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Lingering Tangled Questions

Am thinking there may be questions lingering in our minds after considering that evil sinners are seen as “righteous” in God’s eyes if they are ‘in Christ’…and that such people are to be considered well off and to be envied– not because they “have it all together”– but because they have seen their deep spiritual poverty and need of God’s mercy (Matt 5:2-3).

Will such “righteous” persons (even if they never throw around the word “righteous”) tend to be affirmed by their community because are now enabled to increasingly reflect the spirit of Christ “against which there is no law” (Gal 5:22-23); and the kind of wisdom that is non-controlling and peace-loving in intent (James 3:17-18)? Or will such “righteous” people  be resented because, in the above mix, there will still be plenty of their own flesh and failure?

If the answer to such a mix of “tangled questions” includes a recall of what Jesus said about being concerned “if all speak well of us” (Luke 6:26), then does this net out to making it our goal to work at loving all, doing good, condemning no one, while still being willing to make enemies, and draw unfriendly fire along the way–sometimes because of our own foolishness–and sometimes (in the best case) because we are lovingly throwing light on the foolishness of others? Or is there a simpler way that such a tangle of questions misses?


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54 Responses to “Lingering Tangled Questions”

  1. Mart De Haan says:

    Foreverblessed posted this comment at 5:09 a.m to the last post. So am copying below what seems to anticipate the tension I’m addressing above.

    Pooh, what you wrote is so soothing: it is God who does the work in us, we rest in faith in Him, we prepare the way in us, putting out sin, worries, anxiety, because we trust He will fill us with His work, His life.
    No manipulation, no strife, argueing and pushing that people around us have to keep the law of God, that is not peace at all,like the verse in Isaiah 32 says in verse 17
    “The fruit of righteousness will be peace;
    the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever.”

  2. swwagner says:

    Righteousness is a very personal situation in each life…just like salvation is a one-on-one, very personal one-time interaction with Jesus. Jesus draws us to Himself in salvation by working personally with every soul, through every “hang-up” and barrier to salvation. We all come to God through the shed blood of Christ but each person is met personally where they are in their own life.

    The public reaction to an individual’s righteousness is just as personal. As we trust Him and follow His guidance through the life He has given us to live, we will each have our own audience to influence…who can say, (but God) how it will unfold. It is enough to know that we are safe in Him no matter how misunderstood or how well we are received in society.

  3. pegramsdell says:

    Thank you Mart for this post. I am encouraged. Sometimes I feel so all alone, then I read these scriptures and realize that I just can’t please everyone no matter how much I try. (Not that I should be a man pleaser, but to please God only) I know the bible says (as much as depends on you) try to live at peace with everyone. lol….knowing that we will not be able to do that. But we can try.

  4. SFDBWV says:

    Sorry, I don’t see any lingering questions, not at least from my perspective concerning this subject.

    Everyone is born with a propensity toward sin; a gift we are told from our ancestors Adam and Eve as well as how God created us, with free will.

    However there is a great inequality among mankind that will effect how any of us live.

    Throughout the history of mankind, I believe that there have been countless millions of peoples who lived a quiet life of honor and civility towards their neighbors, living out lives in direct concert with what God would see as the correct way for people to live; perhaps with one thing missing, a true relationship with the Creator.

    Equally there have been untold millions of people who would fit into what God might say live a life of sinful behavior.

    God stands in judgment of both. Not you or I.

    Jesus always told all He healed to go and sin no more, in fact all of His teaching directed people toward how to live, especially after encountering Him and His directives for life.

    Paul encountered Jesus in a most stunning way, yet it did not end there on the road to Damascus; Paul lived many years afterward and had to show how this encounter had changed Him as he presented Jesus to all.

    When we first accept Jesus into our beings our lives don’t stop there; we now have a *responsibility* to Him for the free gift of salvation.

    If you were a murderer before you accepted Jesus, do you continue to murder? If you were a whore before you accepted Jesus do you still practice prostitution? If you were thief before accepting Jesus do you still steal from others? If you practiced adultery before accepting Jesus do you still sleep with your neighbor’s wife/husband?

    If you are still the same person you were before your encounter with Jesus, then something is missing. That something being a new desire not the same old desires.

    That *new* desire comes from Jesus in you, and Jesus in you is directing you toward living life the way He intends for you to live…a righteous life not an unrighteous one.

    Please allow me to quote from a daily devotional I have; “We should strive to make His priorities our priorities—to so mold our thinking by the Word of God that we think as He does on every issue. Our lives should exhibit the purity and righteousness that He exhibited when on earth. While it is true that we will never fully achieve such perfection this side of heaven, we should be striving, i.e., *seeking* to do so by the power of His Spirit living in us.”

    I don’t see any thing confusing here, only the fact that some people want to judge others for striving to live for Jesus while they themselves envelope the cloak of hypocrisy, by condemning others for believing they are under judgment.

    Steve

  5. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart & Friends!

