Friday, February 27, 2015

Time To Deal With Real Sins

1 Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, 3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. – Ephesians 4:1–3 (NASB95)
In 1937, a researcher at Harvard University began a study (originally named The Harvard Study of Adult Development) on what factors contribute to human well-being and happiness. . . Over the period of 72 years, several men have directed the research. For the last 42 years, the director has been psychiatrist George Vaillant. In 2008 someone asked Dr. Vaillant what he had learned about human health and happiness from his years of poring over the data on these 268 men. You would expect a complex answer from a Harvard social scientist, but his secret to happiness was breathtakingly simple: "The only thing that really matters in life are your relationships to other people." – Joshua Wolf Shenk, "What Makes Us Happy?" The Atlantic (June 2009), pp. 36–53
I believe the secret to church unity is in the first three verses of Ephesians 4. It simply matters how you live with other people. And Christians are called to live a particularly different kind of life.

You cannot be hypercritical, complaining, and grumpy. It matters how you engage others, how you talk to them, how you treat them. You cannot be selfish and self-centered. You cannot be irritable and hard to get along with. All these, and anything similar to them, are destined to ruin your relationships with others. This is true whether it’s relationships at work, at home, at school, at church, wherever you are.

I learned a long time ago that if you want to find some of the most cruel, unkind, uncaring, and hurtful people then go to church. What’s amazing is that very often they are the very people who think of themselves as solid, sound Christians!

The real truth is that the Christian calling, and the Christian life is something very different from what such people think it to be. It’s time we stop being afraid to call these people on their sins -- the real sins that are actually mentioned in the Bible. Pride, arrogance, insensitive roughness, impatience, intolerance, and a lack of love are all real sins. They violate God’s will. For too long, we have allowed these sins to live unchallenged in the church. The result is that outsiders see these traits for what they are, and they are choosing to go elsewhere. One great reason people are fleeing the church today is that it's not really the church.

There is a right way to live with other people. Spend your life living Eph. 4:1-3.