Think right to do right.

21 you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? 22 You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? 24 As it is written: “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” (Romans 2:21-24)

I have a problem with self-righteous people. Those people who teach about God while failing to acknowledge they are right there alongside those who they are teaching.

I’ve sat before preachers who try to be pastors. A preacher is someone who stands up and spouts off about the Word of God but has no humanity in them for others. A true pastor takes care of their flock, knows failures are across the board, and has humility.

One time we were looking for a new pastor. During that time we had guest preachers come in to fill the pulpit while we searched for who God wanted us to have. This one man came in and started yelling and shouting, started running down our church as a bad place. He apparently thought this was a good way to audition for the church. A big downfall for him was he worked with the relative of someone on the pastor search committee and bad mouthed us to her. He thought he was better than we were.

The truth is no one is actually better than anyone else. We just all are unique individuals. I like to share the Word of God with all of you from time to time, but I know the truth. I know I’m as guilty of things as anyone else. Even if the sins I commit are only in my mind, I am still thinking about them. I apparently want to do them so that’s just about as bad as doing them. And that goes for anything. You might be angry and want to fight someone and beat them up. That’s just as bad as doing it, perhaps even worse because more than likely, in your mind, you beat them up worse than you could in reality.

All of the problem solving of the world starts with ourselves. It starts in our thoughts. How do we solve a situation? How do we speak to someone? How we go about doing anything, starts in our minds.

We have to think right before we can do right. To think right we need to realize we are thinking wrong.

This week pay attention to where your mind goes.

  • Does it go to positive places?
  • Do you think of uplifting things or venture into the negative world?
  • Do you enter into the selfish part of your personality more than the selfless part?

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Each time you find yourself going to the negative and non productive places, begin to think the opposite. It starts with your thinking. Men, if you find yourself looking at a woman and thinking things you shouldn’t, start thinking of her as a human, as a person with troubles, as a sister, a daughter. Attempt to think of them in respectful ways. The key here is to try. You’ll fail a lot. But you will succeed some of the time.

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In God’s Sight.

13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. (Romans 2)

Some might find it odd that Romans is one of my favorite books of the Bible, what with it being so controversial at times. It’s only controversial because of the way people take verses out of context and how a letter has been divided into chapters. Maybe I’m being a bit repetitive with my whole dividing books into chapters thing, but I think it’s worth saying, and saying often.

This verse is the one that came up today for me to study and I thought I would share it with you. Let’s look at all of it, and this is Paul speaking to the early church in Rome.

12 All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) 16 This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.

A lot of people ‘hear’ the words of the Bible. Many people even sit in church two or three times a week hearing the Word of the Lord, yet walk out to the parking lot and immediately do the opposite of what they had just said Amen to.

Some of you may have heard that if a person claims to be a Christian they need to do things called works to show they are Christian. I’m not that flavor of Christian. I do believe you need to show in your way of life that a change has come over you, that you are no longer a person that things a certain way is okay to act. What I’m talking about here is living like what Jesus said we should.

A Gentile is a non-Jew. God reaches people around the world through various means, even dreams. He reaches people through their heart. When you see someone being ill treated, even in a minor way, and it tugs at your heart, that’s the goodness of God that’s written into your DNA. We all have that code to unlock.

It’s a shame when professed Christians do things completely opposite of Christ. I share from time to time good words here on my blog. I like to encourage people. I like to give hope. I like to inspire. I like to show a side of Christianity that is nonjudgmental. The only person I can judge is another Christian when I see them doing something against the Word of God, and even then it’s only to say, “Hey, brother, maybe you should take a step back and think about what you’re doing.” I’ve done lots of things in my life, thus I know I’m far from perfect. That lack of perfection gives me the ability and inclination to speak out at times to others to say, “I changed. If I did all of these things with a decision, so can you.”

The world doesn’t become a better place when you become a Christian or if you decide to simply use the words of the Bible as a guide to a good way of living. Actually you see the world with a different pair of eyes. That new world is far worse than you ever knew. You see the problems, you see answers, but you know people think your solutions are just Jesus Freak brainwashing.

