This week at fight club we talked about praying Gods judgement on other people. Now it’s not as dark as that may sound. Really we talked about Psalms of Judgement or also known as Imprecatory Psalms. In Psalms 69:24 David prays about the people that hate him and he ask God to make their peace to be a trap and to let their eyes be darken so they cannot see and he goes on about all these horrible things. But now you are wondering then why it does say in Matthew 5:43-45, YOU have heard that it was said, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.' "But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” Now we are getting mixed signals. Do we as Christians believe that we should pray judgment on other people? That we don’t have to forgive our enemies?
The conclusion that the group came up with was that we were reading about these in the wrong way. We think by asking God to bring judgment we want God to judge the conflict and ask him to take it from you because human anger is dangerous to our souls. So when you ask God to judge the situation and judge that person you’re asking God to take the conflict from yourself and have it handled in a Godly way. But when doing so you need to also forgive that person because it is exhausting to hold onto that anger and judgement. It’s freeing to forgive. If Jesus Christ could hang tired, beaten, and starved on a cross while people verbally attack him and still look to the father and say “forgive them father for they know not what they have done” then surly we should show mercy for enemies(Luke 23:24). With that being said, who in your life needs your forgiveness? Who do you need God to judge and take the conflict into his hands?
Most Christians would answer yes, absolutely yes, to this question. But that is not the case for the author of an article titled “Why the Bible is Not the Word of God.” In this article, the author explains that he is a minister at a Missionary Baptist church and tells us why he does not read the Bible. He believes that because people wrote the Bible, and not God, then it must not be true. He states that if there is any word of the Bible that doesn’t line up with God’s teachings, he will not believe it. Instead, he trusts that God will guide him through his faith life without it. If you’d like to read it, here’s the link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alexander-j-barron/why-the-bible-is-not-the-_b_7717552.html
Sure, it is hard to believe that the councils who gathered the holy books together to create the Bible weren’t corrupt in any way. But, wouldn’t have God guided them towards the right path since Christians everywhere would be reading it? This is what was discussed at the meeting on Wednesday. So, Christians read and refer to the Bible for many reasons, including: to increase their knowledge of their faith, to improve their relationship with God, to learn how to live like Jesus did, and to receive guidance, insight, and answers. A FIGHT Club member said that the Bible is the core of his faith life, having everything else influenced by it. The members agreed that much of their faith life comes from believing in the Bible because it is the foundation of our faith.
But, what happens when you think about the books that were kept out of the Bible centuries ago? Books like The Gospel of Judas, The Gospel of Thomas, and The Gospel of Mary Magdala? Were they kept out because those in the councils had a personal problem with them? Or because God guided them to leave them out, knowing they were incorrect? It can be hard to believe that the Bible is the exact Word of God since there has been much corruption throughout history. It can get even more difficult when you hear of the books that are unavailable to Catholics, the curiosity the contents in those books is enticing. But could curiosity get the best of us and lead us to find something better left unknown? A member brought up a time where two peoples’ curiosity had overcome them and led them to discover something horrible: the story of Adam and Eve. So, are these books supposed to be kept from us, maybe because the authors weren’t guided by God when writing them? Or do they contain truths that would destroy our faith? As a group, we were unable to agree upon one clear answer.
“Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” -2 Peter 1:20-21
Do you have faith in God that what we have as a guide is what we need?
For a long time I struggled with understanding how Jesus could be fully human and fully God. And because of this, it was hard for me to understand how God could fully understand me and my emotions and struggles. Even though I knew that God knows all, I still could not grasp his understanding. But thankfully, when I went on mission trip this year to Tec Nos Pos Arizona, I met a youth pastor named Nathan. Nathan was talking to our group and said he learned a really great way to explain how Jesus could be fully man and fully human through a book called The Humanity of Jesus by Dr. Dann Spader. The way Nathan explained it to me was that God put his "God powers" on hold so that he could understand our lives and become one with us as a human. Throughout the bible it has numerous passages about God going off and praying and using the Holy Spirit. If Jesus was always fully God at all times he would not need to rely on prayer and the Holy Spirit for anything. But because we have such an awesome loving God he wanted to experience our lives with us so he turned off his God powers and lived as we did. So I encourage everyone that does not have a strong prayer life to try to strengthen it because if Jesus, born without sin, and our Savior, Shepard, and redeemer prayed and listened then as sinners, we do need it on our lives. God Bless.
"One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God." Luke 6:12
What would Jesus do? We have all seen the bracelets and we have all heard this question. For some people it is a joke but for others it is an actual question that they ask themselves daily. But do they really know, what would Jesus do?
Tori ran the meeting today. She is an amazing person and is part of the leadership team, but I will let her introduce herself in future blog post. We started the night with the question, what would a life look like if everyone knew exactly what Jesus wanted them to do? Most answers from the group was that the world would be perfect. Although this is true, having God here would make it a lot easier especially him telling us yes and no right to our face but we also have to consider, what does Jesus want you to do in your life specifically? What purpose does he have for you?
Next thing we did was split into small groups. We read a satire article by Rick Mooney about a mom that gives her son a WWJD bracelet and she tells him use this to make all of your decisions. The boy took that bracelet to heart, he became friends with prostitutes, hung out with the sinners, went to church and tore down the book shelf, overturned the tables, threw the cash register out the window, and chased the pastor out of the church saying he was turning Gods house into a den of thieves, and even worse that, while the mother was protesting an abortion clinic she saw him comforting a woman that just had an abortion and said to the protesters, “you who are without sin throw the first stone!” The mother decided she needed to do something about this so she gave him a new bracelet that said WWAPD, what would a Pharisee do? And after using that bracelet he became a dedicated tither, a public prayer warrior, a condemner of sinners and has a great reputation as a godly young man among religious people. The mother is now happy and wishes Jesus would take note of her son’s good behavior and follow in his example.
If you were to act like the first son with the WWJD bracelet, what would people think of you? Is there a line that gets crossed when acting as Jesus acted? Someone in the group said that there would be a lot of negative press for Christianity if we acted that way. But then we need to ask ourselves when did the world’s view of us become more important than how God wants us to live our lives? The conclusion my small group came up with is that we need to do all things with good intentions. To talk about your faith and beliefs but make sure it is out of love not out of pride or anger.
Now I am also not saying to go to your local church and flip the tables over but to really ask yourself what Jesus would actually do. And personally I think Jesus would hate the sins and love the sinner. And a Pharisee would condemn the sinner. So who do you want to be? What would your bracelet say? Would it say WWJD or WWAPD?
My name is Carly Smith and I am on the leadership team for FIGHT club. I help with making sure people write meetings, and making sure everyone knows what we talk about. I will be writing most of these posts on meetings that we have, but every now and again there will be a guest blogger. Please tell us what you think. I hope you enjoy:)