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Interests vs Values

P1010655When I wrote about diplomacy and the art of peacekeeping in the last post, some thought I was suggesting that we negotiate or compromise on important truths. Admittedly, that would not be a good thought.

Unhealthy compromise should be a concern.

So let’s narrow our focus to the idea of interests vs. values, which according to the diplomat I was referring to, is at the heart of so much international conflict. What if we approach matters of personal interest and rights with a willingness to compromise?

Let’s say I have neighbors who believe Jesus was an evil man because of the conflict that he created among his own people and nation. Would I betray the truth, by being patient in listening to them, respecting them and their right to disagree with me, and even showing an honest interest in what they think and why?

PS. By the way, the dog in the picture above is named Buddy. The red sphere is a red ball. One of Buddy’s favorite past times is to chase that red ball. He loves to play.

 


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73 Responses to “Interests vs Values”

  1. SFDBWV says:

    Mart dear friend the Zealots tried to embroil Jesus in a political solution to their occupation by the Roman.

    He refused to be dragged into it and crucified because they still wanted a king to deliver them.

    Which is it you wish to discuss Mart politics or Christ?

    Steve

  2. bullwinkle says:

    Not always certain of the point that Mart is attempting to make but I believe that it boils down to this: 1 Pet 2:12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. There is no harm in being civil regardless of another views. We do not need to compromise our position while we engage with them.
    Pete

  3. refump says:

    Steve, you said in your last post on the last topic “Want to talk about diplomacy from a political view I am ready, want to discuss it as a means of presenting Christ I see no value in it nor do I agree with it.” how do rectify that with Paul’s statement “I become all things to all people that I might win some”? It seems to me that diplomacy in anything is simply displaying the fruits of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, kindness, etc. my understanding of Mart’s point is that these fruits are what our presentation of the gospel should be wrapped in. Not compromising our belief but finding a place to start with those who do not know Christ as their Lord & Savior.

  4. SFDBWV says:

    Refump all I could do now is repeat what I have already said.

    There is a vast difference between being polite and demonstrating the fruits of the Spirit and diplomacy.

    Behind a diplomats smile is a hidden agenda, most often they shake your hand, smile in you face and curse you behind your back. Attempting to outwit you in a game of chess and put you in a position of concession.

    Diplomacy is a subject for politics not for Christ.

    Steve

  5. BruceC says:

    I understand where you are coming from Mart. But would your scenario above end there or as Paul in Athens; would it lead to telling them the truth in a loving manner? Obviously that scenario above has a continuing give and take dialogue and would eventually lead to a door for you to share what the Word says. And at that point is where a division may occur. And we have to realize that God’s Truth and the values of this world will always be at odds. We “win” some of these and some not. Like Jesus and the rich young ruler as compared to Zacchaeuss(spelling?)

    BruceC
    Soli Deo Gloria!

  6. AmazedbyHis grace says:

    If you aren’t standing firm in the Lord before you approach any conflict, then your motives are not whole heartedly for Him and your purpose may be a waste of breath. What the Lord deems as sin tends to get swept under the false rugs of “that’s just their culture, they were born that way, it’s their right, etc.” Direction to the truth should be on our lips first. Realization that Jesus is alive right there with you and prayer is needed before you start. He is the way, the truth and the life, seek Him while He may be found, the road to heaven is narrow and few shall find it. We are in the process of being conformed to the likeness of Him who is holy. I believe it’s going to take complete disaster to get some Christians to this step. For better direction, use the free GPS. (God’s Personal Spirit.)
    Bill, I answered your great post in the Trust blog. Thanks.

  7. poohpity says:

    I do not think my values can be changed in anyway by listening to someone else with courtesy and respect. Actually it would be a demonstration of those values by looking to the interests of others and show that I care for them even though we disagree.

    I think a lot of problems come when someone is asked questions about why they think as they do, it then becomes a personal insult to some to question their authority. There is no humility in that especially because they think because I said so and how dare you question me. It then becomes an issue of pride. If one is sure of the values they hold they should be ready to give an account of why they believe as they do and present the facts to the questioner with no ill feelings.

    The value of loving others as we love ourselves lets hope they are just as willing to listen as to be heard and we then in turn show them how much we care by respectfully listening without the need to insult just because we do not think a like.

  8. poohpity says:

    I guess I must have missed how politics got involved in this discussion please clue me in. I must be missing the point again.

  9. billystan454 says:

    I believe that any form of predudice is completely wrong. Not being a good neighbor because of religious beliefs is predudice. Jesus repetedly tells to love our brothers as we love ourselves. The brothers that He is speaking about is anyone our path crosses, not just this one or that one. If we are to follow in Jesus’ steps not showing kindness to that neighbor would be exactly the opposite. Matthew 5:43-48 tells the whole story. And in Old Testament times God spoke to His people; “You shall not take vengence, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the Lord.

    What more needs to be said?

    The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines diplomacy like this, “the art and practice of conducting negotiations between nations.
    When I’m not on the same page as my neighbor and I’m using my Christianity as an excuse to avoid conact we are in effect making ourselves two seperate nations in total disagreement with each other. If that is our approach toward Christianity many Christians today may have never come to the foot of the cross. If I think I’m going to be at odds with someone Jesus tells us, “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not and you shall not be condemned.” If I am judging anyone it isn’t veery long before I say to myself “Who are you to judge? In the “colorful” life I’ve lived I have no reason or legitimate excuse to condemn that is where and when I believe that diplomacy comes into play.