    You mention the spirit that is poor, Mart, one who never presumes upon the exalted character of God, always mindful of its need – need that grows with time and does not diminish. Jesus describes this disciple as having a place in his kingdom. Matthew 5:2-3

    The kingdom of Christ spreads around the poor in spirit, according to the writer of James. They always “bless the Lord and Father,” – but do not curse “those who are made in the likeness of God” – that is, their fellow human beings. James 3:9, 10 If there is tangle surrounding consistent behavior of this kind, it involves condemnation and evil talk about the poor in spirit. Jesus prayed to God that night he made himself a sacrifice, “I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world.” John 17:14

    Mart, you asked:
    “Or will such ‘righteous’ people be resented because, in the above mix (Galatians 5:22-23; James3:17-18), there will still be plenty of their own flesh and failure?”

    It seems to me “well-meaning Christians” would be resented for their own poor conduct and speech and condemnation of others. But, Jesus prayed for us: “Righteous Father, the world does not know you, but I know you; and these (disciples) know that you have sent me. I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.” John 17:25, 26 Jesus has promised he will always be with us, (Matthew 28:20) and surely we cannot live the life he has given us to live without him.

    Blessings,
    Maru

  6. Bill says:

    @Steve,

    Although I understand your point, I think you vastly oversimplified it — and missed a few key scriptures along the way. I’ve seen enough of your posts here to know you’re not a judgmental guy. You have a compassionate heart.

    Yet others, not so inclined, may believe what you wrote and be cold, judgmental, and condemning to others in the Family of God.

    Here’s what I mean. You wrote:

    “If you are still the same person you were before your encounter with Jesus, then something is missing. That something being a new desire not the same old desires.”

    Paul knew full well what it was like to be a complete and utter turd before his encounter on the Damascus Road. He was hardcore as a persecutor of the brethren. Yet, despite his dramatic conversion, he wrote this in Romans 7:

    “Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure. For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.

    “So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.” (Romans 7:13-25 ESV)

    So, when you wrote this…

    “If you were a murderer before you accepted Jesus, do you continue to murder? If you were a whore before you accepted Jesus do you still practice prostitution? If you were thief before accepting Jesus do you still steal from others? If you practiced adultery before accepting Jesus do you still sleep with your neighbor’s wife/husband?”

    …I believe the answer CAN be “maybe”…or even “yes” to every one of those questions.

    That doesn’t mean you aren’t aware that it’s sin. (You probably did before accepting Jesus into your heart). But it means, like Paul, you are predisposed to doing things a certain way. You wrestle mightily against the flesh: “… but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.”

    This is the point I tried to make (that kingdomkid7 made for me in fewer words) in my post the other day.

    When we attach to terms, definitions, words, theologies, it’s possible to miss the fact that we’re all human beings, just as prone to sin as human beings always are. By attaching to words and definitions, we fail to see the frailty of humanity always lurking beneath the surface.

    Or, to put it another way, I can tell you right now that I am not sinless. It’s been 30-some years since I opened the door of my heart to Jesus’ knock. But in those three decades, I’m pretty darn sure I’ve committed sins large and small. Does that mean I’m not saved? Only if it means Paul wasn’t saved, either.

    Of all of Jesus’ followers, Paul always seemed the most human to me. I believe his hard-a** personality as one who sought out and cracked down on believers was still intact after his conversion. He didn’t persecute believers any more. But his epistles are just as full of “hardness” and absolute statements as I’m sure his life was before the Damascus Road — with one major exception: Romans 7 and his grief over retaining sin (or, at least, sinful desires) in his own life.

    I believe Paul was so hard on the believers after his conversion (in his epistles telling them how they should be living their lives) because he was so hard on himself, both before and after his conversion. I don’t get warm-and-fuzzy feelings from reading Paul. I feel like I’m reading the directions of a taskmaster.

    This gets to what I think is the heart of Mart’s post today.

    We are all sinners at heart. And, sometimes, sinners in deed. Even after we became Christians. Yet, we seem to delight in pointing our fingers at others, holding them up to a standard that we, ourselves, cannot meet. I’ve seen Christians make the lives of fellow believers miserable because of their judgment and criticism. In short, Christians often add weight to the burdens fellow believers already carry.

    Mart wrote:

    – If the answer to such a mix of “tangled questions” includes a recall of what Jesus said about being concerned “if all speak well of us” (Luke 6:26), then does this net out to making it our goal to work at loving all, doing good, condemning no one, while still being willing to make enemies, and draw unfriendly fire along the way–sometimes because of our own foolishness–and sometimes (in the best case) because we are lovingly throwing light on the foolishness of others? –

    The answer to Mart’s questions is YES! YES! YES! YES!

    I believe it’s our job to shut our mouths and open our arms. ACT before speaking. To EMBRACE and LOVE before condemning. WELCOME all. Turn away NONE.

    There is none so superior as a Christian on a mission to make the world holy.

    God declares me “righteous” in SPITE OF the fact that I sin in word and deed. Why? Because Jesus paid the penalty for my sin, once for all.

    Therefore, what right do I have to condemn others, add to their burdens, hold them to impossibly high standards that I am unable to keep myself? How utterly hypocritical and blind I would be!

    I cannot speak for anyone else here. But I can tell you right now that my path is one of loving, accepting, embracing, and not judging others. I would rather err on the side of being too accepting and too loving than not accepting and loving enough.

