Saturday, November 14, 2015

WMTRBW 12:Stories That Shape Us

In chapter twelve, ‘Stories That Shape Us’, the topic of interpretation is discussed. Webster’s dictionary defines interpretation as ‘the action of expanding the meaning of something’.  It seems so simple and straightforward, yet many of the problems we experience today (especially in matters of faith) come down to differing interpretations of belief. When discussing the topic of interpretation, it’s important to remember two very important things: 
#1 God’s Word is living and active – “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)
#2 God’s Word is revealed through His Spirit – “These are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.” (1 Corinthians 2:10 – 13)

In today’s culture, there are many heated debates on spiritual, political, and other matters. Even if we don’t agree with each other on some of these topics, we as Christians can at least agree to following Jesus’ example in how we respond and interact with one another…
#1  Loving – Jesus taught us about love. On a few occasions, He was asked which is the most important commandment, and His response was, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these." Jesus gave us some examples of what it means to love through His teaching and His words. Through His compassion and healing of the sick, Jesus taught us to care for one another and take care of those who are in need. At the last supper when He washed the feet of His disciples, He taught us that we need to serve those we love. One of Jesus' most famous and difficult teachings is to love not just our friends and family, but also our enemies. Jesus explained that there is nothing special or extraordinary in loving those who love us back - even wicked people do as much. He said, "But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back."
#2 Judging- Jesus warned us not to judge others since we are all sinners. Jesus said, "How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."
#3 Forgiving – Jesus taught us that when we repent of the bad things we've done and ask God to forgive us, He will hear us and forgive us. But first, we must forgive those who have wronged us, otherwise God the Father will not forgive us. It is not enough to forgive only once - we must forgive every time we are wronged. Jesus said, "If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, 'I repent,' forgive him."

Just as the mother in chapter 12 encouraged her daughter to come to her own interpretation of the Elijah story, maybe we can also demonstrate that kind of grace with each other. When we fully listen to one another, we have a full encounter and are able to understand each other’s viewpoint. Together, we make the road by listening and engaging.

No comments: