When we eat our own

Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.  Romans 14:4

 

So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.  Romans 14:19

polar-bears

You know you’ve nailed this one (substitute your current this one). Maybe you’ve believed this way your whole life.

You’ve studied every scripture on it, listened to others, prayed it out.

So when someone comes along believing the opposite, you know they’re wrong.

They couldn’t possibly have studied it as much as you, or listened to as wisely counsel as you did, or talked to God as much about it.

Really?
Please.
Listen.

What if, just if, the others really do respect the Bible as much as you, have sincerely sought God’s wisdom in interpreting it, and still come up with a different interpretation than yours?

What do you do then?

Sadly, here’s what we often do:

  • We accuse them of rationalizing, justifying, compromising the Bible to say
    what they want to believe.
  • We think they’re ignorant and stubborn and refuse to see the truth.
  • We pity them and hate their “sin” and tell them we’ll pray they see the
    light as we so rightly do.

Do we even consider they could be right and we could be wrong?
Do we attempt to fully listen to why they believe as they do?
Do we still respect their character and Christianity even if we continue to
disagree?

Stop eating your own, church.
     It leaves a bad taste in our mouth.
And it looks cannibalistic to the world.

Of all the things Jesus wanted us to do, it was to show the world what love
is, who God is.

Don’t confuse being biblical with being right when being godly is being
loving.

The Bible is true and God is love.
But none of us understand it perfectly.
We get things wrong. A lot.

  • So let’s quit thinking we’re the only ones who know enough or care enough to perfectly interpret God. Others may be equally sincere and smart. And saved.

It’s the righteousness of Jesus that saves us, not mine, not yours.

  • Let’s give each other the benefit of the doubt as we try to love right
    instead of picking each other off, one hot issue at a time.

It’s by our fruit that others will know us; is ours juicy or is it repulsive?

  • Let’s trust the Father to teach our brothers and sisters what they need to know as he teaches us what we need to know.

If his grace is big enough for you, it’s big enough for everybody else in the family.

  • Let’s ease up on judging motives. Help more; harm less. Glorify God above all else.

His sacrifice is complete, his grace is sufficient, his love is eternal.
That’s a mouthful.

     Chew on that instead of each other.

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Ephesians 3:20-21

* * *

Related post:

61 thoughts on “When we eat our own

  1. blankKim Adams Morgan

    Lisa,

    What a great message to post. It is so easy to think that we always have the correct answer or the right biblical insight, but it is just our perspective of it. In the end, we will all be judged on how we loved and how we treated people.

    Kim

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      How we treat people is definitely what others will remember the most about us. You’re right that what our doctrinal perspectives were on all the hot topics won’t matter in the end, thankfully. Being able to claim Jesus’s righteousness as our own is what will make the difference.

  2. blankGail @ BibleLoveNotes.com

    This is so, so true, Lisa. Throughout Christendom, sincere, Bible-believing, Jesus-loving groups have held different views about non-essential doctrines, but so many Christians feel they have the only Biblical answer. It makes me very sad.

    For 22 years my husband was in the military and we worked in non-denominational chapel systems. I saw charismatic, non-charismatic, Calvinistic, non-Calvinistic, modern and traditional denominations work well together, bound by their love for Christ and not focused on their differences.

    But lately I’ve noticed a sad trend in the Body of Christ. It seems like fewer people know what the Bible says about essential doctrines but more people claim to know God’s view of complex political issues and non-essential doctrines. This week I wrote a study on my Bite Size site about the ways we become dependent on teachers when we fail to study the Bible for ourselves. I think that is part of our problem.

    Thanks for this very relevant post.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      How wonderful that you’ve been able to experience Christianity through the years as unified through differences. When we focus on Jesus, that happens and it’s God-honoring. When we get off in the weeds chasing rabbits, we divide.

      I followed your link and appreciated your approach there to teaching your friend how to study for herself. I wish more could be that trusting of the Word. Thanks for sharing.

  3. blankBeth

    I think these disagreements often come from a good place, Lisa. We both feel so passionately about our belief and position in those times. But this reminds me of what I’ve been reading about in Lysa TerKuerst’s book, Unglued. One tip she gives us is to ask ourselves, “Am I trying to prove or improve?” And you’ve pointed out that the “improvement” is about loving our brothers and sisters. Always a reminder that I can use, my friend! Thanks so much!

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      “Unglued” sounds like a good book. I’ve been meaning to read her “Made to Crave” for quite awhile now but haven’t gotten around to it yet.