    People suffer enough in life. They are weighed down by everything, at every turn. They worry. They fear. They doubt. They struggle. They cry. “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation,” said Thoreau. I believe that.

    So my job is to try to help others drop their burdens, to smile, to feel less sadness and worry. I cannot do that if I am pointing my fingers at them — especially fellow believers! — too tell them where, when, how, and why they’re sinning.

    I apologize for the length of this post. And I ask your forgiveness if I’ve offended anyone. That was not my intention. I’m merely speaking from my heart about what I believe is important — to me. Your mileage may vary.

    Love,

    Bill

  7. dja says:

    Amen, Bill!

    Couldn’t help but think of the verses in James: “Speak and act like those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!” James 2:12&13

    A beautiful sunny cold day in NEPA.

    ~Della

  8. oneg2dblu says:

    Bill… first of all, I am very pleased you have posted here my brother in Christ.
    I don’t think you let any stone go unearthed within you. Thanks for your lack of brevity.
    Allow me to exercise the same…
    Perhaps you should feel now that you should have sat peacefully quiet, not ever judging Steve’s words or confession, but just absorbing it for its message, because it must contain his conviction as well.
    I feel if God gave you a mouth to speak you should by all means speak with it, so
    here is my take for what it is worth.
    Everyone who comes to the Lord is also given a purpose that fits well within His Fathers Will.
    Paul did not go on persecuting Christians as he did prior to his conversion, something changed.
    If we read about his conversion, we will see something very noticeable that happened to his world, and the rest of the world noticed also. Thank God!
    Had he been called to sit quietly in a corner with his mouth held tight never offending anyone? I think not, as he was helping change the world around him by listening to his calling and acting upon it. Thank God!
    Perhaps some of us have different callings.
    Aren’t we glad we did not have the same calling as him, or do we?
    Was he as perfect as God himself? Of course not, but he was called by a perfect God.
    Did he strive every waking moment to stay in the will of God? Yes, but also failed.
    Did he call sin, a Sin? Absolutely!
    At every turn he did not shy away from his calling, being politically correct and making the world his friend.
    He followed as best he could, and worshipped as best he could, and taught as best he could.
    Paul exemplified as best he could, that you will either serve the mission, or serve yourself.
    You will either live by the Spirit or live by the flesh.
    You will either love sin, or hate it.
    You will not sit by and let sin have its way in you, unless you first give it over to the spirit in you, as being the weaker motivating force of the two.
    As I remember, Paul had mentioned going as far as beating his own body into submission. Not to mention all the beatings the world gave him.
    So, your point of sinning just like nothing has changed after salvation is not very biblical, or inline according to the teaching of Christ, or what Paul taught either.
    Please know this my brother, this is not written to contest your post, but just to explain the voice that God has given in me, and what it must now say, if it is to stay true to the mission, the calling, the purpose, the way.
    If we were all called to be silent…we would probably not be here.
    Just a thought, Gary

  9. kingdomkid7 says:

    I see two questions in Mart’s second paragraph. My answer to them both is “maybe, maybe not.”

    I see two questions in the final paragraph. My answer to them is “yes,” to the first and “probably not” to the second.

    Off to school. Love to all!!

  10. poohpity says:

    There is no sin that is easier to spot than sin we see in others and there is no righteousness that is easier to claim than what we see in ourselves. Both seem to be indicators of spiritual poverty.

    The spiritually rich seems to be those who recognize their need and pursue God with the same intensity that He pursued us. Not by how much of God we have but how much God has of us. The questions are not so tangled when it is God who is elevated in one’s life rather than self.

    ODB today had a wonderful prayer, “Lord, You are so awesome and great. But sometimes in ignorance and arrogance I attempt to take Your place.
    I humbly submit my life to You anew and acknowledge
    that all glory and praise belongs to You. Amen.

  11. oneg2dblu says:

    I know we can all pick our verses all day long to support our position found in Christ, but should we?
    Yes, yes, yes!
    Paul also wrote Galatians 2:17.

    If I’m striving to hit the mark for the acceptance of others mostly taught by the societal pressures of today, I may miss something much more valuable than being politically correct, in the well followed here and now.
    But if I strive to aim at Heaven giving up all popular things to remain in His Will, then I get the lesser things of earth thrown in as well like living righteously.
    I will not hunger and thirst for the things of earth, or the approval of man above the things of God, if I remain in the Will of God.
    Because the bible says, a divided house will not stand when the storms of life come it will fall, and surely one can not serve to masters, he must serve one and deny the other.
    James 4:1,2,3 NLT is quite interesting to ponder.
    We should also attend to theses verses, James 5:19,20 NLT to see there two sides to every conviction, so which we follow and really believe is for us, is probably the one we choose to. :0
    But, I may be wrong in my thinking here and in need of correction, because I am prone to being as pride filled as any, if properly attending to all my humanity.
    So, I’ll leave that for you all to judge.
    But, I also believe what I’ve been reading about the tongue lately,James 3:1,2 NLT
    Help us Lord!
    Gary

  12. oneg2dblu says:

    pooh… I still do not get it, my first reference had no translation mentioned. In the others there is no comma use prior, and no period after. LOL
    Any other suggestions?
    Gary

  13. poohpity says:

    The comma after the verse is what causes the break I think. James 3:1 NLT, James 3:2 NLT or James 3:1-2 NLT
    James 4:1-3 NLT or James 4:1 NLT, James 4:2 NLT etc. Hope that helps.