    Really I am not in disagreement with Steve politics dose not belong on the same plate. It is more like putting liver and chocolate icecream and liver on the same plate.
    Billystan

  10. refump says:

    In some countries liver & chocolate ice cream is a delicacy!!!

  11. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart & Friends –

    Mart, you have indeed honed the question down to a specific case, which should be easier for all to approach as a point of discussion. You wrote:

    “Let’s say I have neighbors who believe Jesus was an evil man because of the conflict that he created among his own people and nation. Would I betray the truth, by being patient in listening to them, respecting them and their right to disagree with me, and even showing an honest interest in what they think and why?”

    You would not betray your faith, Mart, nor your devotion to the evangelical, apostolic calling in Christ, to listen to your neighbors. You would continue as a Christian neighbor to relate to them as an agent of Jesus’ kingdom. It might be, if you folks continue in your neighboring to associate and work together for various community values – perhaps education, parks, water treatment, energy issues – I know not what all the concerns of the town are;after a while, your neighbors will know at least one Christian who shows evidence of good, not evil – and cooperation, not conflict.

    This does bear upon international relations, because policy and practice hinge upon shared human values. These reduce to three or four (usually) high priorities for the quality of life of all peoples, no matter their religion, creed or ideology. We speak for our Lord by simply breathing air, consuming nourishment and living in community. People of good will love their children, care for their elderly – and seek a peaceful community in which to exercise their right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    Blessings,
    Maru

  12. fadingman says:

    When it comes to things we hold as true, it is never good to compromise our own beliefs. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t have a dialog with someone of an opposite view which is respectful, kind, gentle… even humble. (We need to allow the other person to speak what he believes without interruption, just like in the dialog between Job and his friends.) The compromise is not in truth or doctrine but in how we treat each other.

    Some truth must be defended (i.e. Jesus was not an evil man), while other truth is not worth defending (i.e. “Is God’s name pronounced ‘Jehovah’ or ‘Yahweh’ or what?) because the debate might distract from a more important truth.

    When defending truth against error, my goal is presenting the truth in a manner that doesn’t put any stumbling blocks in the way of the other person seriously considering what I have to say. My job is not to convince anyone of the truth – just to present the truth so the other person can think it out and see for himself. I find this way works best with me too when someone corrects my understanding.

  13. Bill says:

    @Steve, I can see that you take your commitment to Christ extremely seriously.

    However, I’m not sure Mart meant political compromise, or capitulation to Zealots, when he wrote:

    “Would I betray the truth, by being patient in listening to them, respecting them and their right to disagree with me, and even showing an honest interest in what they think and why?”

    It may be possible that you’re getting hung up on the potential political ramifications/connotations of the word “diplomat.” I tend to think of diplomats the way I do politicians — snake-oil salesmen. However, diplomacy can mean a positive thing if it is used to bring people together who may remain at odds if not for listening to one another more closely, seeking common ground, mutual interests, etc.

    I absolutely think Christians have mutual interests with all people — including atheists, Hindus, Wicca, Buddhists, agnostics, Catholics, etc. — that may unite us, for example when we our lives are threatened, when we need to help each other out of a jam, etc. We can listen to non-Christians from sun up to sun down and it won’t harm us a bit. We can even break bread with them, call them friends, give them birthday gifts — whatever.

    So I don’t consider “diplomacy” (or patience in listening, as Mart put it) to be caving in to Zealots or compromising Jesus in any way.

    I think Pooh nailed it when she wrote (March 8, 2013 at 11:14 am) this: “I do not think my values can be changed in anyway by listening to someone else with courtesy and respect. Actually it would be a demonstration of those values by looking to the interests of others and show that I care for them even though we disagree.”

    @fadingman, you posted something very profound at March 8, 2013 at 12:29 pm:

    “My job is not to convince anyone of the truth – just to present the truth so the other person can think it out and see for himself.”

    That’s brilliant.

  14. foreverblessed says:

    Last week I had a long talk with someone, about the church God, she had had it with the church, now has more with Budda. I was praying all the while, to give me words. I told her that it was Jesus who wanted to make is whole again, just a little no more then that. I am still praying for her. If anyone else has a prater for her too. 4 years ago she lost her husband by a medical mistake and he had his own business, so the trouble she is in now is huge stress. Her name is Veronique. We all know it is the Spirit that does it.
    We are ambassadors for Christ. But the Spirit must do the work.

  15. remarutho says:

    Thank you for your witness, Foreverblessed.

    The prayer, the restrained words, the actual immersion in Veronique’s unfortunate circumstances — all this is surely the Lord working through you.

    Offering the Lord Jesus — rather than talking down the Buddha — is wise and tender-hearted. Prayers going up over here that the blessed Holy Spirit will move into her hurting life through what you have offered.

    Blessings,
    Maru

  16. kingdomkid7 says:

    I have a few comments and one question. My comment is that I do not believe you would betray Jesus to listen to your neighbor, Mart, but you would betray Him if you agreed with the neighbor. I think your question is a very easy one, actually. To me, the harder questions come when your neighbor expresses doubt about a non-negotiable tenet of the BIble and then berates you for not agreeing. Or won’t let you speak at all. That seems to me more difficult. And even then, I think we are called to respond in love and with civility. But we betray Christ when we agree to falsehoods — and by that I mean things that are contrary to core teachings of the Bible.

