Different in-difference

It’s not that people don’t care. They do.
It’s not that people don’t want to be involved. They do.
It’s just that people don’t want to help someone who doesn’t want the help. Or be disrespectful or an inconvenience – or perhaps even the other end of the scale; If others are already helping then why would I (need to) pitch in! Chat_Bubble_Huh.jpg

So instead of acting upon what can clearly be seen, like a friend or church member being ill, people regress into an indifferent state of mind; Telling themselves “She said she was fine. I must respect that, so I’ll leave her to her own devices, shrug my shoulders and tell myself “that’s what she wants”… Despite it being visibly crystal clear that the sick friend was not fine at all.

No, of course not all churches are like this!!…But sadly, many are!
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I truly believe that sometimes we need to love God enough to break the rules.
Now, before you slap my face… I mean the man-made rules, the courtesy rules, the “I don’t want to be a burden to anyone” rules…
Don’t you know?
Haven’t you heard? 
– We make Yahweh smile by loving Him – and putting a smile on the faces of our family in the unity of His body – in our faith. 
Jesus loves us – and enough to give away of… so pass it on, shall we? 

Illness and bad circumstances are no strangers to anyone I think… but I have seen several things lately that has thrown me off. One or two which I would actually have been willing to share but I would be breaking God’s rule of “don’t gossip” so I won’t.

What I do want to say about it is this:
When the people around you, friends and church family, do not take notice of your failing health or the expression in your eyes or if someone does take notice but do not ring the alarm bells to have help put into action, something is very wrong.
People take on the mindset of indifference.
I have a beef with that!
Love without action is wasted.
Prayers are great… but oftentimes within His body, more is needed.
When you can SEE that someone needs help – would you do more than pray for the person if you have the ability to help? 
In reality:
– Does a friend cross the line if they help you, without asking permission first?
– Is it inconvenient to have a meal hung on your doorknob?
– Is it a bother if someone would say “I’ll come by Saturday and mow your lawn!”?
I know we all have full plates; Our own family of course, a long to-do list, church responsibilities or we just can’t seem to get our act together… really? Are we all so caught up in ourselves that we can’t postpone or strike something from the list and go help someone? HELPING-HANDS-care.jpg
I’m not saying you as an individual should go all out and into the extreme to help others… well, actually that would be nice… but churches can make sign up sheets and you can write your name committing to help with gardening, bringing a meal or doing laundry…

If you really are indifferent, then you are lukewarm
and… well, Jesus was pretty clear about what He thinks of that!
But I’d like to think that most believers are not indifferent in the heart…
but the evidence of otherwise just seems to elude me.

If there is a struggle between the willingness to act vs a fear of being disobedient, then perhaps we can remember Ruth when she obeyed Naomi and went to lay at the feet of Boaz… but what did Ruth actually do?

She didn’t wait for him to tell her what to do, as Naomi had asked her to. No, she spoke up… and essentially asked Boaz for marriage.
She disobeyed Naomi, I believe, but I also believe that she obeyed God – “under Who’s wings she had come to take refuge”.
I think Ruth knew that her stumbling into Boaz’ field was no coincidence, for if you trust the Lord, then there are no coincidences… We need to LOVE those whom the Lord places in our path.
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This post was sparked by my dear friend Joel and he brought up Ecclesiastes 7:16-18, because it talks about the extremes… I personally prefer to look up several translations before settling on one that, to me, will make most sense. In this case, I’d like to read the passage in The Message translation:

Ecclesiastes 7:16-18 MSG

So don’t knock yourself out being good, and don’t go overboard being wise. Believe me, you won’t get anything out of it. But don’t press your luck by being bad, either. And don’t be reckless. Why die needlessly? It’s best to stay in touch with both sides of an issue. A person who fears God deals responsibly with all of reality, not just a piece of it.

The first part talks about pride I believe: Doing everything right all the time – appearing to be perfect and actually, I think that drives more people away than drawing anyone closer.
But don’t act in bad ways continually. If you break the rules all the time, you’ll get in trouble and people get tired of a troublemaker.
I love that last part that states:
See both sides of the coin and deal responsibly with reality;
With what we can SEE.
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We can obey a lot of good rules, but sometimes, we need to see the reality, step out in faith and act on what we can see – so we can help those within the body who are in need.  Even if it means breaking a man made rule.
And no, I’m not a Catholic despite two photos of Catholics are on this post, but it serves to illustrate “LOVE in action”.
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26 thoughts on “Different in-difference