  14. poohpity says:

    We need to be in prayer for the victims and their families in CT over this horrible crime.

  15. remarutho says:

    Yes, Pooh —

    Heartbreaking. We had a mall-shooting over our way this week. Praying for mercy and comfort for the families of all concerned — and for the community surrounding them.

    Blessings,
    Maru

  16. BruceC says:

    I read hear more than I post because dial-up is not a pleasant experience, I may not have time, and becasue I guess I am just not a blogger at heart.
    But sometimes I often wonder if we dissect the frog so much that in the end we can’t recognize the frog?

    BruceC
    Soli Deo Gloria!

  17. poohpity says:

    Or through the dissection we learn to appreciate all the frog clearly reveals and then we can appreciate more fully the inner workings of God’s ultimate design. So I guess it is all up to what is in a person heart before they dissect, if it is to destroy and mutilate or to understand and love more thoroughly.

  18. bec4jc says:

    BruceC, again you took the words right out of my mouth. Sorry, Mart, I know that’s what this blog is all about. I enjoy reading your pamphlet that comes with the ODB daily devotionals each month and I find myself sometimes asking myself questions and wondering who else maybe thinking the samethings as me but, usually I go on with my normal exercises when it comes to devos unless I want to take time to look up scriptures to see if my idea(s) on the subject have any weight to them. I’m not much of a blogger I guess(more of a reader,too, BruceC). I believe if one thinks too much on any particular subject that before you know it one cannot decipher it any longer. On the light side, my brother tells me not to think because that’s when I make mistakes,LOL. Everytime I say to him that I got to think about it he says “oh no,don’t think about it!” I hope he’s just joking with me,I do believe he is,LOL. Sometimes like know I do have something to contribute and it’s usually not too deep. Take care everyone and God bless you and your’s. :o)

  19. SFDBWV says:

    All of the prophets condemned Israel for its sins. Begging and urging them to cease from sin, warning them of the impending punishment God was going to exact upon their disobedience.

    Were the prophets cold and unfeeling toward their brothers and sisters?

    No they obeyed the voice of God and withheld nothing.

    Today’s world wide community is rife with evil and sad to say the churches filled with the blind being led by the blind.

    The subject on the table is *righteousness* whether anyone is *righteous*, why God considers some to be righteous and others not, and the hypocrisy of one who considers themselves righteous gloating over one who recognizes their sin in themselves and is remorseful for it.

    I am not certain where the adage originated, but my dad was fond of saying “I see said the blind man to the deaf mute.” A reference to understanding something said or explained.

    Here is what I have been saying and will continue to say along this subject.

    We all are to seek living a righteous life.

    We all will fail in perfection, but that failure does not exempt us from continuing to strive toward righteousness.

    While we seek living a holy life, we understand we still sin and are prone to making mistakes, but we do not continue in the same attitude of living as we did before becoming joined with Christ,

    We are not to look down upon another sinner, but rather pity them and seek ways to help them up out of their situation.

    Punishment came to Israel for its disobedience. Sin always has its consequence.

    If we come to Christ and not transformed into a new creature with a new desire then we are not born again, only have an intellectual understanding of and miss the full Gospel message.

    If that offends you I am sorry, but I will not sugar coat the truth. If you think continuing in sin by decision pleases God you are mistaken as the Scripture warns us of such an attitude and its consequences.

    You are right Bruce too much talking of the same subject is just that *too much* and the initial question is lost in misunderstandings and rhetoric.

    Steve

  20. saled says:

    Steve, I think the key to this discussion might be contained in your third-to-last paragraph this morning where you say, “If we come to Christ and are not transformed into a new creature with a new desire then we are not born again, . . .”.

    From reading your posts here over the years, I have often envied you because you are obviously a man who has been a blessing to your family and community. When I read of your honor and respect for your mother-in-law, I feel a deep sorrow for the way I treated MY mother-in-law, and I have a deep desire to show the kindness that you obviously do. But she is gone. The desire, however, is there within me. I think this might be hungering and thirsting for righteousness.

    I find such hope in the example of the pharisee and the man who knew he was a sinner. I feel such conviction and sorrow over my failures, and I would love to be a blessing to my family and community, but there is not much of that to see in my life. I take hope from the desire to be a new creature, and trust Jesus to accomplish that in his timing.

