I have an aversion to needles! It is not a “wussy” thing (well I don’t feel it is!) Apparently I occasionally suffer with a vasovagal response, I see this as the third option in the flight or flight conundrum, my body says “Stuff those two! I will play dead!”  I also am not a great lover of conflict, I will avoid it if I can! But I have realised during the last few weeks, that when I am faced with opposition on something I truly believe in, I will get fired up and really want to stand up against it!

When I was at high school before my GCSE years, I spoke to my science teacher and he said “I am not sure whether you will cope in the higher set but if you really want to do Biology, Chemistry and Physics, then we will let you!” So I was determined and got decent grades in the exams and from my coursework.  Despite my non-athletic ability, I must have had a determination to try hard in my Physical Education classes as they put me in the top set!? I hated it but appreciated the support that the more athletic classmates gave me!

But, I feel that in recent years I may have lost the “gumption” to argue my opinion, and I have been recalling times at school where I argued my point:-

  • arguing about soccer teams (Manchester United Vs Tottenham Hotspur mainly! I was on a losing battle, Spurs were low in the table!)
  • Explaining to the deputy head why the phrase “Help them, to help yourself!” was a apt phrase for classwork on adverts for the charity help the aged (My point being that if people set up programs and facilities to help the elderly now, when they themselves are elderly the natural thing would be for the same help to be present! Well, it made sense to me!)
  • Telling my classmate why saying “I am God!” was wrong and highly inaccurate! (I got the response from someone I thought was also a Christian of “Stop preaching!” All I said was “if you are God, you could move that tree out there by just saying “move!” But, you cannot because you are not!” Is that wrong?)
  • I had so much conviction of faith as a child that I managed to convert a friend before I had become a christian myself!

In the last few weeks however I have become fired up and really wanted to fight something that I considered “not of God“, I watched footage of things which were in my eyes “counter-biblical“, heard things which were either mind-boggling or ridiculously ungodly! The problem with getting angry and “fired up” is that you may not take time to hear the reasoning or facts!

Sometimes the facts that are put across, can be manipulated or misused to excuse that behaviour, laying on a tomb of a famous Christian to “suck up the anointing that he was given” is totally wrong in my opinion and justifying it with 2 Kings 13 verse 21 is even worse!

I am not generally one to spout off my opinion without a lot of thought and consideration, so when an alternative viewpoint to my own is expressed, I sometimes have to take a step back and think:-

  • “Am I wrong?”
  • “Am I so enraged that I have missed something?”
  • “Is what they are saying accurate? Does it sound right?”

The burning issue is when to argue and when to let it lie? A lot of people have left the forum discussion that I mentioned in last weeks blog post, one of the only ones left and possible the reason some have gone is that a self-confessed satanist joined the conversation!  He poured out insults like it was water, but when I challenged him on the reason he was being so negative about church, attributing it possibly to his admiration of the enemy of the Church, “Satan”, he said that he would wear the badge of “enemy of the church” with pride! At that point I refused to continue as it is not worth my time!

We are told to dwell on the things which are holy! When my wife and I watched footage of things apparently being done “in God’s name” by people “filled with the spirit!“, we were physically sickened, the more we read and thought about them the longer we stayed nauseated, we were disgusted that people could think that it was normal to act like animals or run around as if you were on fire, literally screaming in pain! (work of the spirit? I don’t think so!) But when we decided to leave it and think about other things the nausea subsided!

Now, what I am currently struggling to get my head around is:-

  1. If it is true that God is with us (We sing emmanuel enough times!!) Why are churches looking for his presence to be brought by people from other places?
  2. If the holy spirit is in us, why are we searching for new ways for him to show himself? Surely through our worship and giving space for the holy spirit to inspire us, we can experience him!
  3. Is speaking in tongues really a gift everyone needs? We already have a direct channel to God, in prayer, due to the curtain to the “holy of holies” tearing in two, at Jesus’ death! Paul encourages prophecy to build up the church, speaking in tongues is a gift that helps your heart communicate to God, unless there is an interpretation it is not meant to be used from the front!
  4. If even Satan can quote the bible, perform “miracles”, make people appear as “angels of light“, by what criteria do we judge someones ministry to see if it is one we should listen to or follow?
  5. Jesus is our brother, our saviour, our best friend, our role model, “god in the flesh“, are his words the only ones we should follow?

The only times when Jesus got frustrated and angered, unless i am mistaken, were when people were acting in an unjust, ungodly manner!

  • The temple sellers- imagine a church charging £20 entrance fee for anyone who was not a member before they could join the service!? That would be outrageous, and so was making money out of sin offerings, but doing so in the one place where non-jews could congregate in the temple! No wonder Jesus threw the furniture over!
  • People acting judgementally- “Who has not sinned throw a stone!“, “before pointing out your brother’s speck, sort the plank in your own eye out!
  • When demons were about to say who he was– It wasn’t the right time, if people followed Jesus just because he was a “miracle man”, then they would have missed the point of his presence on earth!
  • When his disciples kept falling asleep– He was about to be arrested, and his “best friends” couldn’t even stay awake and pray!

Jesus never judged, he never caused sadness, apart from when people refused to do the right thing, his timing and wisdom was always right!  I know that what one person may consider right, I might consider wrong, but if our “yardstick” is Jesus’ teachings, his actions, if our main aim is to love, I am sure we cannot go far wrong!  There will always be contentious issues, how we face those issues day-to-day is where our faith should shine out, it is what people look at, if we are not living and acting like Christ would, what do non-christians see? What do other people, less experienced in their “walk with Jesus” see? Are we unintentionally causing them to stumble as we are not being good examples?!