Wednesday, October 2, 2013

People of Principle: The 1 Corinthians 15:33 Effect

I know I'm a difficult person with which to befriend. Lately, I've really been trying to self-assess as to why that may be.  Going through the list of some accusations that have been levied against me; Am I just a jerk? Am I "self-righteous/arrogant"? Can I really not "tolerate" anyone who disagrees with me? Or the most "loving" accusation I've had to endure is, Do I have a "chemical imbalance" or "serious personal problems", or "mental issues"? Well, I think I finally figured out what is going on.
  • JERK?
Seeing someone as "jerk" is merely an opinion.  What constitutes being a jerk? Is a "jerk" someone who tends not to compromise?  Is a "jerk" someone who attempts to be honest in all dealings?  If that is the definition of a "jerk", then I would be guilty.  Rather, it seems that those who claim I'm just a "jerk" are never very specific though I ask them, even plead with them to be specific.  It seems really, that I'm just not as touchy-feely, fuzzy-wuzzy as they want me to be.
This charge is perhaps even more preposterous than the "jerk" charge.  I mean, I don't have anything to be "self-righteous" or arrogant about.  I've professed to being a troll-looking fellow, who cannot boast of any formal theological training, who has confessed sins so publicly that my enemies like to constantly remind me of the specific past sins.  I am solidly "Calvnistic", knowing full well that even our righteousness is as filthy rags.  You won't hear me go on and on about who I know (name-dropping).  How can this accusation be put forth?  I fully admit I am a nothing, which is what we all are the moment we attempt to elevate ourselves.
This charge is perhaps the most humorous considering the variety of people with which I associate.  The theological diversity, the cultural diversity of my friends and acquaintances is all over the map.  But I admit, one thing I look for is integrity and honesty; even from non-Christians.  A duplicit and underhanded person is no one I will "tolerate" for long.  This cuts at the very heart of who the person is; atheist, Christian, or pagan.  If a person is not honest, I really don't like to spend much time around them.  You can disagree with me all you want about many things, and yet I will befriend you and be as loyal a friend as you would know.  But the moment you show a pattern of deceit, pandering to others, betrayal of trust, then sure, I don't care how long I've known you, you and I wouldn't get along very well.  I'd expect the same treatment if I was behaving in such a dishonorable manner.  Forgiveness?  Indeed, more than 70x7, especially if the repentance is sincere (Mt 18).
This is perhaps the most heinous accusation put forth, and believe it or not, mainly by people claiming to be "Christians" -- even implied by a seminary president of all people.  It seems we can no longer boldly resist wrong doctrine without being accused of mental problems.  What is stranger is that many of the folks that have claimed this of me, are themselves way more unstable than I, yet I never question their mental abilities.  For example, I have had one wife, of 20+ years.  I've raised a well-rounded daughter who gets As and Bs in school and has never been in any serious trouble.  I've held steady employment since I was 16 years old and quickly excel into higher positions.  I have friends and acquaintances that seek my public and private counsel.  I do "normal" activities, like spend time with my family, have company over, work in my yard, and things we'd expect a "sane" person to do.
So, if none of these things are to blame for why I often find myself "banned" from certain Internet forums or sometimes break association with even what were long time "friends", what is the issue?
I tend to hold people to principle, to intergity, and to honor.  I expect this out friends and want them to expect this out of me.  This is based primarily on the reverse of 1 Corinthians 15:33 NIV wherein we read:
Do not be misled: "Bad company corrupts good character."
I seek friends, associations, and company of "good character" so that I may too be held to such a standard.  People who claim that there is no such thing as "guilty by association" have obviously never understood this passage.  Further, they must not understand that we humans were made guilty by association...with Adam (Romans 5:12).  But better for us, that by our "association" with Christ, we are made innocent before God (Romans 5:15-19).
So, let these people say what they will, charge what they will charge. I hear them and I am constantly trying to make my calling and election sure (2 Peter 1:10), trying to test to see if what these people say is true.  As part of the community of saints, I am accountable to the community of saints.  I seek to be a testimony of Christ's love, which ISN'T some fuzzy, wishy-washy feeling but as Jesus says, If you love [Him], you'll obey what [He] commands (John 14:15).  Standing for doctrine is important, it is standing for "love".  For who can say they "love" Jesus yet seem to not care about what He commands? Christians are supposed to be people of principle.

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