    Now my question: Is Buddy’s love of playing with the red ball a value or an interest? ;-)

  17. saled says:

    billystan shared the definition of diplomacy-”the art and practice of conducting negotiations between nations.” And foreverblessed shared Paul’s term ‘Ambassadors for Christ’ from Corinthians. And these both made me think of the Kingdom of Heaven. Are we ambassadors from the Kingdom of Heaven sent to offer hope to the world?

    Steve said “behind a diplomat’s smile is a hidden agenda. . .”. As Christians, we sometimes act like this. Some of our good deeds are done with an agenda in mind. Our agenda is to change people to think like we do. Maybe as ambassadors for Christ we should live in a way that offers others hope and grace, and then as foreverblessed said, let the Spirit do the work.

  18. remarutho says:

    Good Evening All –

    The photo of Buddy is remarkable! Good question, Foreverblessed. I am pretty sure that Buddy is entirely authentic and 100% ready to play with the red ball.

    I like especially the rock border in the picture that is the same color as Buddy’s coat, and the play of those shapes with the shape of his body. Buddy has his eye on the red ball! He looks pretty serious about the pitch probably soon coming his way.

    There is truth in what is happening between the canine and the human in the picture. The dog wants to please his human — and the human wants to please his/her dog. There is no pretense — no hidden agenda — they are playing.

    Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Virtue is adherence in action to the nature of things.” Simply being what we are, children of God, communicates the important truth that love is the most powerful quality in the universe. Is the universe a loving place? We live out the answer in everything we do, according to our values.

    Blessings,
    Maru

  19. remarutho says:

    Apologies to Kingdomkid and Foreverblessed! I liked the question about what Buddy loves in your post of 7:38 pm, Kingdomkid. Maru

  20. Mart De Haan says:

    You all make thinking together so interesting. Together you are helping me deepen and flesh out my conviction that anything that is good in life or the Bible comes to fulness of meaning in Christ. All that is twisted or unhealthy finds its answer in his Cross… and in his resurrected presence to live his life in us, through us, and for us…for the good of others.

  21. SFDBWV says:

    One can go to American University there in Georgetown DC and learn the art of diplomacy and if looking for a job in the State Department perhaps one day become a diplomat and work for the likes of Hillary Clinton.

    When we accept Jesus of Nazareth to be the Son of God and place all of our hopes on Him we become both fully dependant on Him as well as *ambassadors* of good will *for* Him as well.

    I will learn then from the Holy Spirit and the Word of God as to how to present the Gospel to the world.

    At the day of Pentecost learned men of various nations were amazed at the oratory abilities of these ignorant men who presented the truth for all to hear, even in their own languages.

    As representatives of our faith we can never compromise the Gospel nor the Truth of Scripture nor our faith in presenting either.

    Being polite and showing common courtesy in listening to what others have to say is just that, a common courtesy practiced among civilized and even in some uncivilized societies.

    The only current religion that I see on the world scene that refuses to practice the courtesy of listening to what another has to say about religion is the religion of Islam.

    Our Christianity is not unique nor do we have a monopoly in both being polite or showing common courtesy, in fact from a religious point of view there are others that are much more docile and meek in their *politeness*.

    The art of diplomacy is to use the beliefs, tenets, habits, and culture of another in order to lure them into a sense of comfort even compatibility; so as to listen to what it is you have to say or offer.

    Compromise; what is it that we as Christians can compromise without being dishonest to ourselves to the person we are speaking with and especially to God?

    Is your faith in God so that you feel you need to revert to human tactics even deceitfulness in order to carry out His will?

    How can the seed of the Gospel be watered by any other nourishment other than the Truth?

    This human concept of diplomacy just has a dirty ring to it in my spirit when applied to trying to present the Good News of the Gospel.

    Nothing can replace honesty and truth, not the art of diplomacy nor the crafty manipulation of other peoples thinking.

    Steve

  22. BruceC says:

    foreverblessed,

    I will pray for Veronique. The death of a loved one can bring uncertainty and fear into ones life. Have no idea of the particulars and do not need to to pray for her.
    I pray that a solid foundation of Christ be built in her life to stand against the storms that life throws at us and that the Holy Spirit speak clearly to her so she does not get wrapped up in false religions to ease her pain. May our Lord reach in by His Spirit and touch her heart.

    BruceC
    Soli Deo Gloria!

  23. BruceC says:

    “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you”

    The “diplomacy” of this world does not fit that Scripture. It wants to lure as Steve said. To trap. To decieve. To pry things out for the good of only one viewpoint.
    On the other hand presently the Gospel to others in a loving, respectful, and kind manner is not diplomacy. It is presenting the truth for the glory of God and for the good of the other party and their eternal destiny.
    I think too many churches/sermons can become too “diplomatic” at times out of fear of offending either some who may be present or the present day “values” in our culture and those who adhere to them.
    Some are fearful of preaching about sin or hell etc., because it may turn people off. Granted if it is done in an angry way or at every opportunity many will go their way and not listen. We need the guidance of the Holy Spirit for balance in our walk and in our testimony before others. There may be times that the Lord would have us be like Jesus was when he dealt with the woman caught in adultery or we may called to respond as He did with the Pharisees at times.
    Prayer before any encounter is vital.

