Monday, June 24, 2013

Without Malice

A request:

When another Christian disagrees with you on matters of faith or practice, start with the assumption that they aren't malicious. 

Ask first:  Is this matter a central tenant of the faith?  (The divinity of Christ, the Resurrection, how to be saved, etc).  Meaning - does the very meaning of the word "Christian" change if this disagreement goes forward?

If not...

Ask second:  Is the person twisting the Scriptures to their own benefit and acting more like a wolf than a shepherd?  (Meaning:  Are they misleading people for their own profit?  Is there anything in it for them, other than peace and quiet, if other people believe as they do?)

If not...

Ask third:  Are they being deliberately malicious?  Do they seek to cause division and strife? 

If not...

Perhaps we could proceed with the idea that other Christians are approaching their faith with the same rigor and intensity of belief that we do.  We can then indulge ourselves with civil discourse, civil argument.  We can listen to one another. 

Our Lord offered us choice, our Lord gave us the Holy Spirit to act as our conscience and our guide.  And our Lord told us,
 
John 13:34-5  A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.   By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

Love should be the mark of the Christian.


 


2 comments:

  1. Um, can I debate things for fun and without malice? Or has that pleasure -- and it is one -- disappeared into the dark abyss of fear caused by the offendii?

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    Replies
    1. Debate? Of course we can debate. Debate is the backbone of civil discourse. But there's a difference between debating someone and starting out the conversation with the assumption that they are holding their views out of some sort of malice... as if they know the truth and deliberately mangle it. I've read a few sources in the past few days where that seems to be the starting assumption.

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Please keep your comments lovely. I encourage discussion, but I will erase ugliness. And let's not shoot fish in a barrel please - no picking on specific people, even celebrities.