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North Santa Rosa

Living With Purpose

    How many times have you been guilty of causing a negative situation to get worse by talking when silence would’ve been the best decision? Ever since the 1940s, the United States Forest Service has used “Smokey the Bear” to teach people to be responsible with camp fires. In light of this analogy, we can relate this lesson to a verse found in the Book of Proverbs: “Fire goes out without wood, and quarrels disappear when gossip stops. A quarrelsome person starts fights as easily as hot embers light charcoal or fire lights wood” (Proverbs 26:20). This important lesson is for all of us. And it should encourage us to recognize that if we refuse to engage in gossip, bitterness, or hold to judgmental attitudes; it puts out the fire of argument in other people’s lives.    A famous author once said, “I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.” It’s hard to resist the temptation to talk about someone who’s wronged you, especially a person who tries to discredit you or drag you down. There’s no convincing an individual who’s purposefully looking for an excuse to start a fire.

    Sadly, judging others is our favorite pastime. Judging makes us feel good because it puts us in a better light than others. Regardless of which side your own or who may be at fault, the more mature individual will focus on what lies ahead rather than to dwell in the past. In spiritual matters you may be prone to being pulled down in despair when you recall past sins; especially when someone tries to remind you and others of your faults. As the “Accuser”, Satan attempts to makes us feel that our sins are too great to ever be forgiven or forgotten.

    We are never more like God than when we chose to forgive. It’s no one’s rightful place to judge another person. We’re all sinners, but because of Christ, we’re loved by God. A person’s salvation is never contingent upon their personal perfection; although some people act like it. Salvation is never something we earn; God loves us all just because He chose to love us, which is why Christ paid the ultimate price on the Cross so that we could be saved.

    Rendering judgement upon someone for their past sins isn’t a responsibility of yours, the pastor, or anyone else; that’s solely God’s job. Matthew 7:1-3 says, “Don’t judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own?” When we hold grudges, gossip, and refuse to forgive, we are not allowing God to control us, but choosing to hold to our selfish ways.

    A Christian’s job is not to judge one another. A Christian’s job is to share Christ and pray for others. Don’t let someone, because of their judgmental ways, convince you you’re not worthy of great things and of use in His Kingdom. God can do great things with us regardless of our past. The greatest gift we can offer others is the Good News that God looks beyond our past to give us grace for the future.

    Mistakes are what make the gospel such Good News! God can and will redeem you from everything, EVERYTHING! Remember this: There are two ways a fire dies. You can pour water on the flames or starve the fire of oxygen. Sometimes you have to apologize for things you didn’t do in order to help people move on. Other times, when you’ve done all you can do, you have to ignore the continued comments of people who oppose you and allow your actions to speak for themselves.

    Situations will call for different approaches, but be ready to resist the urge to retaliate or respond to an unjust criticism; instead, calm your heart and clear your head and act in accordance with the love and understanding you would want for yourself. You can solve many problems by refusing to add fuel to an already unwise fire. We can all prevent forest fires!

• This bi-weekly column is written by Matthew Dobson. He’s a teacher, U.S. Army Chaplain, and the Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church in the New York Community. His “Living With Purpose” Book series can be found and purchased on www. Amazon.com. You can contact him at: rmdobson@liberty.edu.

Posted by on Aug 27 2017. Filed under Church News, Churches, Living With Purpose, Local, Top News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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