starving

Passion is admirable. Fervor is exciting. Teaching someone about God is a joy. But when that teaching comes in the form of accusations or condemnations… what is being accomplished? This method and the attitudes that accompany it are frighteningly prevalent in the Messianic movement. Because of emotions and misguided intentions many are scared away from Messianics. Why should we think more highly of ourselves? Are we any better than our sinful brother simply because we choose a different menu or dress modestly or worship on a different day?

Thinking about this makes me wonder about the best methods of teaching people about what it means to be Messianic. Lately I have had quite a few people ask me about my journey and inquire about certain topics like Shabbat or Kosher eating or thinking Hebraically. In the past I’ve often gone the route of slamming the bible over someone’s head and trying to “prove” what I know to be right and make them see it like I do. I proof-text like a hound and I outline the key issues with panash. But mostly, that method didn’t bring anyone nearer to me or to God. So what is wrong with it? Why didn’t it work?

I realized that it is good to educate in the sense that it’s good to inspire… to point in the right direction, to open the door and say “Look through here. And walk through if you’re willing.” Sometimes when we teach it comes out like a stern lecture from a father or a mother. Or it feels like a slap on the wrist for something you don’t understand. One thing I like to say that illustrates also how I like to be taught is this: “I’m just a bum telling the other bums where the food is.” I’m just a hungry, ragged bum–all of us truly are. And we’re all desperate for food. And if one of us sees the good food and is nourished by it, we need to tell the other bums where it is. We need to open those doors and say “Look in there. And walk through if you’re willing.” We can’t shove or smack someone for not eating when they don’t know where to find the food in the first place. But we can show them. We can lead them. And we carry them if they need it.

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3 thoughts on “starving

  1. Hools,

    I heartily agree with your approach to teaching. I have learned that I am not the Ruach. The best way for me to teach is to simply live the way that the Father has called us to live, and let others ask questions. The tough part is to keep from ‘puking’ information on those that seem to be the least bit interested :-)

    Shalom!
    Aaron

  2. I like to think we all can teach each other, and that one particular door may not be the right one for everyone.
    What I find in my denomination and its worship and beliefs is food for me and I am willing to share how it all works. But I would not consider a person who wished to go a different route to be condemned.
    I like the OT, but I love the NT. My family background on my father’s side, going back about five generations, is Jewish. If they hadn’t converted in a desperate bid to avoid the pogroms of Germany/Poland, I’d be a Jew today, though I’d be Reform. :)
    I think those of us who believe Jesus to be our Saviour should share our faith journeys with others, but not expect everyone to follow the exact path we do if they don’t wish to. If there are many rooms in God’s house, it stands to reason that there are many doors. I believe in a God who is inclusive, a God who challenges us by giving us free will. I disagree with many doctrines supported by people in other denominations, but I don’t think that means they are any less likely to be in God’s presence one day than I am. After all, this is all human supposition. God is a mystery, and one that we won’t understand until the end of this life.
    Love,
    D xo

  3. *hug*

    Thanks for your comment, Debbie! I appreciate your thoughts. You know what’s funny… over time and through more study I’ve come to what almost seems like an imbalanced decision, but it’s one that gives me peace. I think that we are supposed to seek a narrow path and encourage others to do so as well. And I don’t think that there is more than one narrow path… I honestly do think there is but one.

    However, I do not think any group of people have found it completely, nor follow it completely either. What’s comforting to me is that I honestly don’t believe anyone has it all right, and that we’ll all be surprised and corrected and humbled at the time of judgment.

    Matthew 7:12-14 12
    So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. 13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

    Luke 13:23-30
    23 Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” He said to them, 24 “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. 25 Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’ “But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’ 26 “Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ 27 “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’ 28 “There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. 29 People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. 30 Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.”

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