Month 1:28, Week 4:6 (Sheshi/Kippur), Year:Day 5936:028 AM|
Gregorian Calendar: Thursday 19 April 2012
Overlooking in Love
We are, unfortunately, shaped by the culture in which we were brought up in, and most of us - if we are totally honest - believe deep down that our own culture, when it differs from the culture of others, is probably superior.
I live in a country - Sweden - where confrontation is practically taboo. This can be a very frustrating culture to live in if you have been brought up in one where it is normal to be confrontational. The Bible makes it very plain that there are times when it is necessary to confront fellow believers in ahavah (love) but that it is equally important to learn when you should not confront. Whether your default mdoe is to avoid confrontation, or to be confrontational in everything down to the minutest detail, it is important that whatever we were conditioned to do by our national cultures be put aside and that we learn to do things the Biblical way.
Culture is, after all, a function of mental programming and psychic reactivity. As Messianics and Christians we are required to conform our thinking to that of Messiah, subject our emotions to the lev (heart) of Messiah, and learn to be propelled by the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) and not our mentally and psychicially conditioned reflexes.
It is a fact that needs to be learned early on in ones discipleship that if covenant brothers or sisters in the Besorah (Gospel) feel a need to confront one another at all times, they will soon get worn out and lose the simcha (joy) of their relationships. Keith Intrater wisely reminds us:
Many like to confront others to either make themselves feel more comfortable (because of something that annoys them in someone else) or because they subsconsciously feel their mental-psychic-spiritual system should be the rôle model that others around us should conform themselves too - in other words, they think they're right. Needless to say, this is not only an egotistical view of life but definitely not the biblical model. Yahweh is primarily concerned that we are all moving forward toward Him and that as fellow believers we encourange and affirm each other.
"We are not out to manufacture a product but to learn how to love one another. Confrontation is only done to the extent that it enhances the relationship. Much of the time we can extend the grace to one another to overlook a problem" (Keith Intrater, Covenant Relationships: A Handbook for Integrity and Loyalty, Destiny Image Publishers, Shippensburg, PA: 1989, p.115)
For one thing, it is not even possible to confront all defective areas in a person's life at the same time. As long as a person is making progress, it is not actually necessary to confront him. We may jump to a subjective and erroneous conclusion that the person is not progressing fast enough and that he is making almost no progress at all without realising that the degree of improvement is directly related to how the obstacle preventing improvement appears to the one involved. The chances are they may be virtually blind to what we ourselves can see. And I can guarantee that Yahweh sees even better than us. That being so, how does Yahweh deal with His children?
What may seem as a minor challenge to one person may be a major challenge to another. We dare not, as talmidim (disciples), be so presumptuous as to judge another for not seeing as we do. Again, I repeat, any progress is an indication that the person's eyes are facing froward and that his lev (heart) is moving in the right direction.
Some people are born singers. My youngest daughter is extremely gifted but others in my family haven't great difficulties - some sing off tone and sound dreadful! As a result, my daughter is very confident whereas my eldest son has no confidence at all. To some this lack of confidence may seem a trivial matter but to others it can appear so insurmountable that they feel sick and nervous just thinking about it. Asking someone why their singing isn't improving is not exactly to show grace - Yahweh's undeserved loving kindness. Yet later on in life people with such handicaps can, and do, overcome them in their own time and way which only Yahweh understands. Fortunately, when I was told by my teachers that I was not bright enough to go to University I refused to be intimidated and decided to go to the best one there was. So I want to Oxford.
Overlooking others' sins is a very significant principle of discipleship:
Honestly, do you enjoy being around people who feel it is their duty to fault-find and knit-pick because they think they are doing you a favour? As a retired teacher, I have to check myself not to constantly correct others' faulty English! An act of ahavah (love) is, according to Proverbs, is to overlook a transgression rather than to confront it. Sometimes it is more effective to turn the other cheek than to deal with a wrongdoing or fault. It takes character and maturity to put up with someone's irritating behaviour. Living a godly example backed by the power of prayer can be an effective way to change a person's attitude. Paul, quoting Proverbs 25, says:
"The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, and his glory is to overlook a transgression" (Prov.19:11, NKJV).
As a minister who has been observing the psychology of people all my life I can guarantee that this is the most effective method of change. If someone has offended me, I have the option of directing toward him little blessings and practcal favours. We can by this means exercise ahavah (love), for this kind of ahavah (love) never fails. Yahweh has not called us to be psychologists, however useful psychological tools can sometimes be, but to be spiritual. By loving someone non-confrontationally in this way who is offended against me, I can exert a positive spiritual force to his conscience. Action can speak louder than words, particularly if it is reinforced by prayer and kindly deeds. One method of loving confrontation is serving someone's practical needs in ahavah (love) through Messiah who strengthens us.
"If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head" (Rom.12:20, NKJV).