  1. Wow, that’s fantastic. I can’t agree more. Love how your wrote this out!

    I guess where we left off friend on this one was…what rules are for breaking under what circumstances? I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it lately, but I’m reading Umberto Eco’s Name of the Rose right now. It’s basically a murder mystery set in a remote Italian monastery. Throughout the book, you see this tension between what is truly holding God’s commands and love and what is promulgated by the church for fear and out of fear and for the accumulation of materialistic things. There’s a strand of rebellion going through the monastery and it’s difficult, I think that’s the writers point (an atheist writer, so maybe he didn’t mean it consciously), to differentiate what is truly sin and what is truly holy by God’s standard. I could do a Venn diagram with three partly overlapping circles, one that is Sin, one that is Holy by God, and one that is Acceptable By the Church. What we want is to be fully inscribed in the circle that is Holy By God…that circle might, at times, fall outside of the overlap of the circle that is Acceptable By the Church. It wouldn’t go under Sin ever. And of course there would be some overlap, unfortunately, between the Sin circle and the Acceptable by the Church circle. My question or comceen is when the circle of Holy by God is not overlapped by Acceptable by the Church, we must rest assured that we are not also stepping into sin. Sometimes social ostracisizing cam bring on difficult and almost shameful feelings, akin to feeling sin. Of course, the full discovery process of this, the vetting out process, is done through the Spirits guidance and the test of the spirits. But it’s a complex process that, when we have the luxury of taking at least a little time to process, is worth vetting out. To make sure we don’t sin.

    I’ll be honest, I can be pretty rebellious with regard to church authority, simply because I strongly believe in guidance by the Spirit and sola scriptura, but this has been known to get me into trouble! especially when I confuse the Spirit’s voice for my own – a trap that many believers, young and old, can get ensured by in my opinion.

    I think all the cases you gave here, we absolutely take action. Absolutely. I guess it’s the more gray areas I struggle with myself…where’s there a give and take. Where there’s risk and reward. Where there’s the, I know I can help, but I can also cause hurt….its those areas where there might not always be a cookie cutter solution or flowchart process in place to bring about resolution that would make God happy. It requires wisdom.  Nothing else, not rules, not regulations, or processes, but wisdom, God’s wisdom, who is Jesus, to do his will.

    Great thoughts friend! Love to hear what you think here.

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    1. Also, I really, REALLY liked what you pulled from Ruth with her ‘disobeying’ Naomi’s instructions…dang, that was good Lene! That was very subtle, but I think you are very right. I’ve never heard anyone bring that up before, but I think it’s brilliant.

      I guess I’ve wrestled with this topic a lot…I’m not there yet, but I’m making progress.

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      1. None of us will “be there” in this world, but we can strive and try and get better at things as we go. I certainly am not “there” yet either… ahem… not even remotely, but it’s a great comfort to know you too struggle with these things. It’s also a big subject.
        Thanks – I appreciate that… I actually read it in a book once and thought at the time that it was interesting, but since studying Ruth in my SG, I have really gotten to know a side of Ruth I didn’t see before. Very grateful!
        – and my SG thanks you BTW for your Hebrew translation inputs 😉

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      2. Aw you totally should’ve taken credit for that one! Haha I’m just kidding 😉 but in all seriousness, that’s like a stroke of genius about Ruth and Naomi.

        I struggle too on this ground, a lot, like seriously a lot. And I don’t have clear answers in many situations. I have a hunch God might let me find my way into those situations for the purpose of furnishing some wisdom in me…I need it!

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      3. I think Ruth is paradigm, its a model of Jesus and us. It is SO rich in what we need to know for our life with Jesus and his salvation of us. We need to vet out the details in Ruth so we can better understand what’s happening to us in real time.

        But, the love story is pretty good too 🙂

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      4. I really like this friend! Ruth is indeed a model of Jesus and just browsing through my head now: Boaz might be the paradigm of God our Father and Naomi could actually be God’s people… in a sense. Am I way out?

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      5. That’s super interesting! Can you unpack that a little more? I’m really curious about that!

        I was thinking Boaz is the model for Jesus, Ruth is the model for the church, and Naomi is the model for Israel.

