Sunday, 7 July 2013

Restoring the wrong

Today's readings bring the SS Sermon into port to tie up against what is one of the hallmark passages of the Bible for me and the life and ministry I seek to live. The Passage (Galatians chapter six) tells me that those of us who are 'spiritual' are to 'restore' those who are doing wrong stuff; the brilliant thing about this being that rather than give some a 'corrector's charter' it actually grounds and perhaps even restricts those who would go out seeking to correct (and there's enough of them in the world isn't there?).

The big thing about going out to put others right is that we need to be right ourselves (well that's me sitting down and not taking part I guess). Not only that but we need to be right in the way that we offer the correction as the potential for us sinning and doing it wrong is immense!

Let me explain (my paraphrase), for God says:

"Guys, if you see someone doing something wrong, those of you who know me should restore them gently; but take care in the way that you do it so that you don't end up being wrong too!"

When I see something that I think is wrong (and I gauge 'wrong' by using my Bible, the example of Christ and an innate sense of justice and fair play) I approach the person who I consider to be doing that wrong and offer a corrective along the lines of, 'Let me show you a better way!' I don't (despite the comments of some here :-) ) condemn or bully, browbeat or harangue but I do point out what is the better path as I understand it.

The potential for being wrong when doing this is to engage in 'righteous anger' (always angry and rarely righteous) or to issue an ad hominem and assault the focus of my correction verbally. Such actions causes the person who is wrong to become entrenched in that wrongness and leaves me looking nothing like Jesus (who simply and gently wrote in the dust and told the wrongdoer the truth in love).

Today is an invitation to the Church (well the Church what uses the lectionary anyway) to get engaged with the world and help those outside of the Church to see a better way to think, act and live - I pray to God that we take it up and make it ours.

And for those who act awfully towards others in the name of God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) - STOP IT!

And to those who are not Church yet like to portray things as they are not, engage in flawed self-serving logic and seek to condemn those who act in love and faith - YOU CAN STOP IT TOO :-)

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