Saturday, February 14, 2009

Be afraid.. be very afraid

Last year, Bevan said to me, "It must be hard having an opinion on everything".

Now, he wasn't being sarcastic. He was genuine. People who are easy going seem to let many things slide, but others seem to be able to find a standpoint on everything, from how the grocery bags are packed at woolworths, to the colour of the serviettes in the church foyer.

There's no prize for guessing which category I fall into.

If ever there was an organisation where everyone has an opinion, it's got to be the church. We all have opinions, some stronger than others, on what time church starts, what songs are played, the outfit of the speaker, how long the service goes for etc etc. There are just so many things to analyse and critique. I know I'm putting myself out there.. but I know I'M NOT THE ONLY ONE!

I'm not blogging on this because I've heard things, or because I've been asked to. The following scripture was in my daily quiet time, and it's on my heart to share it.

In Numbers 12:1-16 Miriam felt uninhibited to share her opinions on Moses' conduct and leadership. Moses was the leader of the Israelites, of which she was a member.

She said to Moses, "Has the Lord spoken only through Moses?.. Hasn't he also spoken through us?"

In other words, "Moses - do you think that God only speaks to you?? We hear from God too. You view isn't the only one that counts"

At this point, God came to Moses' defence. He said:

"He [Moses] is faithful in all my house.
With Him I speak face to face, clearly not in riddles;
He sees the form of the Lord
Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?

For her lack of respect for Moses' position, and her lack of restraint in judging Moses' actions, Miriam was given a leprous disease for 7 days.

This story sends a very clear message.

In our church, we have leaders that God has appointed to lead us through journey God has set before us. Those leaders will not always do things the way we think it should be done. In fact, sometimes we think they are just plain wrong.

However, God is clear. Be extremely cautious, or just don't, speak out against the people that God has placed in positions of authority in our lives, particularly in our church.

Be sure to treat our leaders with the honour they deserve, and not to become complacent with the familiar. Don't fall into the trap of mentally elevating yourself where you think "God talks to me too - my view is just as important"

What it does mean is to show restraint? Life and death are in the of the tongue. Blessings dwell in the place of unity. The quickest way to destroy unity is to speak out against our leaders without restraint.

Our leaders spend much time in God's presence seeking guidance and wisdom on how to lead our church. However, when we speak without restraint, how many of us have first sought God for his wisdom and guidance on how to best approach our difference of opinion.

Does this mean we blindly follow without turning on our brains - NO!

God has given us guidelines on resolving disputes, in particular, going to the person you have a grievance with and talking about it with a spirit of conciliation and love.

So the next time there is an urge to share an opinion about the way things are done .. be afraid.. be very afraid.

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