26 May 2004

Is is okay to let others stumble?

Submitted by theshovel
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This came from a Shoveletter response

the "doing away" of things should be compelled by love and with the power of His life in us..He shows us why some things we do arent the best for us..we obey because we understand His perception as far as the "specific activities" go kevinkim

"Compelled by love and with the power of His life in us" hints at the miraculous reality of our union in Christ , however, you continue on with something other than that. Don't overlook the fact that Israel was also given insights into God's perception of what was best for them so that they might obey. Consider that our union with God in Christ is so real that the compelling of love is not just some kind of emotional stimulus, often used for motivational purposes, but that it surpasses any concepts of good, better and best.

Having been made alive has brought us into a unique reality that cannot be understood by all the wisdom of the world (including the Christian versions of that wisdom). The law would have us striving for "God's best" - only to be continually frustrated by our inability to reach it - while life allows us to truly live as those who have been raised from the dead and joined to God. Let that ridiculous reality of his life blow away the concepts that try to emulate it!

but i gotta question..how about the stumbling of others.. how does that ties into what you say as "other peoples perceptions"..
wholeheartedly following Jesus is a must..but as He does His work in us..we will always be faced with people telling us not to do this and that because by their experience "this and that" hindered their relationship with Him..
dont smoke..dont drink..dont cuss..no rock..dont etc etc. the way we as humans actually do these things is by either choking our will, which leads to failure, or letting God take over our hearts.
so than..is it ok to "stumble others"..continue in what others believe are sinful or fleshly or etc..based on the fact that God keeps making an "instinstence from another place"..that place being within..therefore we go ahead and stop considering others with our behavior to avoid being sin concsious and religious? kevinkim

Interestingly, I began to start on this very thing yesterday in the continuation of my response - the matter of "conscience" - though I didn't get very far at all. So, I'll touch on a few thoughts right now.

First, let's clear the air regarding most of the "stumbling" baloney we hear about (aka "I don't like what you're doing and I'm offended"), as what I refer to is commonly thrown around in an effort to do nothing more than control another.

When Jesus was asked if he knew he "offended" the Pharisees he basically told the disciples: Don't concern yourselves with them because they're going to stumble no matter what, because they can't see where they're going. (Matthew 15:13-14) I don't care if I "offend" someone who insists on being offended by me, for such offense is inevitable. Now, while I may in fact irritate, frustrate, and become the target for such a person's judgment I really can't cause him to stumble, he is doing that all by himself.

The whole matter of not being the cause of stumbling - as discussed by both Jesus and Paul - has nothing to do with having too much grace and freedom but only with its facade. After all, to encourage a brother to sin against his own conscience has nothing to do with true life and freedom, but only with its form.

Though I couldn't care less about those who scrutinize me and compare me according to their own fleshly judgments I am concerned with this. For this is not about someone who is looking for reasons to judge another, but one who is hanging on the edge of his own judgments against himself ... and is desperately asking if it's okay to sin against his own conscience.

You see, this is not about my conscience, or the conscience of those who judge him, it is about HIS conscience. He needs to know that in having been set free that he is truly free to honor God without having to prove to me or to anyone else that he is free ... for his validation does not come from me or from any one else, it comes from God himself! For me to encourage him to do what he believes to be wrong would be nothing short of turning grace into a law for him. A grace-law is no better than a law-law. I wonder why we don't recognize this as being not grace but law in action? It is, after all, the law that stimulates sin. What is it that we don't get about this?

Don't forget that Paul's comments about conscience were found in the middle of his letter to the Corinthians ... you know, the letter where he earlier wrote: "But to me it is a very small thing that I may be examined by you, or by any human court; in fact, I do not even examine myself." This was a group of believers caught up in fleshly judgments (which is based upon appearance). His concern was not for pretense, but for the heart of these brothers, and he made that perfectly clear.

I also encourage you to listen to the heart ... and not to the facade. This isn't rocket science, this is life.

so than..is it ok to "stumble others"..continue in what others believe are sinful or fleshly or etc..based on the fact that God keeps making an "instinstence from another place"..that place being within..therefore we go ahead and stop considering others with our behavior to avoid being sin concsious and religious? kevinkim

Just so you know, when I read this to my wife she said it was an excellent question! And indeed, she is correct, as it embodies the confusion and tension between form and life; it highlights the vast distinction between the IDEA of Christ and the REALITY of Christ. The one is law, condemnation and death; the other, grace, freedom and life!

What if it turns out that many believers have simply worn themselves out in an attempt to appease those who judge according to appearance - aka legal wisdom? Maybe that's why so many have settled on grace as a premise, that is, an idea, rather than as life itself. As life, we are continually drawn into true relationship, while at the same time we grow to despise the pretense of it. To consider one another according to life is what the Spirit of God teaches us, but to consider one another according to the rules of condemnation is not real "consideration".

What you describe is grace that has been turned into an opportunity for the flesh - in other words, law. That's right, law taught us how to manuever our way around rules and principles in the attempt to find loopholes so that we've spent a lifetime asking, "Is it okay to do this, or to not do that?" When those same principles by which we sought validation get established into grace then that grace becomes nothing more than the law it supposedly escaped.

Anyhow, it is now past my bedtime (yes, I go to bed this early) so I'll sign off here. You'll probably see more of this in my continued responses to the earlier letter.



WOW! Is it not true[I know it is] that we who are the true and living ‘unleavened bread’ get so pummeled by the judgment that exists EVERYWHERE WE TURN in this world, that we get thrown off by this human judgment of being ‘graceful’ as you so well pointed out here?!!!!! How friggin deceiving is the devil? WOW! I veaguley remember this article from back then. All I remember is being lost in a jumbled up mess of human judgment that had wrapped me up so tight that I could not move. Truly the Shack has been a hospital for the tricked and the dashed and the beaten and the mummified by human religion! When constricted[as in boa constrictor]we can not see with our human eyes the true and living reality with our human eyes. Our inner being STILL recognizes the Truth but, our minds in the midst of abuse can get side tracked into so much bondage. WOW. This above, has been one of the most helpful articles you have ever written Jim. For it addresses things I can not even put into words or adequately describe. I also want to mention that I totally appreciate the fact that you put so much time and attention into the descriptions of the grace of God. I see you flowing in the ‘above reproach’ instruction of Paul.[addressed to teachers]No not in some sick ‘copy’ of it..but rather in the grace of the Lord and power of His Spirit.

I shall print this out and use it to remind me of the true good thing I have in Christ!

This gives new meaning[and yet it is old] to ‘it is for freedom that Christ set you free..”!!

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