    BruceC
    Soli Deo Gloria!

  24. SFDBWV says:

    Thank you Bruce, you *get* it.

    Steve

  25. remarutho says:

    Good Morning All –

    Serving Christ is costly. Jesus told his disciples (us):”…when they deliver you up, do not become anxious about how or what you will speak; for it shall be given you in that hour what you are to speak. For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.” (Matthew 10:19, 20)

    I hope to remember that I am only a representative of the Ruler of the universe — I am not He. The motives of my enemies are in His hands, not mine.

    English Bulldogs, like Buddy, have a formidable bite-and-hold jaw apparatus. Yet, they make loyal and gentle family pets. Do not fear, you are of more value than many bull dogs!

    In the realm of international relations, much daylight work comes out of Georgetown University. Dark ops come out of Langley. Prayers going up that I “avoid offending others or hurting their feelings, especially in situations where this is important.” (Random House American College Dictionary)

    Blessings,
    Maru

  26. tracey5tgbtg says:

    Steve – I am having trouble understanding why “diplomacy” seems to be a bad thing in your eyes. Just curious.

    Bruce – Regarding your paragraph: “Some are fearful of preaching about sin or hell, etc., because it may turn people off. Granted if it is done in an angry way or at every opportunity many will go their way and not listen. We need the guidance of the Holy Spirit for balance in our walk and in our testimony before others. There may be times that the Lord would have us be like Jesus was when he dealt with the woman caught in adultery or we may called to respond as He did with the Pharisees at times.”

    I thought that was an excellent example of diplomacy (tact in dealing with people) and that your comments are often very diplomatic in that you seek to understand what people are trying to say and don’t say things that can cause hurt and misunderstanding.

  27. poohpity says:

    If it is in the best interest of many to confront teaching which is against what God had intended like what the Pharisees, Sadducee, agnostics, Pantheism, Buddhism, gnosticism and many other ism’s and one holds to the value of respect and dignity to all people then it is good to present one’s case against this kind of stuff as long as it is in done in a diplomatic way? What if no matter how graciously it is presented it will offend? Does that have to do with how it is delivered or how one receives it?

    I would venture to say that the values of most today whether in the Christian circles or not are more concerned with an increased interest in personal well being and much less interest in the welfare of others.

  28. remarutho says:

    Good Afternoon All –

    It seems to me, and I believe Scripture bears it out, that the Gospel, by its very nature turns the power structure of the material world upside down. (Isaiah 40:3-4)

    The Word of God alienates folks who take an entrenched stand against anything to do with God. This can’t be helped or changed. Adding personal insult to the working of the Holy Spirit is not productive. It is right to keep a civil tone with opponents of faith in Jesus, because the will of God overrides the personal power of the messenger. (Luke 6:16) It is true that John Baptist and Jesus himself accused the temple leaders who were corrupt. The Lord may bring each one here to such a time of confrontation. At that point, Pooh, no velvet glove can soften the hammer of God’s Word. That is where the power resides. I say, negotiate as long as you can. It is to the benefit of all, and peace is a heavenly value.

    Blessings,
    Maru

  29. remarutho says:

    Slip of the keyboard on the Luke reference: I mean Luke 3:16. Maru

  30. bubbles says:

    If we do not show we care, and do not listen restpectfully to the other person, they will not listen to us.

  31. BruceC says:

    bubbles,

    That’s true and why we need the Spirit’s guidance.

    remaruthu,

    You are right. That’s why the contrast is like a sword. It goes against all that the world is; and many times those that are in it.

    poohpity,

    Your last paragraph has been true since the fall of man and is more so today in the culture of this world.
    When our older and much bigger cat Tumtum is outside and wants get back inside we would not even know it most of the time were it not for our little indoor cat BooBoos. He stands by the door and with the cutest, most sorrowful little cry he tells us his buddy needs to come in. May we as the body of Christ stand at the door for those living in so much poverty, both physical and spiritual, and tell our sisters and brothers in Christ and the rest of the world that they need to come in too.

    BruceC
    Soli Deo Gloria!

  32. BruceC says:

    By the way. I did not name the cats. My dear wife did. Just the fact that I let you know is a “guy” thing.

    LOL!

    BruceC
    Soli Deo Gloria!

  33. SFDBWV says:

    Tracey, It is a fair question you’ve ask and I take no offense with it.

    Here in a discussion about Christ about Scripture, about God and about the delivery of the Gospel there can be no compromise.

    Diplomacy/compromise/deal making has no place in the Word of God. It is a worldly political act and needs to be discussed as such, not blended into our views of scripture.

    As I said to Mart way back in this discussion if he wants to talk about politics, fine, but the tools of diplomacy have no place in the study and discussion of Christianity.

    As for diplomacy in politics yes we definitely should keep talking rather than fighting. However it was not diplomacy that won the cold war with the Soviet Union it was a stronger USA.

    While the UN keeps talking Iran has developed nuclear weapons and while they keep talking North Korea intends on using the extended nuclear weapons technology given to them by Iran against American people.

    The League of Nations did not prevent war and the United Nations has not either.

