What’s important

th-1Mark is Back! (Not Mark Twain … our Mark.) I’m so glad. He’s such an important person to us. He chose the right thing.

The issue is not who’s right or who’s wrong, it’s who’s committed to being a part of the body of Christ. The last thing God wants is for us all to agree. The first thing He wants is for us to love each other.

My goal is not to get you to agree with me or to be the last word on anything. I would like to be a word that leads you there, but the last word is and will always be from God, and you can only find that yourself. My goal is for you to know the truth, because the truth will set you free, and part of that freedom is the freedom of thought. You don’t have freedom of thought if I’m doing your thinking for you. You get to think what you want to think and say what you want to say as long as it’s covered in love. That’s what we are building here, a place where you can openly seek the truth and air all your questions along the way.

It has to be this way because the truth always challenges our way of seeing things. The truth will become yours when you find it, not when you agree with someone. So that means that on your way to the truth we may disagree. That’s alright. Be patient. Listen to what is being said. Look for the truth in it and confirm that in your heart.

Truth is not always a straight line. Jesus was constantly talking around things. He told parables and stories; He exaggerated things; He used every literary trick in the books including irony and sarcasm. Some of the things He said to the Pharisees can make your skin crawl. He did that because He loved them and it was the only way He could get through their blindness and their thick skin of self-righteousness. Jesus was not running a popularity club.

Jesus did not leave us a book of truths (i.e. this is the way you should think on everything). He was leading us to God. Try turning the words of Jesus into a manual. Try even outlining Him. You can’t do it. He did not come to bring us everything we need to know on every subject. He did not come to answer our questions; He came to question our answers, because our questions will lead us to God far quicker than our answers. Answers are only that: answers. Put them in a book and sell them. Teach them in a seminar and then get everyone to agree.

It’s much more important how we treat each other than what we think.

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12 Responses to What’s important

  1. Pete Ceren says:

    ” … He did not come to answer our questions; He came to question our answers, because our questions will lead us to God far quicker than our answers. …” John, this is a wonderful line that gets to the vey heart of it all – thank you for this.

  2. I guess an exchange of ideas looks different than correcting each other.

  3. Julie says:

    Welcome back Mark! There are many of my brothers and sisters in Christ with whom I have a “we’ll agree to disagree on this one thing”, but as John points out, we’re still all one body and that body is weaker when part of it goes away…

  4. Marcia says:

    “Jesus did not leave us a book of truths “….(and the entire last paragraph) SO true…way too often we seem to almost “worship” the Bible…I love that He came to question our answers! We don’t have them…let the journey continue…and WELCOME BACK MARK….so glad you didn’t just leave in frustration or anger or whatever it was. We need the challenges, the questions, the dialogue and mostly we all need the LOVE….and we need the practice arena for sharing His Love to each other!
    Thank you John, for the challenges, the insights, the new thoughts, the stretching. We are all more ‘alive’ for it and we’re ‘growing’ from the richness of all the sharing!

  5. Brian says:

    There have been times in my life where something someone said was like an arrow in my heart. Many of those times, it wasn’t deliberate and it wasn’t intended. That doesn’t necessarily make it hurt less but it is always a challenge to me as to how I’ll react. There were times when I was hurt because I was in a bad place and was especially vulnerable. At those times, I could choose to fight back with the consequence of hurting the other person (which comes out of the blue if they didn’t intend to hurt you in the first place). That doesn’t go so well and can become a huge relationship killer when it escalates out of control. What I’ve found works better is to be honest and tell the person that I am in a bad place and what they said hurt me. I go on to say that I don’t think that was your intent but still, it hurt. That works out way better and usually strengthens the relationship.

    I’m not suggesting this is what occurred here – I don’t know what transpired between you two. I’m glad to hear Mark is back. I hope your relationship will be strengthened. I just felt the need to share this nugget of wisdom I’ve learned over the years (and I had to learn this over and over again the hard way before I figured out the better way). I hope this helps someone who has had this struggle.

  6. Mark Seguin says:

    I liked today’s Catch ‘cauz it reminded me of a pretty good discussion between Suzan & Ralph yesterday:
    Suzan replying to Ralph’s post about the many discussion/questions along the way w/ our Lord near and around campfires: “And Jesus undoubtedly replied with a question like, “What do you think it means?” Just as he asked, “Who do you say I am?” Probably plenty of rousing arguments among the disciples over meaning and who was right or wrong in their interpretation too!”

    Thx 4 your kindness in posting welcome back, Marcia & Julie deeply appreciated it and you both… and Brian thank-you 4 sharing your “nugget of wisdom…” :)
    PS and Pete that is a very good quote from Pastor John, it reminds me of a little book i once read many years ago, which was built on Matt: 7:7 the Ask, seek and knock verse. In this lil book recommends to question your answers…

  7. Ralph M says:

    It’s a fine line for us who follow Christ to engage in a spirited debate of ideas with each other and still have our conversation make what we have in Him look attractive to those aren’t yet followers. I know I have a lot to learn in this regard.

  8. jwfisch says:

    I think those who aren’t yet followers would be more impressed that we could disagree and debate and still love each other than if we all simply agreed. Just like I’ve often thought that it would be a more powerful witness for Christians to be Republicans AND Democrats instead of all in one party.

  9. Mark Seguin says:

    I’ll add a very big YES to this: “…thought that it would be a more powerful witness for Christians to be Republicans AND Democrats instead of all in one party.” :)

    • Ralph M says:

      I agree wholeheartedly with you, John: “… be more impressed that we could disagree and debate and still love each other than if we all simply agreed.” Sadly, I see too many debates where there is very little love shown.

      The way you and the Catch community invited Mark back and then welcomed him when he returned IS a wonderful example of showing love. That is what I wish I saw more of in online communities.

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