NT Tuesday: Superstorm Sandy

Superstorm Sandy Fifth Avenue Chapel 01

Fifth Avenue Chapel, 5th Avenue & B Street, Belmar, NJ

 

As the northeastern US is recovering from Hurricane Sandy (or Superstorm Sandy), I can’t help but think about the reality of the “one another” verses. Over the last few months, we’ve looked at a number of verses from the New Testament where the Christian is instructed to behave in a certain way towards other Christians.

I have suggested since the beginning, that these “one another” verses are, in fact, New Testament principles. And, as New Testament principles, they should govern how we relate to one another and react to certain circumstances.

So, with that being said – how did we, as believers, do in response to Sandy? Sadly, I am not sure how to respond to it because, to my shame, I really haven’t been able to participate in a significant way in helping others. It’s been frustrating, but it’s also been enlightening.

Superstorm Sandy Belmar NJ Fifth Avenue Chapel 02

5th & B St., Belmar, NJ Looking West

Just a little bit of background. My wife and I live north of Allentown. Our house suffered very minor damage during the storm (just to the exterior of the home) and we never (yes, never) lost power. Before we could phone some folks from the chapel, my family moved in. By the end of Tuesday, we had 12 people and three dogs living in our home. (We did have a young man from our assembly who moved in on Sunday). Needless to say, we were “occupied” with that. But, doesn’t an extreme situation require extreme measures? Yes!

There were numerous folks from the meeting in Allentown, PA and a multitude of dear brothers and sisters in NJ and NY who needed basic things – heat, power, food, gas, etc. What could have or should have we done and why didn’t we do it? It’s easy to blame something outside of ourselves – the assembly, the situation, etc. But, part of looking at these “one another” verses is to emphasize that we have an obligation as individual Christians to behave in a certain way.

Superstorm Sandy 8th and Main  Belmar NJ Looking East

8th & Main, Belmar, NJ Looking East

So, what could have or should have we done? My wife and I spoke about this recently and came up with a few things that we should have done. (Just for further clarification – we are currently on a trip to Man O Way, Bahamas where we have the privilege of teaching the Word of God for three weeks to the saints there so we can’t do much about it now). So, from that stand point, perhaps we are more in tune and better mentally prepared the next time this happens.

But the question of “why” didn’t we do more is an interesting one. I think it goes to the heart of what has happened to many of us – certainly to me. We have become complacent as it pertains to our obligations to each other – we don’t think about it, because we expect that the government will help out when someone needs help or the “assembly” will do it.

Superstorm Sandy Belmar NJ 4th and Cst Looking East

4th & C St., Belmar, NJ Looking East

When will we realize that the assembly is a body of individual believers and if we keep saying things like “the assembly should have done this or that” what we really are saying is that “the believers other than me should have done something about it.”

What I have learned is that I am not a very good “brother’s keeper”. Hopefully Sandy has taught us all what it means to be brothers and sisters in Christ and what it means to “love one another” (John 13:34-35) in a biblical and tangible sense.

Until next week, fulfill YOUR ministry!

 

 

 

 

Read More

NT Tuesday: Bearing & Forgiving One Another

Forgive One AnotherLast week took a week off, kind of, to discuss the concept of modesty as described in the New Testament. This week we will return to the “one another” verses and discuss the practical applications and relevance of following these verses as a requirement for fulfilling our responsibility of being New Testament principle practicing Christians.

This week’s (and next week’s) blog will be on the idea of “bearing with one another” and “forgiving each other.” Paul writes in Colossians 3:12-13 ESV, “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other, as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must forgive.

Similar thoughts are also shared in Ephesians 4:1-2 ESV. There Paul writes, “I, therefore, a prisoner for the Lord urge you to walk in the manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love…”

 


Bearing With One Another



 

Let’s first look at the idea of “bearing with one another.” The idea of bearing is based on the word “forbear.” To forbear is to refrain from or forgo exercising one’s rights when offended or wronged. For example, if a police officer stops you when you were speeding, and he chooses not to give you a ticket, in essence, he has exercised “forbearance” on behalf of the state. He had every right to give you (or me) a ticket, but he chose not to do so. If you miss a loan payment, the bank could chose to repossess your house, but it might chose to forbear and allow you time to straighten things out.

Likewise, as Christians, we are often wronged by others and we often wrong others. Not every wrong must be addressed. In other words, we don’t need to demand an apology and confession every time someone wrongs us. In fact, it would be a good exercise to chose to forbear in many, many instances.

Because believers have a sense of what is right and wrong, as defined from the Bible, we are often inclined toward correcting the wrong and making it right. Does God do that to us? Yes, I know, every one of our sins has been forgiven and has been paid for on the cross of Calvary by our lovely Lord Jesus Christ. Clearly, it would be far more Christ like to forbear when offended than demand an apology every time we are offended. In my experience, people who are easily offended are usually people who are not very happy. They tend to cause division in assemblies. They tend to have a lot of broken relationships and they usually don’t add much to the functioning of the local body because they are too busy being offended and demanding that the wrong be made right.

 


Tolerance & Patience Vs. Provocation



 

Another idea of “bearing with one another” is the idea that we tolerate and patient in the face of provocation. The best solution in dealing with each other is being very patient and tolerate each other’s weaknesses (not sins, but weaknesses). Does the Lord bear with us? Of course the answer is YES, therefore, we ought to emulate His conduct, because we are united with Him and walk in newness of life with Him. It’s not our life, but His that we live. Therefore, our life should look like His.

Until next week, fulfill your ministry!

[photo credit]

 

 

 

 

Read More