    President Theodore Roosevelt’s “Big Stick” diplomacy was to “Speak softly but carry a big stick.”

    Our borders and our security as a nation is not made safe by diplomacy, but rather by strength.

    Steve

  34. Mart De Haan says:

    My reason for pressing this subject is that in some ways we are misunderstanding and talking past one another and in other ways we are not.

    Some of us are talking past and misunderstanding one another in the way we are using words like diplomacy and compromise, and by the way we are using political diplomacy by analogy.

    So let me see if I can express the point more clearly in ways that will build on our shared beliefs. I think many of you will agree that there are important ways in which God has chosen, for now, not to build or defend the Kingdom of Christ “with a big stick.” That is not to ignore the fact that the Bible foresees a day in which he will rule the world with a rod of iron. (the metaphor implies a far bigger stick than we can imagine). That will be a political action of the King of kings in ruling on evil.

    But for now, the New Testament describes what Christ temporarily gave up, left behind, and sacrificed in order to make enemies into children and friends. He became the Living Word. He left behind the full expression and radiance of his glory and the independent exercise of his power.

    Although Christ is the eternal source and ground of truth, he clothed himself in the body of an infant, growing into a young man and adult who looked like other Jewish men of his day. In the process the source of all wisdom took on a form that would enable him not only to communicate with foolish people like us, but that would enable him to bear our sin, and even be made sin for us.

    He likened it to making himself a servant to others, and urged his followers to do the same.

    The Scriptures make it clear by the way Jesus spoke by parables, metaphors, and questions that he didn’t say all the truth, and the whole truth all of the time– Even though he spoke nothing but the truth (for he spoke in a manner that was true to heart and mind of the Spirit and his Father), he seemed to be willing to begin with that part of the truth that others could relate to like water, a door, sheep, and the ways of his times and customs, in order to slowly and wisely bring people to the bigger picture of who he was–and what he had come to do for us.

    Therefore, by his example– in speaking to our neighbors, it seems that we would be wise just to start talking, communicating, in ways that people can understand that we are real, we care, and we have hope. We don’t need to be always preaching. But we need to keep talking about little things, common things, that will enable us to show (often by one step forward and a few backward) that we are on a road made by, for, and to the home of the King of kings who, for a while gave up everything to keep talking to us– to find give us a way to come at our pace– to his place.

    More words than I intended. But hope that helps you to see in what way I am using the principle of diplomacy not to model deceit, and cunning, and manipulative self-interest– but rather in a way that finds fulness of meaning in the great Peacemaker and Lord of all.

    I’ll plan in my next post to talk more about the way in which this great Peacemaker is a source of division.

    Thanks for reading this far and for being willing to talk through our disagreements and misunderstandings.

  35. remarutho says:

    Good Morning All –

    When we think about what Jesus left behind in order to lie down and become the Road to heaven for us humans, it is stunning that we could for one moment rise from an attitude of worship to contradict his call to “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19).

    After the proofs of his resurrection and his ascension to the Father, we are constantly about bringing his saving love to each one we meet. Paul affirms our role as disciples who interpret the Gospel in any and all contexts: “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” ((2 Corinthians 5:20)

    Blessings,
    Maru

  36. SFDBWV says:

    Very well put Mart, very well.

    I am sure we as of yet can’t truly understand just how much God gave up in order to become a man, and I am always reminded that in the vision of the Lamb of God given by John in Revelation He still has the wounds from the crucifixion at the time of His return.

    That is a long time in earth time to be wounded for us all.

    This is the concession God made as a way for Him to offer forgiveness to the children of Adam and Eve.

    Certainly as we present our Christ to any and all we can not beat it into them, it must be through example of what they can understand and relate to and in many ways be in contrast to what they have been exposed to.

    It would seem that God tried to beat submission into the nation of Israel and that that approach, in part, failed.

    God offers forgiveness and all it takes is to accept His Son as being the One true representative of God, place all future hope, believe and trust Him to deliver all He has promised. To invite Him into a union with you, in essence to surrender self to Him.

    His concession is to be like me pay the penalty for my sins, my concession is to surrender to Him and believe Him.

    The *diplomacy* here is an offer of forgiveness and reconciliation, provided by God. The terms are total surrender or judgment.

    My relationship with any other people anywhere should always be one of honesty, kindness, charity, mutual respect and forgiveness. However I also must be wary that not all people are going to reciprocate and so always be on guard and ready to know when to *walk away* before it gets ugly.

    And should it get *ugly* keep that *big stick* handy in whatever form God has provided it for me in.

    Steve

  37. Mart De Haan says:

    As always, thanks Steve, (and all) for hanging in there, and for doing so with a smile.

  38. tracey5tgbtg says:

    Steve, thanks for taking the time to answer my question and for not being offended. :)
    I agree that there is no compromising with the Word of God.

    Mart – I agree so much with what you said. Parts of your comment reminded me of a Bible study on Revelation that I participated in a while back.

    You said, “He likened it to making himself a servant to others, and urged his followers to do the same.” That, in a nutshell, is how I generally view Jesus and how I feel I am to obey Him. During the study on Revelation, however, I was struck by how Jesus is more than a humble servant. He is Lord of Lords and King of Kings. He will come again to rule in power and majesty. When He returns, when we see Him face to face, all wrongs will be made right. I can’t understand it or envision it, but I trust it will be so.