      Such a great question: are we trying to prove or improve? I’ve often been one to want to prove my point, but rarely did that do anything but harm. 🙁 Working to improve is a much better approach. I appreciate you bringing that wording to the table, Beth. It’s helpful and memorable.

    2. blankKim

      Oh, ow. Your post really hits at the heart, Lisa. Beth, thanks for sharing that priceless quote from Unglued. Not only do I feel that from a faith perspective, but from a wife and parenting perspective too. We can never be too watchful over our words! Thanks!

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      I know I’ve been blinded by tunnel vision over and over through the years. And it makes me curious about what am I not seeing now! Time will tell. Thanks for dropping in, Mary. Your comments are always welcome.

  4. blankfloyd

    This is a hard hitting piece. It really is one of the ugliest of traits isn’t it? To say we belong to the One who served and loved His enemies, even the ones who mutilated His earthly body, and we serve Him by loathing the ones who don’t agree with us?

    That picture is graphic and leaves a biting impression. I’ve been guilty in the past and don’t any part of that disgusting trait of self love and pride… the fall is ugly and painful as well. Powerful post, Lisa…

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      You sum it up well, Floyd. It is ugly. And I’ve been on both sides of it, unfortunately, and it’s no prettier on either side of the fence. Glad we have a Savior who showed us how it can be done right and didn’t leave it up to us to figure it out on our own. Now we just need to follow his example….gotta have his Spirit in us to do it.

  5. blankRick Dawson

    Nowadays, I start from the position that “I could be wrong. I could be mistaken.” So long as I start there, I’m generally in good shape. That being said, I cannot say I’ve always been innocent. Growing up is painful.

    Good- if painful – post, Lisa.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      What a wise position to start from, Rick. The older I get, the more I’m learning to start there too. Wish I’d done so many years ago. Live and learn. And keep learning.

  6. blankDeb

    Great thoughts Lisa. I’m writing from the Book of Nehemiah this week and I’ve noticed that when Ezra read from the Book of the Law, the people took it to heart and repented. They didn’t try to fix each other. They listened to the truth and allowed it to touch them personally. Instead of trying to fix those with differing points of view, we would do better to return to the Word and it’s truth to work in our hearts. Thanks for stating this so well.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      That’s a great insight you gleaned from Nehemiah. They took the message inward instead of using it as ammunition to throw on each other. May we all do likewise. Thanks for sharing this, Deb.

  7. blankbluecottonmemory

    A friend of mine believes differently – and in a heart-wrenching crisis for her family – we prayed with them, hugged them, loved them – not tried to persuade them to think differently about how God wanted them to look philosophical interpretations. Their faith in Him has been a beacon to the community – because they stood with Him and didn’t fall – I’ll let God sort out the philosophy – while He’s wrapping His arms around them:)

    You are so right Lisa – I’m partial to bears – and, wow, what a bear photo to get the point across! I think it would be awful to say, “love it” – but love those amazing creatures!

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      What a great friend you are, to not push your own views and to trust God to sort out the philosophy. Would that we all could do that better. I want to.

      I was hoping that bear photo wouldn’t be too much. 🙂 It’s sad but true that polar bears can do that to their young. Yikes. But otherwise, yes they are amazing creatures! I’ve loved watching them in zoos, although I’ve never understood how they could stand living in such warm climates.

  8. blankMia

    Dear Lisa
    Oh, I used to be one of the main fault finders! Until the day our Pappa opened my eyes that it is all about relationship. Relationship with Him cannot be studied, it needs to be lived and experienced. It needs to be nurtured before you can really come to know our Lord’s love and goodness. Yes, it is active and living and dancing and just being.
    Blessings
    Mia

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Beautiful comments, Mia. Our sermon yesterday at church included similar thoughts about relationship being a doing thing, not just a studying thing. I love how you phrase it here: “active and living and dancing and just being.”

  9. blankSue Harrison

    Amen, Lisa!

    Sadly, it seems just as we, the Church, have gotten one hot topic behind us, we take on the next one. Most of the time we start out meaning well. We search the scriptures, we pray, we listen and read about what favorite Christian celebrities think. Swords are drawn and off we go in the name of Jesus. Before you know it, the search for truth gets buried beneath the drive for winning. And what a battle! We leave many dead soldiers and take few prisoners. Once it dies down, we pat ourselves on the back and are so thankful that God has “held us to the truth”!