A lady from another country commented on a recent post about how her own faith leads to thinking much like my own, and words much like that of the Bible. Gentiles are given God’s words and will in so many ways. Who knows, maybe He spoke to someone and said, “Put this down, tell your people this.” I am not above saying God won’t use anything good to do his will.

Do good. Do what Jesus says. You can’t go wrong. Even Gandhi loved the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew Chapter 5.

Casting Crowns has a great song about how people in a church don’t really do what they are hearing.


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Paul and Don’t Judge the Non Christians.

Yesterday I wrote a somewhat controversial article. Reactions have varied but I have found them to be of the expected so far as of the writing of this article. I removed the article because I decided I don’t think it quite got my message across the way I wanted to and it has affected me a bit. Now after some thought I decided to put it back up. I figure, my blog, my thoughts, so why not? 🙂

Thus, I am taking my time for my Sunday Thought to make some things clear to Non Christians and Christians alike. Because I think both need to understand something that has not been emphasized enough in churches and the public domain.

1 Corinthians 5 NIV
12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”~Paul to the Corinthians

The only people Christians are to hold accountable to New Testament teachings are other Christians. Paul’s verses above followed a section where he had to explain something.

I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11 But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people. (Purple text refers to a fellow Christian.)

Don’t get these verses wrong. Not associating comes a long time after Christians attempt to help the fellow Christian to see what they are doing and get back on track. It’s not like, oooo we caught you at something and now you are to be gone from us you bad boy you.

Now, don’t get me wrong about not judging Non Christians, that doesn’t mean a Christian should say, “Hey, that’s awesome,” when seeing something that is against our faith.

Just like Non Christians may say, “It’s fine for Christians to believe what they want, but don’t expect me to applaud what they believe.”

A commenter mentioned it was offensive for Christians to proselytize and tell people they are wrong and bad. I think Christians understand the feeling when we are told we are wrong and bad daily in the media and by our government.

And please, don’t confuse Jehovah ‘s Witnesses’ dogmatic ways of Saturday morning door-to-door knocking and telling you that you are wrong with how Christians are supposed to do it. They even tell Christians they are wrong. Most of my family are Jehovah’s Witnesses so I get it. They and I have had some interesting talks in the past.

I taught my youth group to simply listen to people and if a reason came up to share their faith then do so, otherwise don’t. Forcing never works.

But back to the verses mentioned. Paul had a great way of bringing the focus of the early Christians back to where they belonged. Whenever the early church began whining about everyone else, he always said don’t worry about them right now, worry about yourself and the church first.

Romans Chapter 1 is one of the most misrepresented chapters in the Bible. Why? Because a letter was divided into chapters. Paul talks about what certain things are sins in Chapter 1, then in Chapter 2 he points out that the church members are doing those things so shut up and take care of yourselves instead of yelling about others. But because of the Chapter break people tend to study that first Chapter as a separate piece instead of looking at the whole.

Romans 2:1 NIV
1You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.~Paul to the church in Rome

Gotta love it, right? Paul sure had a way with words. So Christians, the next time you begin to judge a Non Christian by our Christian standards, think about these verses in this article today. 

For Non Christians I hope there is an understanding that the majority of Christians don’t have problems with anyone. In fact our very faith teaches us to love everyone, no matter who or what they are. Sometimes Christians forget that part, I think it’s partly because it’s not taught enough or mentioned enough in the churches. And I hope people understand that more and more Christians are being told they are bad and wrong as a whole because of a vocal minority that gets the attention and brings negativity to us.

In closing I will say this, do not tell me I cannot speak my my beliefs. I don’t ridicule others, and I expect the same in return. Learn the difference between hate speech and a belief. I may say something is a sin but it does not mean I hate someone who does that sin. You shoplift, you are  a thief, you have stolen, you have sinned. I tell you that you have sinned. That is not hate speech. Oh, sorry, the government says it’s bad, so I guess I am covered…for now.

Much Love, Success, and Respect

Ronovan

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