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Posts Tagged ‘Christians’

So I am finally trying to get around to this list of a half dozen or so “blog ideas” that I’ve been collecting for over a year!  Figured this one should be short and sweet.

Late last spring I heard a Sunday School teacher teaching on 1 Corinthians 13.  And I can’t remember where or when she said this thought struck her, but she mentioned an analogy or word picture for the whole love “keeps no record of wrongs” part.

A cache.  Like in a computer.  Like in your web browser history.  Forgiving someone (and keeping no record of wrongs) is like clearing your cache – clearing out your web browser history and cookies.

The picture struck a chord with me.  And not only that, but my mind continued on further…. including remembering how a pastor in California once included in a sermon how we can’t move on and forgive when we keep rehashing (rethinking and retelling) the incident.

In many browsers, though I am now most keenly aware of it in Google’s Chrome, if you start to type an address, it will fill it in for you from places you’ve been before (your browser history).  In fact, with Chrome, you can type the website name and even as you start with a few letters it knows which sites you visit the most and will fill in the rest for you…

These browsers have an amazing memory.  Unfortunately, we as humans also tend to have an amazing memory when it comes to ways in which we were hurt or wronged.  It doesn’t take many keystrokes for our memories to pull up the places we’ve been hurt.  Just a few keystrokes and there it is again, that place we were wronged.  And, like Google’s Chrome browser, the more often you visit the site, the quicker it comes back.

This is great for web browsers, but bad for us as Christians.

1 Corinthians 13:5 tells us that love “keeps no record of wrongs.”  We are called to love and we are called to forgive.  Now, forgiveness doesn’t mean that we excuse the wrong done, or sweep it under the rug, or immediately trust and have an intimate relationship again – but forgiveness does mean that we choose (by the power and grace of God) not to hold the wrong against the person who wronged us, not to hold onto a grudge or take revenge.  In other words, to keep no record of wrongs.

The old song relays God saying to us:

What sins are you talking about
I don’t remember them anymore.
From the Book of Life they’ve all been torn out
I don’t remember them anymore.

 

God forgives and chooses not to remember.  To keep no record of wrongs.  To clear the cache.

And we as His followers are called to do the same.  So allow God into the “preferences panel” of your life.  Allow Him to adjust your settings.  Delete the browser history, get rid of the cookies.

Keep no record of wrongs.

Clear your cache.

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A decade ago I read a book for my teaching class in college.  In it the author explained how one time he had made the comment that “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink” to which a tall West Texan had replied, “you’re wrong, son.  You can feed him salt.”

That has forever stuck with me.  I thought about it last week in Sunday School.  Before class started we were discussing our current book/curriculum (on evangelism) and how some people (who don’t believe in or follow Jesus) seem to have their lives so together that they don’t seem receptive to the message we are trying to tell them.  And I mentioned how too often we feel the pull to create a false need so that we can provide the answer.  Like we will dig around their lives for some bad aspect or look for bad news so we can share the “good news.”

And that metaphor of feeding salt to horses came to mind.  And I shuddered.  For to me, the metaphor was beautiful and wise.  And the thought of trying to create  a need in someone’s life so my “good news” can fill it is ugly and dishonest.  It did not sit well with me…

So today in Sunday School we were watching the video part of this next lesson.  And the guys were talking about how we wrongly focus on trying to share the good news by telling others how God has a wonderful plan for their lives and that if they say a prayer to receive Jesus they will be at peace and find contentment and be happier than they can imagine.  They pointed out how this doesn’t work because many people already feel at peace or content or happy.  Then they brought up that same metaphor I’d heard long before by suggesting we can “salt the oats” in order to get the horse to drink.

Oh, no! I thought. They’re not going there are they?  After the weeks they spent pounding into us that the “health and wealth” gospel is not the true Good News and that we tend to go about evangelism all wrong, I got a bit confused and concerned.

But they weren’t talking about happiness for salt, they were talking about righteousness!  See, it is true that knowing Jesus will bring us peace and joy and that in Jesus we can find contentment.  But it is also true that Jesus promised us trouble in this world and that those who really follow after Him not only frequently face similar struggles (losing jobs, getting sick, being hurt by others), we also can expect ridicule, persecution and even death for our beliefs!  So in addition to a true, deep peace (one that often doesn’t make sense) and a true, deep joy (that encompasses even suffering) we need to also remember that Jesus brings His presence and His righteousness and His justice to our lives and saves us from Hell and eternal separation from God!

And that’s when it really hit me.  Righteousness is salt.  Happiness is sugar.  Sugar will dehydrate the body and create a thirst, but pure water doesn’t seem to quench that.  It almost takes a sugar-water (kool-aid, fruit juices, soda, etc) to do that, but they then create more thirst and it becomes a vicious cycle.

Salt, on the other hand, can be quenched by water.  Salt is distinctive and, if nothing else, highlights the need for water.  It brings it to the fore and makes it obvious.  If we are trying to get people to see and understand the Good News, we need to be showing them the salt of righteousness and not the sugar of happiness!

Aren’t we as Christians, after all, supposed to be the salt of the earth?  But if the salt loses its saltiness – what good is it?

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