  21. bullwinkle says:

    I would like to begin by thanking each of you for your thoughtful expression and deep conviction on this very complex subject. What we have is truly a paradox, both Bill ,with his thoughts of extending grace, and Steve/Gary, living to please God, are correct. We are simply not wise enough to understand. Praise God that He is!
    I intend to use the past few of Mart’s posts along with your comments to “teach” on the idea of the Christian life. I have been working through both topics, grace and righteousness, with the youth group at our church. Please pray for me as I attempt to wade through these topics.
    My heart is heavy for the people in Connecticut. It is beyond our ability to understand. All I can say is come quickly Lord Jesus.
    Pete

  22. tracey5tgbtg says:

    Lyrics from my favorite Christmas carol, O Holy Night say:
    “Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother”

    Those words remind me that the lost are chained by sin, they aren’t enjoying it. The lost are slaves to sin. A slave cannot walk away on his own. He must be set free. That is the definition of a slave. He is owned by someone else.

    I don’t understand why some feel those caught up in sin should be condemned, especially, for instance, prostitution. No one, male or female, embraces prostitution for the fun of it. My heart breaks for those who are trapped in a life of prostitution. By whatever means they end up in that situation, you can rest assured it was a tragic path. They long to be set free from the life they are in but have probably been brought so low that they cannot even hope for more on their own.

    In fact, I believe that all “sins” that people commit bring pain and anguish and torment and those who are caught up in them thirst for relief from their “chains.”

    Paul’s conversion was not from a life of “sin.” In fact, wasn’t Paul a legalistic, righteous Pharisee? In regards to the law, faultless? The reason he was stoning Christians was because that was part of the law he followed, that any who blasphemed the Lord God must be stoned. Jesus claimed to be God and to the Jews, that was blasphemy.

    Bill quoted Romans 7:13-25. That is one of passages in the Bible most dear to my heart and why I am so glad that Paul’s words made it into Scripture. Simply, what I hear Paul say is that we must be holy but we can’t,
    but we MUST, but we CAN’T…
    BUT WE MUST! BUT WE CAN’T!
    Only through Jesus is this unbreakable circle finally broken. Jesus sets us free from our bodies of death.

    I also agree Bill, that Paul was still the same hard-headed zealot after his conversion that he was before he met Jesus Christ. He just focused his zealousness on Jesus Christ instead of on his ability to follow the law. Not that he could now break the law, but now he followed the only One who completely fulfilled the law.

    Mart – I just had to comment on the phrase “lovingly throwing light on the foolishness of others.” I’m pretty sure that’s what everyone thinks they are doing. No one thinks they are condemning anyone. Mea culpa.

  23. poohpity says:

    At times it seems an author will continue to bring something up until his meaning is understood. Rather than answering with rhetoric which is easier to throw out there than a deep understanding of the truth being taught.

    It turns to more than words or a topic when it causes self reflection and a closer relationship with the one we claim to know so well. Claim righteousness but ask the community around you, if they will be honest, do they see that in you? Ask the people we call names, lack forgiveness, hate, those we can’t stand to be around, the enemies we shun, the one’s we have a grudge against, those that are shown disrespect, putting down a blog author on his own blog. Then tell me we have talked about a topic to long and I will show you misunderstanding and lack of personal discernment or awareness. Talk about rhetoric!! I lost the sugar coating too, Steve!!

  24. narrowpathseeker says:

    Good Morning All. As usual there are some very profound and heartfelt messages here this morning along a few of those that tend to bring out the massive flesh in me. I have refrained from visiting or posting much here for a time in order to avoid the temptation to write things that would not in my opinion be Christlike. This morning I felt the need to confess my UN righteousness and ask for prayer from the righteous.

    I have a very difficult time feeling RIGHTEOUS but for those few collective hours a day ensuing prayers of confession, requests of forgiveness, thanksgiving, and praying for others including enemies. I was recently re-united with yet another childhood friend that loves the Lord. She prayed for me and my ex and almost instantly the recurrent contempt I have battled for him was gone and it has STAYED gone!! I couldn’t help but think of James 5:16 The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. (writing in WP and it “corrects” the “eth” on avail) Although that was a big chunk of my “unrighteousness” removed from me, there is still much left to hinder any lasting feeling of righteousness.

    I am still plagued with contempt for professing Christians that seem to me to be more characteristic of satan than of Jesus even on occasion when they do or say something that appears Christlike. Moreover, it has been mind boggling to me when it seems that I am the only one that sees this as other Christians tend to hold such as these in high regard. Inasmuch as I can’t find any scripture that shows that the disciples had any indication that Judas was not all he pretended to be and that Jesus called him FRIEND when he gave him the kiss of betrayal. .. Mathew 26:50 . I just can’t see myself as anywhere near RIGHTEOUS. I really need to call my righteous friend about this matter and ask for more prayer and request the same from the righteous here. Thank you.

  25. narrowpathseeker says:

    Matthew 26:50

  26. narrowpathseeker says:

    Steve, I just want you to know that I have always found your posts that I have read very inspiring, encouraging, informative, honest, loving, caring, respectful ….even on the very rare occasion that I may disagree with your view.

    Pooh, do you think your message at 9:15 am might be somewhat offensive and antagonistic?

  27. Bill says:

    I’d like to add a big “Amen!” to your comments, narrow. I have always enjoyed Steve’s posts. He writes clearly and genuinely. I learn much from him. And you. And many others here.

