Thursday, July 10, 2008

Taking It Personal

Do you find it easy to take the sins of others personally? I do.

When someone continues in sin after I have exhorted and pled with them for repentance and reconciliation to God and others, I find it easy to be discouraged and downhearted.

I suppose my pride is too easily enflamed. After all, given my eloquence and clarity, how could someone possibly not respond with whole-hearted repentance? And if they did not intend to follow my advice, when did they come to me to begin with?

In these times, we must recall the words of the Lord to Samuel, when Israel wanted a king. Samuel took it personally. But God stepped in to remind him (and us):

... they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them (1 Samuel 8:7).

When we give biblical counsel and people continue to sin, it is not us that they are rejecting. It is God. So we must not take it personally.

We must rather be patient. God may not be working at the same speed we are. It may take time for the Word to take root ... "time" meaning "weeks" or "months" or "years."

And we must check our pride at the door. We cannot carry it in to personal relationships, particularly counseling/discipleship encounters.

You see, one of the problems with people coming to us for answers is that we begin to think we have them. What an ego boost that is.

But how foolish to think that a mind not steeped in the Scriptures can address the problems of the human heart. When our heart is steeped in self-affirmation, someone's repentance will do our hearts good, and their rejection will bring hurt.

Don't misunderstand. We should hurt when people reject God's word. But we must hurt because they reject God's word, not because they reject us. 

May God give us genuine compassion on people in sin. May God protect us from the disgust that views them in their sin, and rather cultivate in us a love that views them as people whom Jesus died to reconcile.

3 comments:

Wendy said...

Wow. That's a good thought.

Anonymous said...

Larry,

Right on....Straight Ahead! Just preached on Samuel a month back. Very good illustration of the point you make here.

jt

Jon from Bucksport said...

Excellent post. I have just been reading OT Historical books but I never tied Samuel's situation with my own like that. I really appreciate you sharing this.

Jon