Joyce Livingston (Author) & Friends

Monday, May 22, 2006

HOW DO WE KNOW IF WHAT WE ARE DOING IS RIGHT?

The gentleman you see pictured here is Dale Lewis. He and his wife, Judy, co-teach the Motivator's Sunday school class of which I am an active part. We average around 150 in attendance each Sunday, many times even more, due to the talent and willingnes of these two marvelous people.

I always enjoy Dale's and Judy's lessons, but I especially enjoyed the one Dale taught yesterday, AM I A BALANCED CHRISTIAN - WHAT'S RIGHT & WRONG? (for me as a Christian). I know many of you (like me) struggle with this question. We don't want to be a stumbling block to anyone. I can't give you the entire lesson, which was basically from 1st Corinthians 8-10 and Galations 5 & 6, but I wanted to share the questions (and a few answers) Dale had printed in our SS bulletin. I hope they will help provide the answers we all seek. Our biggest concern should not be with what people think but what God thinks.

The things listed below are thought-starters.
Let me give you an example. You occasionally like to have a beer, yet you know others around you, perhaps newborn Christians, are looking to you as an example - would you have that beer in front of them? This is merely an example. What is right for one person, may not be right for another. This is something only you and I (through prayer and reading God's Word) can decide.

Questions to grow by:
1. What should I give up or stop doing?
(Whatever you cannot do with a clear conscience)
2. How do I maintain a balance?
(There will always be someone who will object)
a. Is the critic growing in the Lord or on the sidelines finding fault?
b. How many people are being affected by what I do?
3. How do I handle the legalistic person?
a. Ignore them
b. Get them aside and tell them where you stand with the scripture
c. Go right on doing what I know is right in God's eyes
4. If no one is looking, can I do whatever I please?
(Not out of simple pleasure to please self, but as you have a clear conscience, offending no one
5. If I am in public and I want to enjoy it, should I?
(If attention is called to you, no. It is better never to risk it.)

Would love to hear your comments - - -
Joyce Livingston, author
My newest book, THE WIDOWS' CLUB, a women's fiction novel is out now.

4 Comments:

  • At 11:17 AM, Blogger GeorgianaD said…

    Great post! So many aspects of daily life are in the grey. Great questions to provide balanced answers. Thanks.

     
  • At 5:09 PM, Blogger Ane Mulligan said…

    That's good stuff, Joyce! Can I make a copy and keep it by my computer to study?

     
  • At 8:53 AM, Blogger Janny said…

    Joyce--

    It's interesting that in this discussion, you should give an example of someone "having a beer" in public, or wanting to, and being worried about whether that's right, okay, or whatever. Here's my take.

    Frankly, I'd have the beer. I don't believe there's anything wrong with it, period. And if newborn Christians are looking to me for an example, then they won't think there's anything wrong with it...period. And guess what? Unless one of them is budding alcoholic, there isn't anything wrong with it...period. It's been stated over and over again that nowhere does the Bible condemn alcohol, only drunkenness.

    So how about the people who believe that it's wrong?

    Or who believe dancing is wrong?
    Or movies are wrong?
    Or gambling is wrong?
    Or card playing is wrong?
    Or...?

    Am I not responsible for them, too?

    Short answer? Heck, no.

    Long answer? Heck, no...because they're not being "led astray" by my conduct in any way. If they're judging my conduct, finding me wanting, and trying to use Scripture as a weapon to shame me into changing my conduct to conform to their notions of right and wrong...well, that's already walking--nay, running gleefully--down the "astray" path, and I sure didn't put 'em there.

    Don't we need to be concerned about weaker brothers and sisters? Yes, of course, we do. But what actually causes us a lot of worry aren't weaker brothers and sisters, but judgmental brothers and sisters. And there's a biiiiiig difference between those two points on the scale.

    So in answer to your questions--if it's something I enjoy doing, it isn't wrong/illegal/immoral, and I'm not hurting anybody by doing it, am I going to do it no matter who's watching? Even in (gasp) public?

    You betcha. :-)

    The admonishment to "look out for each other" applies to doing questionable or borderline things that we sense can cause problems for someone in the faith, not to making sure we don't offend the Pharisees among us. And if we could just really "get" that notion, what a tremendous difference it would make in our authenticity, in our fellowship...and what a great weight it would take off our shoulders!

    Setting the weight down and leaving it there,
    Janny

     
  • At 7:08 AM, Blogger Joyce Livingston--a true romantic at heart! said…

    Thank you, ladies, for making your comments. That lesson was indeed FOOD for thought! Our class had quite a discussion.

    I appreciated Janny's post, and her honesty. This is the kind of discussion I had hoped to spark. It's something only we, individually, can deside for ourselves, with what we feel God would have us do - - or not do - - in a variety of circumstances. Our motives and our peace with God about our decisions are what is important.

    Have a great weekend!

    Joyce Livingston

     

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