Truth is Truth

"You, O LORD, will not withhold Your compassion from me; Your lovingkindness and Your truth will continually preserve me." - Psalm 40:11 This is a sometimes monthly column concerning the truth of Christ Jesus and the issues that face our world as published in various newspapers and journals by Pastor Dave Seaford. You can return to the home page of the church by going to:

My Photo
Location: Redway, California, United States

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Dr. Dave Seaford

If I Could Save Time in a Bottle…!

If you remember the song by this title you probably also remember the words that followed were: “the first thing that I’d like to do.” All of us from time to time would like to recapture some moment in time that we would do differently IF we could just do it all over again. At moments like that, we come to appreciate the importance of words and the magnitude of small actions that may have seemed to be inconsequential when we chose to do them.

Because all of us have sinned, the only person that truly has no remorse for anything in their life, is the person with no conscience. These people are called sociopaths. But most of us have a conscience and most of us want to enjoy and be enjoyed by those around us. While it does not amaze me that unsaved people in the world hurt each other so deeply and with such consistency, it does baffle me when I see Christians with battle scars reach out with the intent of bringing another Christian down, or some how seeking to otherwise harm them. Sometimes remorse is genuinely expressed over such events BUT as odd as it may seem, reconciliation is rare in most families and most churches.

I have come to believe over the years that these “irreconcilable” impasses could be fully reconciled IF either of the warring parties had any trust for the other. It seems we people of faith have very little faith in one another, and if you think about it, this makes little sense, in that the one thing both of us claim to have in common is the Christ that lives within us, who we claim as “Lord.” Reason dictates that those with a common Lord would have common goals and common joys, but many a Christian defies that very reasoning.

This truth has come home to roost several times in my life lately as those reading letters I had written them saw much more than was written, reading between the lines what was never said. This is a very basic lack of trust. This presumption seeks to find out what one is really saying, when in truth they never intended more than what was said. Lack of trust is rooted in questioning the other person’s motives and here in lies the sin that cripples and devastates Christian lives and multitudes of churches.

The Bible says that we are to “judge” the fruit in a person’s life by “righteous judgment” (John 7:24), but ONLY God is to judge the motives of a man (Romans 2:16). The plain fact is that when we perceive of ourselves so highly as to judge a man’s motives we have placed ourselves on a level with God. This is akin to Eve’s original sin in the garden (being convinced that she knew God’s motives for restricting her from the fruit). And it continues to be the great sin of mankind in presuming to know another persons motives and judging them accordingly. God says we are to inspect the fruit in a person’s life, not to judge the motives of the person producing fruit. Unfortunately a high percentage of Christians have come to see their role not only as judge, but as judge, jury and executioner (note: Romans 14:13). In spiritual arrogance many Christians have come to believe that their calling in the church is judging other’s motives. But true unity of the body is never found in such judgmental condemnation (Heb. 10:30).

Take a moment to turn to 1 Cor. 11:31 and realize that the only person any Christian has the right to judge is himself. In fact we are told in this scripture that this judgment by man brings a blessing. The promise of God is that IF we judge ourselves we will not be judged, and that when we fail at this and are judged we will be “chastened by God” so that we will not be “condemned by the world.” Oh what a God we serve!