Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Non-Defensive, Non-Judgmental and Respectful Faith

There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you- who are you to judge your neighbour?  James 4:12

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.  Philippians 2:3

Non-Defensive, Non-Judgmental and Respectful Faith

            Has someone ever challenged you about your faith beliefs?
How did you respond? Those with healthy faith refrain from ‘defining the truth for others but offer what they have experienced in their own lives in order that others may understand and see for themselves what Christian faith involves. Healthy faith attracts people. Those who become touchy and defensive repulse other people; they forget how incredibly attractive Christ was as people were drawn to him.
            We are called to bear one another’s burdens and to forgive. Tolerate one another remembering that you, unworthy as you are, have been forgiven of all your sins by Jesus Christ. We forget this when we think we are better than others. But if we are to have healthy faith we are not to judge others. Healthy believers look for similarities of experience that might help establish a relationship. They also look at developing their own personal relationship with God that they have no time to judge where others might be in their relationship.
            How respectful are you in your faith? The church often sees “isms” as divisive factors—age- young and old, sex- male and female, unemployed-working. These are divisive because there is a need to take individuals as they are and offer respect because we are all brothers and sisters in Jesus. But do we do this? We often judge and then respond. We often counter anything suggested by those on the margin or lift them up to the extreme. But what happens too is that there is a need to know Christ. Respect His Spirit’s work in others and accept this for we might even grow through this too.
To be challenged in our faith enables us to question what we believe, to find out answers, ask questions for ourselves and talk with others who are Christians. They too experience what you encounter and from one each other- all will grow stronger.

Have you judged/ misjudged other people in your life and then later discovered the need to retract your thoughts about them or even your actions against them? What is it that causes us to do this? Not knowing how to communicate effectively or to be sensitive to the needs of others is often blamed. But one of the most important reasons we do things like this on impulse is because we just don’t know any better. We have not learned to listen properly, be attentive to the needs of others or even looked to others for help and assistance in discovering difference amongst people,
What might you do to grow in this and learn to have more tolerance?
God, you love us all- red brown yellow black white- male female—and you know us for who we are because you created us in your image yet made us to be individuals with minds to think and hearts to love. And you call us to love others as you do. But we don’t do this well. We judge and misjudge, we are not tolerant or willing to be tolerant and we do not always respect the faith of others nor do we always respect others. These are fundamental in how we relate to others as human beings and we fail to do this well. Help us, teach us as Jesus did. Show us how to love you and reach out in your loving ways. Be with us in our daily challenges we pray. Amen.

This reflection is based upon ideas of by Stephen Arterburn and Jack Felton More Jesus Less Religion: Moving from Rules to Relationship. Colorado Springs, Co: Waterbrook Press,2000.     Chapter 9-10

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