Wednesday, April 05, 2006

CrossTies Devotional Article for April 2, 2006

The Erring Brother
By Bill Denton

My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.  (James 5:19-20, NASB95)

People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered. Love them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Be good anyway.
Honesty and frankness will make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.
People need help but may attack you if you try to help them. Help them anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.
               Kent M. Keith, "The Paradoxical Commandments," from The Silent
               Revolution: Dynamic Leadership in the Student Council

We have a responsibility to help brothers and sisters in Christ who have strayed from the truth of God’s word, and somehow become embroiled in the ways of the world.  It is not an easy thing to do.  Sometimes, those who have chosen to live contrary to truth do not want our help.  Sometimes, they exhibit a spirit of rebellion so strong that they reject any well-intentioned help.  In fact, I cannot think of anyone living in error who displays a completely God-like attitude devoid of the influences of their error.  Of course, at times we try to be magnanimous about things, and point out that “erring brothers and sisters” are the only kind of brothers and sisters we have.  The point, I think, is that everyone we know needs help to be true to God.

I believe that little quip is true.  The only brothers and sisters I have are “erring” brothers and sisters.  There is one thing that gets lost on some people, however, and it’s worth mentioning here.  The only kind of brothers and sisters that our erring brothers and sisters have are also erring brothers and sisters.  Did I lose you on that one?  What I’m trying to say is that if you think of others as “erring” then should you not also give yourself the same description?

Some Christians seem to have the attitude that “error” is always the other guy’s problem.  Hopefully, that is true, for if we are following God’s will as best we can, then surely we’ll be more right than wrong.  But, we must avoid the pride-filled, self-righteous attitude that afflicts the hearts of more than a few Christians that leads us to discount the possibility of our own error.

Someone once said that when we point our finger at the other guy, there are three pointing back at us.  That’s a good observation.  Yes, we can, and should, be sensitive to those who allow error to creep into their lives.  When that happens, we must love them and help them, even if they don’t always display the best of attitudes and behaviors.  But we must be aware that we are also prone to errors, and sometimes we need help from others.  At times, the erring brother is us..

© Copyright  2006, Dr. Bill DentonAll Rights Reserved.Articles may not be reprinted in any "for profit" publication without further permission by the author. Articles may be freely distributed via e-mail, reprinted in church bulletins or in other non-profit publications without further permission. Please keep this copyright and Web Site information intact with copied articles. Articles are sent originally to subscribers only. You may have received a forwarded or reprinted copy.
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