The mission of this blog is to improve Christian Integrity.
What does this mean?
First let me explain the problem.
- There are messages being disseminated that are not supported in the biblical sense unless being wildly taken out of context by people who say they are Christians.
- There are people I know and people I don’t know on social media who claim to be Christian saying very unchristian things.
- The message of Christianity is being blended with the message of political groups, which is distorting and/or diluting the Christian faith.
- There are a lot of people who have been turned against God and Christianity because of the top three items in this list. I believe that is a problem we need to address.
I believe Christian Integrity means you do these six things:
- Think and act in a way that is consistent with the teachings of Jesus and his disciples at all times, in all situations.
- Properly discern righteous behavior through careful study of the Word of God.
- Present God’s Word to others in a way that is consistent with the heart of God’s laws.
- Do not condemn others for sin.
- Gently correct fellow Christians using careful discernment and study of the Word of God.
- Serve and advocate only for Jesus.
So lets address each of these:
First, we must think and act in a way that is consistent with the teachings of Jesus and his disciples at all times, in all situations. There are people in the world that want to spread false teachings of God and Christianity for an evil agenda that opposes God. If we look and sound like those individuals, we make it very hard for people to determine who to believe. How can we expect unbelievers to discern right from wrong if we show that we can’t? Social media is not an excuse to go nuts and forget your faith and your mission. All of us must act responsibly on behalf of the Christian message, the entire Christian faith, and most importantly, Jesus.
This has to do with what Jesus expects from us:
30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Next we must be able to properly discern righteous behavior through careful study of the Word of God. We shouldn’t be taking Christian positions when we don’t understand the context, history, and heart of the messages being shared in God’s word. There are many who believe that God’s word is meant to be taken literally, but the problem with that is none of those words were written in modern languages. The biblical scholars who did the translations did their best to preserve the meanings of the words, but they are not written exactly as God provided it to those authors of the scripture. It is important for all of us to study and determine what the heart of the message is, using historical references and translations, and cross referencing similar situations at different points in the Old and New Testament. From that careful study, we can discern what is truly right and truly wrong.
1 Kings 3: 7-12
7 “Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. 8 Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. 9 So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”
10 The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. 11 So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, 12 I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be.
The third piece to Christian Integrity is to present God’s Word to others in a way that is consistent with the heart of the law. Often, scriptural references are used out of context and the heart of the law is lost. The heart of the law means the intended purpose behind it. The U.S. Supreme court sometimes makes decisions based on the heart of our laws.
Below Jesus explains that healing on the sabbath does not break the heart of the law. The law isn’t meant to prevent you from doing what is necessary, that isn’t the intent behind the words.
9 Going on from that place, he went into their synagogue, 10 and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to bring charges against Jesus, they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”
11 He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? 12 How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”
13 Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other. 14 But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus.
Once we have carefully studied and discerned the truth between right and wrong. Once we have learned the heart of the law. Then we must remember that we are not to use that knowledge to condemn others. Our job is not to punish the wicked, to call out the unrighteous, or to make the sinful feel pain for what they have done. Our job is to be examples to everyone in a way that makes them want to turn away from Sin instead of turn away from God. When Jesus said do not Judge or you will be judged by the same measure, he was saying to not condemn others for their actions or you too will be condemned by your actions.
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
Next, we can’t just allow our fellow Christians to veer off the path. We must gently correct our fellow Christians using the Word of God and in a private way. It is very important for all of us to carefully study the Word of God, and examine what it says about a problem we are seeing in the actions or words of other Christians. After study, then we bring it up with that individual privately to help them understand what God expects from them. It shouldn’t be about shaming them, which would be considered condemnation. It should be about making sure they stay on the path of righteousness and the path to Jesus. We shouldn’t correct our friends and family because we are right and they are wrong, but because we love them and we want them to be in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Even though the above scripture of Luke 6 says do not judge and do not condemn as separate things, he says Judge correctly in John 7, and gives direction on correcting sin in Matthew 18.
21 Jesus said to them, “I did one miracle, and you are all amazed. 22 Yet, because Moses gave you circumcision (though actually it did not come from Moses, but from the patriarchs), you circumcise a boy on the Sabbath. 23 Now if a boy can be circumcised on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses may not be broken, why are you angry with me for healing a man’s whole body on the Sabbath? 24 Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.”
15 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
Last, but most important, we need to advocate and follow only Jesus. There are a lot of groups, ideas, and movements in the world. All of these have different agendas. You cannot mix the agenda from one of those groups with the agenda of Jesus. Jesus is the only master we should serve, and the word of God is the only source of how to live we should use.
There are many things in this world we can learn and discuss that doesn’t conflict with the teachings of Jesus, however, it can be very dangerous to start looking to those things when making decisions on how to live. Political fundamentals and ideology are based on getting elected, not serving Jesus. Even if we believe they are about serving the people, they are still not about serving Jesus. Politics and Jesus do not mix any more than God and Money. Jesus is the living water, and everything else on earth is oil. If we keep oil in our cup of living water, it will always rise above and become what is most seen and consumed. We should not mix the messy oil of politics and other worldly ideas with our living water. We must scrape our spiritual cups and discard earthly thoughts and ideas. Only then will we be serving only one master.
10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”
13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.