    I do think that while we are in the flesh, on this temporal earth, we follow Him by walking the path He walked on earth. Isaiah 53:7 Holding back our ego, submitting to the Father, reaching out to the lost and broken, serving, turning the other cheek…being in this world, but not of it. I don’t think this means not seeking justice for others, I think it means for ourselves.

    It’s not just politics that is corrupt, it is the media, business, everything. It is the natural inclination of this world and humanity to look out for ourselves, to be right, to be the best, to be treated fairly, to receive justice and to always want a little more than we already have. I believe God calls us to forget all that and to trust Him.

  39. poohpity says:

    The big stick we are given seems to be, thinking of others as better than yourself, washing feet, turning checks, being kind to those who harm us or we do not like, bearing with one another, forgiving, listening to those we do not agree with with care and concern, looking for the good in others, trusting and dependence on God. Things that are totally the opposite than the world.

    The world teaches that big stick is to get angry when we are embarrassed, return evil for evil, call names to belittle others, show malice for those who oppose us, controlling others by not listening to them, thinking we know it all. The list could go on.

  40. poohpity says:

    Are we not compromising God’s Word when we react to people rather than using that time to show the grace we have been shown to others in a diplomatic way. I guess if some feel like they were not that bad to begin with may not have that much grace to show. Look how Jesus treated those who crucified Him or how Paul treated those who beat him, jailed him, stoned him and rejected him. Their retaliation was forgiveness, mercy, kindness and love.

  41. foreverblessed says:

    Mart thanks for this extra information, yes, that is what Jesus wants us to do! Thanks, and this big stick, like Pooh says, that is turning the other cheek.
    Thank you so much for praying for Veronique! God bless you all, and may He bless others through you.

  42. Mart De Haan says:

    Yes, Deb, you raise a good point. Jesus has a way of turning what seems intuitive to us inside out and upside down.

  43. Mart De Haan says:

    Maru, I agree. When we think of what Jesus gave, his cross– in its truth, justice, mercy, and sacrifice– gives the power of his resurrection… and our resulting life and mission… the heart of God.

  44. poohpity says:

    Wouldn’t it be nice if like Buddy our gaze was fixed on that red ball but ours is on Christ. It seems my thoughts in regards to all people in general has changed since Christ has been in my life. People are such a valued possession of our Lord and He is interested in all their lives. He sees beyond what we see and teaches us to look at them from His perspective as valued. If we valued others as He does we would need no one to teach us to be kind, gentle, patient, loving and respectful it would just run through our being, if our gaze was fixed on Jesus.

  45. poohpity says:

    lol, it would be better to turn cheeks and not checks. Thanks forever, lol.

  46. SFDBWV says:

    Ok, for Mart’s sake let me explore his hypothetical scenario of having a neighbor who thinks Jesus was an evil man who brought trouble to His people; would I be in error or unfaithful to the *Truth* if I simply let them have their say and listened to them?

    Simple answer “no”.

    The question then remains would these same *hypothetical* neighbors then listen to me? If not, what then?

    If these same hypothetical people have been for generations taught to distrust my view, for it to even be forbidden by their own religion to listen to me; for my being there to jeopardize their safety as well as mine, what then?

    Jesus taught that if a town, or city refused to listen to us, for us to wipe the dust from our feet and move on.

    Whereas Jesus taught us to forgive as many times as ask to, does this same concept apply to being where you are not wanted and placing yourself and others in danger for doing so?

    It is here in this arena that Politics and religion merge.

    How can we support the small enclaves of Christians found in countries that hate the Jew and distrust the foreign Christian?

    Do we help or harm our brother Christians in these countries by our Politics? If so how do we have a political point of view, be Christian and keep from offending them?

    Is the answer to be politically neutral and not have views or opinions concerning the politics of their nation or our own?

    Is this possible?
    Steve

  47. Mart De Haan says:

    Steve, in the instructions to the disciples about “wiping the dust off their feet” the Lord also gave them miraculous authority and told them not to go to the gentiles… It was for a specific moment in time.

    Seems to me that, in our day, we need to factor in the way God has both spoken to and loved us– while urging us to do the same for those who need to see not just words, logic, and evidence, but that same kind of patient, sacrificial love in us.

  48. SFDBWV says:

    True Mart, but then just a little later Jesus told them to go into all nations and make disciples of all men, but never changed His position about “walking away” from those who will not listen to the *Good News*.

    Where is the point in time where His words are only meant for that specific time and not for all times?

    Steve

  49. SFDBWV says:

    Found in Acts 13:16, 47 Paul and Barnabas told the Jew it was necessary for them to preach *first* spoken to them, but since they rejected it they then turned to the Gentile as the Lord *commanded*.

    In Acts: 13: 50, 51, 52, the Jew persecuted Paul and Barnabas and *expelled* them from their coast, *but they shook the dust from their feet against them and were filled with Joy and the Holy Spirit.*

    Are you saying Mart this is only an example for 2000 years ago and not for today? Where is that found in Scripture?

    Steve

  50. SFDBWV says:

    Acts 13:50,51,52

  51. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart and Friends –

    Steve, the shearing action of the opposition of the synagogue leaders and the joy of the Gentiles (Acts 13:48-49) in Pisidian Antioch is the major theme of the chapter!