    I can’t comment on pooh’s post of 9:15 because I don’t know to whom she’s talking or what point she is trying to make. Did someone criticize Mart on his own blog?

    As others have pointed out, there is likely no right way to view this topic, the word “righteousness,” or the comments made thus far.

    Tracy5’s comments were wonderfully humble and insightful, capturing the tension between the spirit and the flesh that Paul struggled with…and many struggle with today.

    Bullwinkle nailed it: the issue is not me being right or Steve and Gary being right. Both are right. The Christian life is a deeper mystery, not as easily understood, as we may think.

    As always, I enjoy the many perspectives, personalities, and writing styles in Mart’s blog. Each topic encourages rich discussion and potential to learn.

    Thank you! to everyone for sharing your thoughts and feelings.

    Love,

    Bill

  28. oneg2dblu says:

    Good day all… I see many things expressed here from never getting enough, to saying enough already. Some wanting to dissect further, and others having had their fill. All true expressions of our feelingsvjustified, and our frail humanity exposed.
    I’ve been on every side of these feelings as well, from taking a time out so as to find why I think as I do, to surrendering to others just to stop the back and forth.
    But holding Mart as the guilty one, to some how be controlling our vast and vexed feelings is rather a push at best for most of us.
    We are so blessed to be here and be allowed to participate, and for that, we owe Mart our deepest respect and admiration.
    Mart has a gift for opening us up to thoughts we love having and for some we wish we never had, all growing us in ways that not being here would not bring about.
    For his ever challenging us, for sharing with us, and for being the loving steward for the Lord that he is.
    We will never solve the elements of tension created by following Christ in this fallen world, or in trying to understand fully the things of God that God hss made a mystery for the here and now, but we certainly can do a better job of explaining ourselves as we venture here with our thoughts as expressed, and otherrs making their comments as well.
    I feel blessed to be in the mix, the mess, and the opportunity to work it out, each in our own way.
    typos andf all… Gary

  29. kingdomkid7 says:

    Me too. Amen, Gary!!

  30. narrowpathseeker says:

    Maybe I am slow, but I took the time to read the posts over again and I didn’t find anything that even resembled blaming Mart for anything. It seems to me that it was merely “implied” in a subtle somewhat accusatory manner and assumed to be referring to Mart. So goes the baiting and the trouble begins.. people leave and the baiter stays. My flesh wants to write more on this, but my spirit is telling me to sign off for another spell.

  31. poohpity says:

    narrow, I was addressing what Mart wrote, “Will such “righteous” persons (even if they never throw around the word “righteous”) tend to be affirmed by their community because are now enabled to increasingly reflect the spirit of Christ “against which there is no law” (Gal 5:22-23); and the kind of wisdom that is non-controlling and peace-loving in intent (James 3:17-18)?” If any of us ever boast of how righteous or spirit filled we are then do the things I listed in that 9:15am post which did not exclude myself then we have not done a very good job of self reflection because we all have our flesh and failures that come out. If we make allowances for others then we have gotten hold and understanding that it is Christs’ righteousness and grace we are covered in and the boasting will be less hopefully but only boasting in the amount of grace we have each received.

    I will answer your question about my post being somewhat offensive and antagonistic, if you answer my question, Do you feel that your contempt for professing Christians is benefiting you or your relationship with the Lord?

  32. Bill says:

    @pooh, your last paragraph was totally out of line. You owe narrow an apology.

  33. poohpity says:

    Bill, anger, malice or contempt just harms the person holding it. You have to remember I come from a counseling background and know the damage that that can cause. If she were to take it to the person or persons that she feels that way towards and finds some resolution then it would not cause her any harm. So how do I owe an apology for showing concern and in which way was it out of line?

    Who is the one out of line?

  34. Bill says:

    There’s no way to misinterpret this paragraph, pooh:

    “I will answer your question about my post being somewhat offensive and antagonistic, if you answer my question, Do you feel that your contempt for professing Christians is benefiting you or your relationship with the Lord?”

    You were not “showing concern.” You were being sarcastic, disrespectful, and contentious.

    You owe narrow an apology.

  35. poohpity says:

    Just because you may think that way does not mean others do, Bill. Anger, contempt, hatred and malice cause depression, heart attacks, intestinal and stomach problems to name a few but more important than anything it causes a separation between the person and God. A heart filled with contempt can not be filled with joy, it is like mixing oil with water.

    I do a lot of things that may not be pleasing to God but lying is not high up on the list.

  36. kingdomkid7 says:

    Pooh, please hear what others are saying. Narrow asked about the tone of your 9:15 post. She was expressing something that I was also wondering about. Your response to her really did not show “concern,” even if you intended for it to do so. The words you used communicated what Bill suggests: sarcasm — at a minimum. So he said you should apologize to narrow. I think that was a reasonable request of you. I am going to go out on a limb and ask whether your counseling background may have gotten in the way a bit this time? Sometimes our strengths can give us blind spots. It doesn’t mean you are lying to be told that your communication did not express things as nicely as you might have thought. We are all guilty of that sometimes. Don’t you think?

  37. Bill says:

    @pooh, there is sometimes a disconnect between how you see yourself, and how you come across here on Mart’s blog.