    The biggest problem with this tactic is that God doesn’t do it that way. He doesn’t teach us to do it that way either. He desires that we are humble, show love, rely on Him, make peace, and in so doing, to point others to him. Then we don’t create a lot of garbage for people to trip over in the process. Then we don’t trip over our on puffed-up egos.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Thanks for weighing in, Sue. I know we’ve both seen lots of those same swords drawn. And all they do is push people away instead of drawing people into the Kingdom. Friendly fire killing our own.

      I don’t want to create any more garbage for people to trip over than I already have. 🙁 Your analogy is vivid to me. My ego has gotten in the way too many times, and probably will again except by the grace of God. Lord, have mercy.

  10. blankLyli @ 3-D Lessons for Life

    Love the title of this post… you captured the sad spirit of dissension in one phrase.
    I read an article in the local paper a couple of days ago titled “A Universal Explanation for Religious Atheists” (That title grabbed my attention as well!). In the article, the writer has an imaginary conversation with God who ends the conversation by lamenting the behavior of His followers. This one line grabbed me: “I wish, more often, they would hug in the name of God. Serve in the name of God. Heal in the name of God. Make peace in the name of God. I would like that very much.”

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Ooh, that article cuts us all to the heart, yes? I want to do all those things more in the name of God, too. May it be so for each of us, a little more each day, Lord willing. Thanks for sharing that, Lyli.

  11. blankCeil

    Hi Lisa! I am visiting from SDG.

    I had never heard the expression ‘eating our own’, but it sure leaves an impression! We do kind of default to thinking others are ‘ignorant’ when they disagree with us. A wider, loving mind like Christ’s will really help out. We need to pray for that. And tolerance too.

    Great post. Made me think!

    Peace (and tolerance) in Christ,
    Ceil

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      “We need to pray for that” – yes, Ceil, and for tolerance, too. Yes. Thanks for stopping by to leave these comments. We still have much room to grow in having the mind of Christ. Thankful he’s with us to make it happen.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      I agree that this is a conversation that needs to be had, Laura. Too often we’re known for our judgment instead of our love. Praying we can turn that around, one person at a time, through the grace of God.

  12. blankJean Wise

    so well stated, Lisa. My background in nursing and we have said when we don’t support the new nurse or the one who is struggling, we are eating our own. That really puts it into perspective. Great words to ponder here.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      I didn’t know that phrase was used in the nursing profession, but I can definitely see how it applies there, too. We all need to be helping each other out instead of refusing help or actively making things worse. Thanks for sharing that, Jean.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Yes, those scriptures are true. Be wise as serpents, innocent as doves. Knowing who are the sheep and who are the goats isn’t always easy but thankfully we can follow the Shepherd and trust him to guide us properly.

  13. blankDolly@Soulstops

    Lisa,
    So much sound wisdom spoken lovingly here…I read somewhere that if we really focused on letting God show us where we fall short then we would have no time to judge another…there is a place for discernment but not judging or being unloving…Great post 🙂

  14. blankBarbara H.

    While it is important at times to take a stand against some kinds of doctrine, as Jesus and the apostles did, both for the truth’s sake and so others aren’t led astray, we do too often “pounce” on other people’s views in areas where good people can differ, and then too belligerently and unkindly.

  15. Pingback: Saturday Shortcuts | Planned Peasanthood

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Gently, yes, that’s how I want to be with people because that’s how I want them to be with me. The shouting only hurts. Thanks for following me over from Rick’s.

  16. blankDionne

    I think we need to concentrate less on the fluff! Yes, only the nonnegotiables matter such as believing that Jesus is the only true Savior, the bible is the infallible word of God, etc.
    All the rest is pointless fighting and so unnecessary…it surely doesn’t communicate Christ’s love.
    And you are right, it is okay to share what God is showing us, but we must avoid the assumption that this is what he is currently showing someone else.

    1. blankLisa notes...

      “…it surely doesn’t communicate Christ’s love.”

      That hits the nail on the head, Dionne. Thanks for chiming in. I agree with you that we need less focus on the fluff. With the nonnegotiables uniting us, we provide a much stronger witness to the world that our God is love.

  17. Pingback: When you’re not sure | Lisa notes . . .

  18. Pingback: Stupid or smart? | Lisa notes . . .

  19. Pingback: Songs of the Church

  20. Pingback: What God was teaching me in 2013

  21. blankSUSAN SHIPE

    Can’t believe I just came upon this old post of yours – it could be confirmation that I’m supposed to write “sheep eating sheep” – a title Holy Spirit gave me years ago. These are the hard things to write about. xo

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Yes, these are hard things to write about. 🙁 But we see them around us and sometimes they need to be addressed. If you do write sheep eating sheep, let me know!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *