Saturday, May 24, 2014

Love a bitter aunt

Billy Graham answers a letter from a reader with a bitter aunt...
Dear Rev. Graham: My aunt is a very bitter person, and to be honest I can understand why, since she’s had some real disappointments. She claims to be a Christian, but I’m not sure if she really is. Aren’t Christians supposed to be kind and forgiving? -- Mrs. M. McN.
Hey look, a Christian alluding to a no true Scotsman fallacy! Are Christians supposed to be kind and loving? Well, that kind of depends...
Rev. Graham: Yes, Christians are supposed to be kind and forgiving toward others -- just as Christ is toward us. And we will be, when we give up trying to change our lives by our own strength and allow Christ to change us. The Bible says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).
Yes, Jesus said some nice stuff... Love your neighbor and all that. But he also tells believers to hate their family (Luke 14:26),  to love him more than their family (Matthew 10:37), and that he had come to divide families (Luke 12:51-53). That's one huge problem with the Bible. Pretty much anything can be justified by reading the right parts... even contradictory things. A book that justifies everything is a book that's good for nothing!
Does this mean your aunt’s faith isn’t genuine? Not necessarily; only God knows her heart, and it’s not up to you to judge her. But Christians aren’t perfect, and Satan will do everything he can to turn us away from Christ. We may not even realize it’s happening -- until it’s too late. The Bible calls him “a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
I must say that I'm actually surprised. Billy usually jumps to claim that anyone that doesn't apply to his narrow definition of who is a Christian.
One of the devil’s chief tricks is to turn our emotions away from God, twisting them instead into anger or jealousy or greed or bitterness. They become like a poison, eating away at our souls and pulling us farther and farther from Christ. The Bible warns, “See to it… that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many” (Hebrews 12:15).
Or what if Christians are all victims of deception perpetrated buy the Egyptian god Set.
Pray for your aunt, that God will convict her of her bitterness, and replace it with his love and forgiveness. Pray, too, that you will be an example to her of Christ’s love and compassion. And pray, as well, that God will give you an opportunity to speak candidly (and yet gently) with her about her need for Christ’s healing touch on her heart.
And then he finishes with his usual final paragraph. Nothing new here. Just remember this... The Bible is a text that is so varied in it's direction and what it condones that any Christian that claims that
another isn't really a Christian has likely just exposed their ignorance of the book by which they claim to live their lives. Pretty sad really...

-Brain Hulk

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