Another post from an early discussion group.
To my friend and brother. And as always, to the rest of you!
I'm glad you are enjoying (for the most part) Galatians. I made some comments regarding those in the organized church in a letter to (our sister), so I won't be redundant. I do agree with you that many in the organized church have been born of the Spirit. Not so sure I would take too much of a stand on most. But it makes no difference how many I think there are, I suppose. The Spirit just doesn't seem to operate according to my calculations. Praise God for that, huh?
Anger. Why do we initially assume anger is bad? We KNOW Jesus got angry ... and it really had his guys wondering what the heck was going on. He used it as an object lesson, but the anger came forth not for the reason of setting up the scenario. Could you just imagine how long the discussion went on about the withered fig tree? Yikes! And when Jesus was in the synagogue and had the man with the withered hand come forward He asked if it was lawful to do good on the Sabbath and then he looked "at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart," Mark 3:5. I wonder how many times the disciples or others discussed that scene? How many mis-read Him? In Matthew 15 the disciples asked Jesus if He realized that He had offended Pharisees by what He said. Read it. I, myself, am still a little too self-conscious to answer back the way He did.
I say all this, because it is not the first time I've heard the criticism. Do I just not take heed to it then? Is it just my critical nature? Have I just been hurt too often? I gotta tell you, I'm really a wimp! Those who know me well complain that I'm too nice and that I give people far too many chances and that I don't want to say anything bad about anybody, but that instead I try too hard to find something good to say about them. Imagine that! Yeah, there are even notes on my Home Depot reviews about me being afraid to bring up the negative stuff. That has been their main complaint against me at work. At one of the churches I was at, the main pastor thought there was obviously something wrong with me since I was "up" too often. "Not right ... should be more broken", as he would say. And so it always hits me as being ironic when someone passes me off as sarcastic or speaking from the anger of man.
Though I have taken liberties to present the impact the Galatians may have sensed in the letter, it was Paul's feel I leaned on most. He said many things in it that I have heard teachers explain away because it sounds too offensive. And I knew I would catch it for not holding back. I mean, how do you present the concept of Paul's statements about Foolish Galatians when even the original strikes us as violating what Jesus said about calling your brother a fool? I know you've been there as well ... you get a rebuke.
Or forget the words of Paul. How about when we declare that 1 John 1:9 doesn't mean what most Christians think it does? No matter how you've presented it, those who don't agree with you come away believing you to having committed the highest form of blasphemy. To them, you have denied the Bible and are arrogant and mean-spirited ... even though you said it very nicely. Though our intent is for the other to discover this reality of freedom, they MAY come away thinking we sounded sarcastic. And then, just because I know that the truth of 1 John 1:9 will hit even many believers as offensive or as arrogant or as sarcastic I will STILL continue with the thing that sounds to ME as, and that I know IS true freedom.
Love to all,