use as well).

    It is particularly discomforting when these transgressions are perpetrated by me against fellow believers. (not to minimize it when it happens in my dealings with unbelievers.)

    It is hard for a “strong willed” (OK, prideful and stubborn) person such as myself to back away from retaliatory language when I am attacked, it is also sometimes hard for me to refrain from being overly confrontational in the first place.

    Jared, thanks for your transparency and frankness.

    You are not alone, sir….It’s a daily struggle for me too, and from what I see and read on this blog for others as well. It’s good to know that we are not alone. Not that I am looking for justification – just the opposite. I find that encouragement, rebuke and reproof from fellow believers who struggle (and admit) with similar issues as I do is particularly helpful.

    Thanks again.

  4. Dr. R. Richard Tribble, Jr. says

    Jared,

    My wife is constantly on me about my tone. In my past professions I gave orders and expected them to be carried out immediately; if they didn’t someone could be killed or injured while at other times their inaction could have cost hundreds of thousands dollars. I thank God daily for my wife and am working daily to exhibit the mind of Christ in my speech.

    Writing on the other hand presents a different set of parameters for us. Sometimes we are knowingly strident in our words while on other occasions we are accused of it without meaning to be. Its the writers catch 22.

    I join with you in seeking to communicate in a more Christ like my manner of speech and writing. That doesn’t mean, neither you or I will never say a harsh word with intent; I believe it is sometimes necessary if we are to follow Christ. But, like you, I hope that I will not do it out of spite, but rather in the love of Christ.

    Reflection is something I’ve been doing daily for some time now. I just finished a manuscript for a book I’ve entitled ‘Becoming…. All God Desires Us to Be’ utilizing 2 Pt 1:5-8 as the foundational text. Since it is a ‘HOW TO’ book I’ve been utilizing what I write about now for more than a year in my own life. Though I falter in application, I am encouraged by others who love me and may comment from time-to-time about a change they may see.

    Contrary to public opinion, we can love someone and still vehemently disagree. The sad thing is that often our pride and arrogance manifest themselves in anger and we attack the person rather than the idea we believe to be wrong. May we ever seek to be Christ like as we rapidly approach His return that the lost may experience God’s redemption and believers encouraged and empowered in their walk.

    Blessing my brother.

  5. Greg Harvey says

    The crazy thing about repentance: we give up something of no value–steeped of course in our pride–in order to obtain something of inestimable value. May the Holy Spirit continue to effectively and efficiently conform us to the image of Christ Jesus through conviction leading to repentance resulting in forgiveness and the emergence of the clear and visible fruit of the Spirit in each of our lives. May we each seek what Jared seeks in order to fully appropriate the promises–and the accompanying spiritual riches–that we have been offered freely in Christ Jesus.

  6. says

    Brother Jared,

    I am so glad I have gotten to know you and you me. Now what I have to say you will better understand. I so appreciate your repentance. But as the “personal business agent for rhetoric” I must ask you to broaden your repentance a bit (LOL!).

    My grad work was in rhetoric. So all of my comments will come out of my admiration for those who use rhetoric. Most, however, do not undertand the term and apply it in a negative manner.

    Generally when we see or personally use the term we use it in a wrong way. Rhetoric is just a tool like a car. So I see myself as the “white knight” riding in to “save the day” and rescue the damsel in distresss–in this case the damsel is rhetoric herself.

    This is by no means meant to be a critique–only an educational corrective of sorts. When my enemies don’t agree with me they are using “rhetoric.” When I have slipped into a bad tone when I write or criticize it is rhetoric. Rhetoric is a great thing and can be made positive or negative by the user. It, like money, is morally neutral. It is made “good” or “bad” by the user. I only want to point out the differences. There is such a thing as “good rhetoric” also.

    For what it is worht! No criticism intended only clarification. I love you in our Lovely Lord Christ and do pray for you and your ministry as I type this.

    sdg!

    rd

  7. says

    Great post. Blogging is a dangerous joy. I started out in 2006 not thinking much aboutbit. Being a technical writer on most days (manuels etc) I came acoss harsh and arrogant. I still get in trouble for I approach blogging as quick thoughts and ideas while otehrs want theological dissertations on every post. Too much time for that with all I do.

    How we come across is not only reflective in our writing but yet open to someone’s perception of without knowing us. And that is most diificult.

    Effort is required and thoughts beyond the origin of our posts must be fleshed out.

    It ain’t always easy! We are all learning together!