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      6. I’m not sure I can because time doesn’t really allow it and it could become a major – albeit incredibly wonderful – talk. My perspective is just that Boaz has wealth, authority and a seemingly never ending outpouring. It reminds me of Father Yahweh. Ruth has nothing but her hard work, integrity, is submissive and righteous yet bold and it reminds me of how Jesus gave it all up to rescue us. And Naomi though never loosing faith in Yahweh she seems to loose faith in His goodness, she regresses into something similar to depression and instead of taking action, she falls into a pit – until she sees Ruth bring home a bounty of goodness and then she “wakes up” and that reminds me of the body of believers/church.
        I really haven’t fleshed it out more than that and right now I don’t think I want to. I have an SG study about the threshing floor coming up… 😉

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    2. I’m wondering if my response made it to you:

      Gosh… I have read this so many times now I’m going cross-eyed. You are touching a huge subject. I would like to think that the sin area and God’s holy area are on opposite sides of the cross. The entire reason why we need Jesus. I struggle with your church circle. The church as an institution ought to by it’s very definition have a beef with sin… so there shouldn’t be any overlap. The church as the body of believers will overlap with sin to various degrees, but will never be able to overlap with God’s holy circle. Only the cross can touch what is holy. A Holy God can not touch an unholy body of believers. The only way to connect the two circles of church and sin to Holy God is by God’s grace – Jesus – the cross.
      What rules are for breaking under what circumstances? All man made rules, I think, can and should be possible to break under any type of circumstances. But no rule of God should ever be broken. – In a perfect world. It can’t happen… so, I suppose it will all boil down to the old question: What would Jesus do..? He broke man made rule after man made rule, but never broke a rule made by our Father.
      I’m not sure this helps much, but that’s what I got right now my friend.
      Love in Jesus in whom we have GRACE for each day of our lives.

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      1. Agreed on the sin and God circles, they never touch. The church circle, because it is a mess of redemption and sinful habits and Jesus’ blood, it still overlaps some of the sin circle. Some of the rules and cultural practices of today’s church result from the church circle overlapping some of the sin circle. Those rules and practices are still glorified as being Godly, and when we break those rules, we get ostracized.

        At the same time, some of those rules are in a gray zone where it’s hard to see if the origination of that rule came from the church circle touching the sin circle or if it truly came from God. Because some rules are derivations of higher order rules that are Godly.

        We could write an example of this up on Song of Virginity. God’s law says no fornication. It does not comment exactly on ‘how far is too far’ in a dating relationship. It also doesn’t say whether dating is even ok, perhaps it’s not, maybe the issue isn’t how far they go but how much are they hurting their hearts and God’s through the emotional attachment process. A church rule might say that only doing X in physical intimacy in a relationship is ok, anything past that is sin. How does the church support saying X is the Godly boundary on a basis through the Word? Is that church culture or is it from Christ?

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      2. Yes… Are you talking about the teachings/interpretations of the Word within the church? Because the church in itself is a huge mess of denominations alone. The unity, the body, the love we are supposed to share gets messed up in – sometimes – pathetic discussions on who is right and who is wrong – and some churches will ostracize a person who is sinful and who will not repent – but would that be against God’s Word? Not really… Settle things in private and win your brother back, next bring witnesses and bring your brother back, but if that doesn’t work…
        – Then there are some churches that will ostracize because of some particular sin and that’s where I think the church goes wrong and becomes judgemental. Are some sins worse than other sins?

        So, you are saying that the church holds some rules Godly while they actually are not? I can easily imagine that.
        I’m wondering if it’s even possible to generalize these things, as you write about fornication – it’s a sin. No doubt, but how far can a dating couple go and still be without sin? Yes, I can totally see a joined post on Song of Virginity about that very issue.
        To solve the matter, I do think we need to dig very deep into the original language (on each sin…) and see if there are any intentions or variations of the meaning of the word “fornication”. It has been translated so much that possibly things got lost along the way. Personally… I think the church had to bring out more clear guidelines than “fornication”. Is it okay to hold hands? We do when we pray together (most of the time) or shaking hands or holding grandma’s hand too… Is a kiss okay? I really want to say yes, but a part of me is led to say no. A kiss so easily leads to more especially when a couple are alone. I don’t think we can solve it, but it’s a very interesting subject. Perhaps it’s a good idea to continue this using email.. 😉 Love in Jesus

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      3. Sorry I missed this the first time, I responded to the other threads but not this one. Agreed, Jesus did break the rules and we should too. I just want to make sure, I break the right ones. Love in Jesus and his grace is amazing! Thankfully!

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      4. And I when I said, ‘ A church rule might say that only doing X in physical intimacy in a relationship is ok, anything past that is sin’ I meant in a dating relationship, not marriage.

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  2. Yes, the church should be full of people who help each other! I think elders and deacons in the early church were the ones appointed to help the poor and the sick. I don’t remember them doing that at my church. Maybe they did though.

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