    You wrote, “A heart filled with contempt can not be filled with joy, it is like mixing oil with water.”

    While that may be true, it doesn’t address the situation. No one is saying your heart is full of contempt. Nor does anyone expect it to be full of joy. You are no better or worse than the rest of us. You’re a human being, saved by grace, through no merit of your own.

    Please note that I am not the only one who notices the disparity, pooh.

    It has been mentioned before. I’ve experienced it before.

    Today, narrow noticed it. Instead of addressing what narrow wrote, you went on the defensive and became sarcastic and contentious. I saw it and asked you to apologize to narrow. Now kingdomkid7 has added her voice to the mix.

    That makes three.

    Nobody here doubts your salvation. Or your devotion to God. Or your knowledge of the Bible. All we ask is that you spend less time being sarcastic and contentious with us, and more time sharing your compassionate heart with us.

    You were out of line today. You owe narrow an apology.

  38. narrowpathseeker says:

    I have no problem answering that question Pooh. No, I do not think that contempt for ANYONE benefits my relationship with the Lord. That is why I was confessing that matter and asking for prayer from those I believe to be more righteous than me. However, I DO think that by confessing it, asking for forgiveness and trying to rise above it is more pleasing to Him than if I denied it. I am painfully aware of what angers me and while I’m praying and working at rising above it, I try to avoid things that anger me. Yes, I’m sorry but since I have been coming here you are the only one that tends to ignite my anger, because it seems to me that you go out of your way to anger and hurt people with insults sometimes subtle and sometimes quite blatant. Is that not anger and contempt regardless if it is denied? It also seems to me that your perception of right or wrong is dependent on whether you are doing it or someone else is doing it. I mentioned in that same message that the disciples never seemed to be aware of Judas’ mal behavior and that Jesus called him friend, when he gave Him the kiss of betrayal and THAT is why I am well aware of my UNRIGHTEOUS or self righteous anger and asked for prayer. You are very scripture knowledgeable and from what you have shared, you’ve have had a very troubled life and I am sorry about that. I just wish you would stop inciting discord.

  39. narrowpathseeker says:

    Bill and Kingdomkid7, I’m sorry to have added to the discord. Thank you both for your concern,understanding, and defense. At my age and mileage I should be a lot closer to where I should be than I am. Again, I am truly sorry.

  40. Mart De Haan says:

    Am writing a new post for this morning without wanting to ignore or end the honest conversation that is happening here. There can be great value in working through misunderstanding and/or differences of perspective on real or perceived hurts. Thanks for your honesty and patience in dealing with the way relationships work in, and away from, a blog like this.

  41. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart & Friends —

    Whatever my unfortunate part in this conversation, I appreciate each one who has simply stated their opinion here, putting themselves forward with trust in a fair reading. It appears that only when Jesus is shining in our hearts and minds, do we avoid the tangle of hasty assumptions about what a fellow blogger means.

    “Faith does more than hold our hand in darkness; it leads us into the light. It is the secret of coherence and harmony. It does not make experience merely bearable; it makes it luminous and instructive. It takes the separate or the tangled strands of human experience and weaves them into one strong cable of help and hope.” -Percy C. Ainsworth

    Blessings,
    Maru

  42. BruceC says:

    I will keep all my brothers and sisters here in prayer. That His peace, harmony, and fellowship will reign and forgiveness break through like a new morning.

    God Bless All,

    BruceC
    Soli Deo Gloria!

  43. poohpity says:

    narrow, kingdom and Bill, have all three of you had problems with me in the past that has caused tension? The reason I asked that is because when someone already has hard feelings towards someone no matter what they do it may seem the wrong thing.

    If you will reread the that 4:58pm comment you will find that I had already in fact answered narrow’s question in the first paragraph. In the past with narrow when I had harmed her whether intended or unintended I apologized only for her to tell me my apology was not heartfelt thus discounted my attempts to ask for forgiveness. I had no, I repeat no intention of causing harm this time and if I had that in my heart I would certainly apologize. I knew when she was making the comments about Christians and contempt she was referring to me in both the times she was showing her anger. If she is already feeling anger then no matter what I do it will be wrong and that goes for both of you too.

  44. poohpity says:

    A demanded apology will not be one that comes from the heart.

  45. poohpity says:

    FYI, I never consider myself better than anyone, anytime or anyplace. I know exactly who I am compared to Christ and it aint pretty but I also know who I am in Christ. I can not change your opinion of me and so I will not even try that is something that will have to be worked out in each of you. At this time I am your enemy so show how much of Christ you have in you and love me in spite of your opinion of me.

  46. Bill says:

    This is all very interesting, pooh. But it doesn’t address the issue at hand.

    You still owe narrow an apology.

  47. poohpity says:

    Bill, you owe the people on the blog an apology for causing such disruption by finger pointing, trying to control/dictate what goes on, telling people to stop posting, promoting anger/resentment rather than peace and leading people away from God’s Word by directing them to worldly philosophies.