    The reason Paul and Barnabas have traveled so far is to share the Good News (Acts 13:30, 31, 32) with whosoever will believe. The church was established in that city by the God-fearing Gentiles.

    We may not discount the resurrection power of Christ among the Gentiles simply because they were not welcomed in the synagogue there. They started house-churches and their own synagogues as time passed.

    The entire Book of Acts tells the amazing story of the power of the blessed Holy Spirit in every place and time. That power is imparted to us by Jesus’ resurrection. Notice the miracle is contained in the few verses you do not quote.

    Blessings,
    Maru

  52. remarutho says:

    You did quote Acts 13:47, which reveals the wonderful purpose God fulfilled at Antioch — and soon afterward in Iconium. The apostles returned to all the cities they had preached in, including Antioch.

    God’s purpose will not be hindered.

    Maru

  53. SFDBWV says:

    Maru I am not in disagreement with anything you have said, and in fact have said nothing that may sound in opposition to it.

    The disagreement if any is in the statement Mart made that the wiping of the dust from ones feet was only for that specific time and not for now.

    I disagree and gave Scripture to affirm what I believe.

    Steve

  54. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Steve –

    Please explain, then, why Paul and Barnabas turned right around and returned to Antioch? (Acts 14:21, 22) The shaking off of dust from the place is a cultural expression of the 1st century Eastern context. To express their frustration with the stiff-necked synagogue leaders was not to give up on those who believed and rejoiced in the Good News. The Jews were not convinced — never would be. But, the church grew and faith in Jesus spread.

    Blessings,
    Maru

  55. poohpity says:

    As fadingman said, “My job is not to convince anyone of the truth – just to present the truth so the other person can think it out and see for himself.” If we present the truth and someone does not accept it that is when we walk away. I do not believe that means to kick dirt back in their faces for not believing as we do or putting them down, name calling or hatred.

    It seems that when we force anyone to do anything that is our own strength and we are not really trusting that is God who draws people to Himself.

    I think Mart was referring to not going to the gentiles at that specific moment in time not the wiping the dust off their feet.

  56. poohpity says:

    It was the converts who were filled with joy from the Holy Spirit in Acts 13:52 NLT

    When we share the Gospel carefully and sensitively it is not up to us whether they accept it but we treat the people as the Lord does with value and respect.

  57. remarutho says:

    Good Morning All –

    Mart, you wrote:
    “We don’t need to be always preaching. But we need to keep talking about little things, common things, that will enable us to show (often by one step forward and a few backward) that we are on a road made by, for, and to the home of the King of kings who, for a while gave up everything to keep talking to us– to find give us a way to come at our pace– to his place.”

    The Creator God keeps talking to us through Jesus Christ and the moving of the Spirit of Truth at all times. Low-key, friendship evangelism is persuasive over long periods of time. The stories of Acts are models for what occurred in Paul’s (and Peter’s) 30 year ministry in the Ancient Near East. The values we uphold in Christ are “Love the Lord and love your neighbor as yourself,” plus “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations…”

    He did/does/will not give up on us — on me — when I have eyes that cannot see and ears that cannot hear. As for the nations, we are even now pressing in with the Good News by the leading of the Holy Spirit.

    Blessings,
    Maru

  58. poohpity says:

    If anyone has ever presented the Gospel to a group of people all at the same time there are some who accept it and others who do not. To those who do we rejoice but to those who do not accept it at that time a seed has been planted and although we shake the dust off our feet at that time later who knows if they will not change their minds. If we treat them horribly for not believing they will never come back. If we treat Christianity as a click that you are only accepted and loved if you belong and all others are looked down on then it would be no different than any other group of people but our hearts and minds need to be open to all then we will show that Jesus did in fact die for all mankind and who are we to exclude anyone.

  59. SFDBWV says:

    Maru would you then agree with Mart that The Words of Jesus were only meant for that one time in history and not meant for us now?

    Jesus told the disciples to shake the dust from their feet and walk away when they rejected the Gospel. (Matthew 10:14) (Mark 6:11) (Luke 9:5)

    Paul and Barnabas did so and were filled with joy and the Holy Ghost. (Acts 13:51,52)

    Are you saying that these *acts* were only meant for 2,000 years ago and we are not to learn from them as examples?

    If so by what scripture do you know of that tells us which ones to accept for now and which ones to discard as being passé?

    Steve

  60. poohpity says:

    All those other groups in today’s terms are called “haters” if people do not act, think and be the way we determine as they should. If Jesus died while we were yet sinners think of how many people out there need to know that. The God of this universe wants them to know Him and what a horrible example of that we could be by disrespecting others who are made in His image by prejudices, hatred, malice, self righteousness, criticism and judgement.

  61. poohpity says:

    Steve I did not see how Mart said anything like that at all. Is it possible you may have misunderstood?

  62. remarutho says:

    Good Day Steve –

    Acts 13:51, 52 speaks of disciples. Those who believe in Jesus are disciples. That group grew exponentially as Paul and Barnabas traveled across the known world.

    Joy and the Holy Spirit were not reserved for our two heroes, but spread to all the Gentiles and Jews who believed in Jesus. The joy of the Lord remained with those who accepted the Good News in Lystra, Iconium and Antioch.

