O Be Careful Little Ears What You Hear

O be careful little ears what you hear???????????????????????????????

O be careful little ears what you hear

For the Father up above

Is looking down in love

So, be careful little ears what you hear

Still learning about grace

When my husband was first saved at age 20, he aggressively witnessed to M, his father’s second wife. He had a lot of zeal and was still learning about grace when addressing her and she made it very clear that she did not approve of him or his message.  Her animosity towards him grew over the years to the point where she told other family members that she hated him. Though Bud apologized and attempted many times to win her over, M refused to be reconciled.

For some reason M seemed to like me.  She bought me gifts and was very kind to me.  She spent time talking with me and we discovered we shared many of the same interests.

The comments began

Because of the tension between M and my husband I was very mindful about keeping our children under control so Bud could spend time with his father when we visited.  Soon the comments began. At first they were subtle, and never when Bud was around. “Bud should make sure you get enough rest.”  “I can’t believe Bud said that to you last night.”  “Bud is so selfish!  He needs to take care of the kids so you can have some time for yourself.” Because of her words slowly, and imperceptibly at first, resentment toward my husband grew in my heart.

Poisoned my thinking

If I had been more mature or more spiritually minded I might have thought of Eve and the subtle words of the serpent in the Garden of Eden.   I might have seen that M’s angry words against my husband influenced me to think wrongly about him.  I might have responded biblically and told her to take her comments directly to the person she had the complaint against. But I did not want to upset the delicate relationship balance so I kept quiet. Instead, I listened to what she had to say and allowed M’s words to poison my thinking.

Gossip

I have noticed this same sort of situation in churches.  Someone becomes disgruntled with the leadership or with another believer in the assembly and begins grumbling and complaining to others.  They either don’t talk to the pastor at all, or they leave from a meeting with the pastor annoyed and angry because he will not side with them on some issue.  These kinds of people puff themselves up and make it their pet project to destroy God’s work by gossiping and complaining to others.

God hates these things

Proverbs 6:16-19 says:

There are six things that the Lord hates,
seven that are an abomination to him:
 haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
and hands that shed innocent blood,
 a heart that devises wicked plans,
feet that make haste to run to evil,
a false witness who breathes out lies,
and one who sows discord among brothers.

At best these disgruntled believers are guilty of sowing discord among the brethren, and may also be guilty of telling lies and devising wicked plans.   Rarely will there even be an attempt to deal with issues biblically, and if rebuked, they are often full of self-righteousness, pride, and even downright hatred.

They may talk of this issue as ‘a prayer request’ or a ‘concern’ but what they are doing is wrong, so wrong that God hates it. God hates those who sow discord among other believers. Yes, He opposes them and what they are doing.

No grace

They may caution you that the pastor is preaching heresy or that a fellow Christian doesn’t do things the right way, when in fact the bitterness, resentment or pride in their own heart is the real problem. They are blind to the fact that good men differ over some areas of doctrine and practice. There is no grace extended to genuine believers who hold a differing position.  They resent the fact that people love and follow their pastor instead of them.

We will all answer

They forget that we all have to answer to God for our thoughts and actions and that the pastor is particularly held accountable for how he handles the flock. There is no grace, no love and no genuine concern for the body of Christ. They secretly delight in winning others to their position or in hurting the pastor or the church.

Don’t spread gossip!

Be careful, dear sisters, to have your spiritual antennas up!  Don’t be the one spreading gossip and don’t listen to those who do! When someone begins speaking critically about another believer, stop them and tell them to talk to that person not to you.  If there is a question about what your pastor has been preaching, go to him and ask your questions.

We are all responsible to search the scriptures to see if what we are being taught is accurate.  To do this we need to understand what the Bible says.  You may need to use a commentary or a reliable modern translation so you can clearly understand what is being taught.

O be careful little ears what you hear

But do not fall into the trap of being spiritually poisoned by lending an ear to a person who God clearly says He hates:  a sower of discord among the brethren.  Don’t poison the thoughts of other believers with gossip.  And don’t be guilty of listening to it just because it comes from a good friend or to keep the peace.

It may be a children’s song, but it contains simple yet rich truth:  ‘O be careful little ears what you hear.’

Fighting Christians – Taking the Wrong for the Cause of Christ

Christ’s Example

I have been reading the gospels again and have been moved by Christ’s example of humility.  In the hours before His crucifixion Jesus was accused, abandoned, afflicted and abased.  When he was reviled with hateful taunts, He did not respond in kind.  When He was accused and later beaten, He remained silent.  He was provoked, pierced, prodded, and in pain, yet He did not lash out at those who so wrongfully and shamefully treated Him.  He endured this ‘contradiction of sinners against Himself’ for the far greater cause of bringing salvation to mankind through His sufferings.

The Bigger Picture

We are all guilty at times of losing sight of the bigger picture.  It’s not to our credit to love those that love us.  We are also supposed to love those who treat us unfairly.  Wow!  Is that ever hard to do!

In our society it’s considered weakness to back down from a disagreement.  After all, isn’t it important to make sure everybody knows the real facts about an incident?  Or knows who really came up with that great idea?  Or takes our side?  Or that I’m in charge?

It’s More Important to be Christlike than to Be Right

No.  It’s more important to mirror Christlikness than to be right.  Can that be true?  Sadly, we have been conditioned to plant our feet and in no uncertain terms let others around us know that we will not budge.  But that response to conflict is not God-honoring.

I want to challenge you:   Can you take the wrong – wrong behavior, wrong accusations, wrong ideas people have about you for the cause of Christ?

Church Splits

We shake our heads when we hear about churches that split because people can’t agree on the color of new carpet.   Does anyone remember the color chosen?  Do the stories praise the person who was ‘right’?  No, the reputation of Christ and His followers is diminished by this kind of insistence on having one’s own way.  People only remember that Christians can’t get along and they are not drawn to Christ by this fractious arguing.

Expectations

We are children of God and have various responsibilities in the church.  We can’t run away from this or change this.  Right or wrong, people know this about us and because of it have even higher expectations of godliness from us.

I want to challenge you to pray about and study the passages which speak of Christ’s humility and deference to the Father’s will.  I want to challenge you to study the Scriptures which tell us to take the wrong for the cause of Christ.  And then I urge you to practice on each other.

Don’t Be Known as Fighting Christians

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Don’t be known as fighting Christians.  Our testimony before a watching world should be one of love and tender deference to each other.  Our behavior toward each other may be used of God to draw a wanderer back or push a struggler farther away.

He Said, She Said

Our youngest daughter absolutely delighted to have her aunt and uncle here in May.  She particularly loved hearing her father and his sister give their individual accounts of the same childhood event.  They were both involved in the event yet had WIDELY differing versions of it.

When two believers see something differently take time to ask yourself if you might possibly have misinterpreted or gotten it wrong.  Don’t automatically think you are right and the other person is wrong.  Give the other person the benefit of the doubt.

Humility and Deference

By God’s grace let us love each other with humility and deference and allow our relationship as believers become a sweet savor of godliness to each other and to a watching world.