  48. kingdomkid7 says:

    Pooh, I don’t see you as an enemy or someone with whom I have anger. Quite the contrary: I’ve seen you as a blog friend. That’s why I tried to help the communication trail. At this point, I will just say don’t hold on to past miscommunications you’ve had with anyone on this blog. Start fresh every day. You’re right, about Jesus telling us to love our enemies. So even if you think someone is your enemy, you need to love them, too. We should all just love each other. Forget any bad times!! Onward and upwards dear sister!!

  49. poohpity says:

    Quite the contrary I do not find anyone on here my enemy and I try to extend as much grace and mercy as I have received to others. If I feel anger I look at myself and see if what caused the anger is something that I have a problem with in my life. Normally I have found if something emotes such harsh feelings it may be an issue I have to work on without blaming it on someone else. I realize that there is much work the Lord has to do in me. It is so easy to see the sin in others while neglecting the sin in one’s own life.

  50. kingdomkid7 says:

    Pooh, I was only answering your question that you raised in your 9:30 post. Maybe I should have made it clearer.

  51. Bill says:

    Ahh, now we’re getting somewhere, pooh. :)

    On December 15, 2012 at 9:28 pm, you wrote:

    “…Anger, contempt, hatred and malice cause depression, heart attacks, intestinal and stomach problems to name a few but more important than anything it causes a separation between the person and God. A heart filled with contempt can not be filled with joy, it is like mixing oil with water.”

    On December 16, 2012 at 9:30 am, you wrote:

    “…when someone already has hard feelings towards someone no matter what they do it may seem the wrong thing.”

    Your earlier words stand in stark contrast to what you posted to me on December 16, 2012 at 10:49 am:

    “Bill, you owe the people on the blog an apology for causing such disruption by finger pointing, trying to control/dictate what goes on, telling people to stop posting, promoting anger/resentment rather than peace and leading people away from God’s Word by directing them to worldly philosophies.”

    Despite your assertions that you harbor no anger or ill-will or resentment toward anyone, your post this morning (at 10:49 am) seem chock-full of ill will toward me, a resentment that has been building inside of you for, apparently, quite awhile.

    That’s okay. I forgive you.

    However, if you have that kind of animosity toward me, isn’t it possible that you also harbor it toward narrow and that your words to narrow posted on December 15, 2012 at 4:58 pm –

    “I will answer your question about my post being somewhat offensive and antagonistic, if you answer my question, Do you feel that your contempt for professing Christians is benefiting you or your relationship with the Lord?”

    – reveal the state of your heart more than your words professing otherwise?

    It’s okay that you have animosity toward me. As I wrote, I forgive you.

    However, the fact remains that you still owe narrow an apology.

  52. narrowpathseeker says:

    Pooh many years ago when I was even more ignorant than now in regard to the working of the Holy Spirit I was in the mentality that merely attending church and knowing a few scriptures made me a “good guy”. One Sunday the sermon I heard revolved around, “He who says he loves God and hates his brother, is a liar” At the time I was FILLED with anger and bitterness, but didn’t see anything wrong with it as I it seemed justified considering my circumstances, because I still didn’t KNOW God. But, the words cut me…it bothered me all that day and into the night in the factory where I worked 3rd shift. The pastor didn’t call out my name and most likely didn’t even know how much anger I possessed, but I KNEW it was me. I believe it is called conviction. That night I prayed very honestly with God and the Holy Spirit came to me in a dirty old factory…I didn’t even know what was happening to me..I thought I was having a nervous breakdown..a Christian co worker told me months later when I told her what happened to me(the nervous breakdown version).

    The reason I am sharing this with you Pooh, is because you seem to “know” when people are referring to you when your name is not mentioned. How do you recognize yourself when your name is not put to the discription if the description doesn’t fit you? I have wonderful experiences with God when I am honest and remorseful with Him.

    Your post to Bill at 10:49am today was indicative of what ususally ignites my anger towards you. In your post at 12:14pm on the 14th, you wrote, “There is no sin that is easier to spot than sin we see in others and there is no righteousness that is easier to claim than what we see in ourselves. Both seem to be indicators of spiritual poverty.” All that you said to Bill is what I see in you as evidenced by what you write in your many posts. Bill is not like that as far as I have seen…you are. I am not trying to be cruel..My late sister who I loved dearly was very difficult and I never knew what made her so argumentative and sometimes cruel even though I knew how loving, generous, and sacrificial she was to me and others when it counted. I am just being very honest as you have claimed many times as what you want people to be with you.

    I don’t know what else to say…I have confessed my anger and stated the reasons. I do not want to be angry and I DO pray for you Pooh. As of this morning my anger is gone, and what you do with what has been shared with you of course is your choice. However, I think you most definitely owe Bill an apology. I hope you take time to think about this Pooh. Maybe there is something else going on with you..that is at the root of all of this.

  53. poohpity says:

    narrow, the only reason I am replying at this point is to let you know you are wrong in your suspicion of the 14th 12:14pm comment. After I read the topic before I read any other comments I write a comment on the topic. Then go back over and read what others have contributed.

  54. poohpity says:

    Years ago I read the comments after I read the topic and it would confuse me about what the point of the topic was about so I decided to do it the way I do it now.

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