    Jesus sending the twelve two by two was a specific manifestation of Christ’s power (Mark 6:7). He sends you and me by his commission at the time of his ascension (Matthew 28:18, 19, 20; Mark 16:15, 16) And he gives you and me authority to resist the evil one in all his manifestations (James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8, 9).

    No location, group or ideology can effectively resist the will of God. If we are worn out in executing our commission and exercising our authority, others will come along to continue when we retire.

    Blessings,
    Maru

  63. SFDBWV says:

    Maru, have you been watching “The Bible” on the History Channel as well as on Lifetime TV?

    If so what do you think of it?

    I personally find it lacking a lot and in many cases extremely inaccurate, which is a little unsettling.

    I noticed last night they had Samuel’s son’s violating the temple rather than Eli’s, it shouldn’t bother me knowing that this is just a story and has a disclaimer for accuracy, but little things like that make me wince. However I am enjoying it.

    I just wondered if you have been watching and wondered what your thoughts may be.

    Steve

  64. remarutho says:

    Hey Steve –

    I have been serving pop corn and cold drinks to a half dozen folks on Sunday nights to watch The Bible. We wince and the spurting blood and the seriously deranged enemies of Israel — sinister Philistines and Jericho-ites. We have heard that the third segment is the most important/impressive. So, we take breaks during the (frequent) commercials and enjoy the fellowship.

    The angels are especially “super-hero” in character! Fashioned for a younger viewer, I imagine. I am guessing this will be a great ministry tool — but as you say, Samson was included in some detail, but Gideon was not…go figure. If the entire saga of the Bible were included, we would be watching forever – much editing was called for.

    I have always been saddened that in fact Samuel’s sons were corrupt (1 Samuel 8:1, 2, 3, 4). It is interesting that both Eli’s and Samuel’s sons could not take the bit in the service of Bethel, Gilgal, Mizpah and Ramah. But, Eli is not mentioned at all.

    Blessings,
    Maru

  65. Mart De Haan says:

    Repeated patterns, like we see in the sons of both Eli and Samuel show up so often in the Bible. Similarly, we have so many other examples that contrast with one another– like the examples and counsel “to shake off the dust of your feet” vs. examples of patiently enduring rejection while being ready to teach.

    When choosing a course of action, in light of opposite examples or counsel, it is often helpful to ask/pray “In these circumstance, what does love ask of us, now?”

  66. SFDBWV says:

    Thanks Maru, I also enjoy the show and yes it is a very good talking tool.

    Yes it would be very difficult to make a movie about the whole of the Bible.

    I have noticed that they projected the Lord (Jesus) as talking with Abraham. Am looking forward to the coming of Jesus and His story.

    Steve

  67. remarutho says:

    Yes, Steve, I also look forward to the Jesus Story. I am hoping all the choices the writers and producers of this mini-series have made will dove-tail in a winsome way for those who may be watching without any background or preparation.

    As Mart has pointed out before, both Samson’s and David’s low estimation of women will be left in the dusty past by Jesus’ respect and inclusion of women in his ministry. The series has a good start by depicting Rahab as a good and faithful person in Part 2.

    Best,
    Maru

  68. poohpity says:

    Genesis 18:1,2,3,4,5 the Lord did speak to Abraham.

    I am watching too. I find it way more accurate than older versions. Lots left out and a few things added to fill in some holes but how could one possibly make a show to last only 10 hours with all that is contained in the Bible. I have been reading so long and still find new stuff out very often it is like it grows, go figure.

  69. poohpity says:

    One thing that was not right with Rahab was the fact that the spies who went into Jericho through the front gate and she hid them on her roof. The movie showed it different. Roma Downey said she hopes that it will cause more people to read the Bible and that is my prayer and hope too!! When people put out movies from books they are never the same but for us we can say we read the book and it is way better than the movie. Hopefully it will open the eyes of many who watch how great our God truly is!!

  70. BruceC says:

    My wife and I have been watching it also and have enjoyed it. Although some parts may not be 100% accurate I will not throw out the baby with the bath water because of the very high amount of viewers tuning in to it. I pray that the Lord use this show mightily to get people to think and open their hearts to another way…His way, and not the way of this world.
    We should be praying every time it airs.
    We also pre-ordered the DVD set. Who knows, maybe our youth minister can use it for outreach.

    Well, I finally have spell check working on IE 10 for the websites. Now I can pretend to be smart! LOL!

    BruceC
    Soli Deo Gloria!

  71. poohpity says:

    Bruce, Einstein failed math in school, ;-)

  72. bobbys says:

    I do not find a problem with hearing others give thier point of view. If your own faith is strong and you know the Bible and where to find things in it, you should have no problem. If, as some have said, that you may get backed into some kind of corner, then maybe you should spend some more time in bible studies. I am 70 years old and have logged a lot of hours of bible study but I still feel that I have just gotten started. We should never have a fear of any kind when talking about Jesus. Just a word or two from a old fellow.

  73. cplus0 says:

    The holy book of a major religion specifically admonishes its followers to use deception in word and deed in order to reach its goals of world domination. Praying for wisdom & discernment is in order as we “listen” to those who do not share our faith. At the same time, I am always amazed by those who think “listening” and “learning” to/from those we disagree with is somehow compromising our own faith. Not if we stand firm in Christ’s truth!

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