PEOPLE ARE SUCH FRAGILE, LITTLE THINGS

There is currently a disturbing, destructive practice of far too many within the Body of Christ. It is the act of vilifying others on the basis that their particular function in ministry, in the Body is different from ours. Along with this error is the crime of spiritualizing and therefore rationalizing our judgments and actions concerning others to places beyond those permitted by Scripture or by the Spirit of God.

 We are provided established limits: “ . . . though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but  have not love, I am nothing.”[1]

 When the Creator spoke worlds into existence, He provided banks for every river with good cause. All the life-sustaining potential of the river is both exhausted and becomes a destructive force without the riverbank. Boundaries, borders, “riverbanks” are God’s protection to those    who would benefit from the waters contained by their banks.

 Creation is a vast Treasury of Information, it is Heaven’s great Example from which we learn and by which we live.

 Within His creation, God provides a “thus far,”[2] preceded by His testimony, “I fixed My limit . . .” That boundary is intended for much more than the restraint of the Evil One. When our words, our actions, our judgments arrive at or exceed redemptive limits, a “thus far and no   farther” echoes from Father’s heart to ours. God is Healer and Restorer, not Destroyer.

 Those who have come out from Him will increasingly reflect the Father’s character and nature in all their activity and life-flow. The characteristics of the Father’s DNA will be found in the son as surely as biological traits flow from natural generation to natural generation.

 In personal testimony, my wife and I saw the divine DNA manifest a number of years ago.

 We were assisting a group of families who were attempting to move through a difficult, interpersonal challenge, and found ourselves tiptoeing through a minefield of emotions when suddenly, and in spite of our most cautious steps, a spiritual explosion ripped across the landscape of our carefully planned strategy to bring everyone safely through their disagreements. The resulting devastation was widespread, and several local churches became the happy   recipients of new “members” when the dust had settled.

 The most spiritual among us, despite absolute best intentions, from time to time fail in our relations with wounded and hurting brothers and sisters. Not everyone engaged in interpersonal misunderstanding is hopeful for the same outcome. Some want to experience God’s remedies,     His peace and joy, while others simply want to be “right.”

 In the midst of that experience, my wife spontaneously uttered a statement that has remained with us and helped us for more than 25 years now. She said, “People are such fragile little things.”

 Her observation could be spoken more academically and with greater panache’, but I doubt it could be expressed more genuinely or accurately than she said it in the heat of the battle.

 Her declaration has guided our efforts with others for a quarter century. The spirit of that brief sentence also corresponds with Jesus’ observation of every human heart created under the sun.    He talked about a “bruised reed” and “smoking flax”[3] to describe how fragile, how delicate,    how easily broken we humans are.

 If only mature, seasoned followers of Christ recognized this truth. But of course, they do know it. It is disappointing, frustrating when the so-called “mature” among us do not embody the Spirit that Jesus exuded in His care for the weak, the wounded, the fragile and the broken among us.

 Indeed the use (abuse) of Scripture to hurl fiery brands at our brethren should not even be an issue among those partakers of New Creation life. However and alas, becoming “new” in Christ does not immunize anyone against the persistent resuscitation of the fleshly mind. With Paul, we soon discover that we must daily return to the cross, and there die a day-by-day death to self and   to the devices of the flesh.

 Sadly and too frequently, those who know best the letter of the law fail to function from the “law  of the spirit of life.”[4] Instead, the super abundant treasure house of Scripture becomes the quiver from which arrows of destruction are drawn in our insensitive and egotistic assaults on those we deem less spiritual, immature, rebellious, irreligious or simply “different” from ourselves. 

 We quote with the dramatic flair of Shakespearian orators, “Judge not that ye be not judged,”[5]   yet with the same tongue we issue decrees of criticism, censure, judgment and condemnation. As our long-departed brother, James so eloquently and forthrightly wrote, “Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.”[6]

 To those who will not knuckle under our (supposed) mantels of dominion and authority, our (supposed) various anointings and giftings we assign the label, “Rebel!”

 Those who cannot agree with – worse – will not submit to our vision for ministry are branded “worldly minded,” stubborn resistors of God, possessed of nebulous “spirits of control.”

 If others will not concur with our doctrinal positions and understandings, they are demon-  inspired, perhaps even demon-possessed.

 We have our categories, our classifications, all neatly designed to preclude any possibility that our judgments may be erroneous, that we might actually see or know, at best, “in part.”

 Simply stated, one man cannot know another man’s heart. We have not been made, and are not capable, in all our spiritual and mystical-sounding experience of third heaven visitations and rarified prophetic revelations, to see, to discern, to know another person’s heart. That territory is the exclusive province of Creator and created. Even in this restricted airspace, the creation is   often ignorant of heart-elements that comprise his own being, let alone those of another person.

 "The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; who can know it?”[7] Even we who have received a new heart by means of the efficacy of the Cross can find ourselves  completely unaware of the true motives, the direction and the intentions of others’ hearts.

 And since we cannot know, why do we speak? Since we cannot comprehend, why do we  criticize?

 In times of need, we are thankful for the benevolent provision of a word of knowledge, perhaps coupled with the companion gift of a word of wisdom. However, even as these gifts find expression, there exists no license for abuse or excuse for lashing out, for “weaponizing”[8] the knowledge one has been given.

 The Body is under sustained and deadly attack from multiple viruses, diseases and infections.  “Our adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”[9]

 Hell needs no assistance from Heaven’s clan in waging deadly warfare against God’s elect. In   the courtroom of spiritual opinion, what my wounded brother needs, what my undiscerning sister cries out for is the judgment of mercy, the ruling of grace, the verdict established by the Adjudicator called Love.

 “People,” after all, “are such fragile, little things.” 


[1] 1 Cor. 13:2

[2] Job 38:11

[3] Matthew 12:20

[4] Romans 8:2

[5] Luke 6:37

[6] James 3:10

[7] Jeremiah 17:9

[8] To adapt an otherwise inert substance, device or compound in such a way that it can be used as a weapon.

[9] 1 Peter 5:8

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