Today I was angered. I was having a simple conversation about a doctrinal issue and the responses I was given by my brethren were insulting to me. You see, there are at least two sides to every scripture. One is the cold, hard facts of it. The other is the spiritual side. Both complement each other. Let me try and explain where I'm coming from.
Jesus had a problem with the Pharisees. They were too focused on keeping the "Law". They were proud of their knowledge. Proud of their holiness. They were "God's people", but their actions sometimes bore little resemblance to the real God they claimed to serve.
His solution? He informed them in no uncertian terms just how unrighteous they were. He told us all that we must worship God in "Spirit and in truth". Why? a) Because the scriptures are SPIRITUALLY understood, and b) "The letter kills, but the spirit gives life."
You see, Jesus didn't say that the world would know his followers by their doctrines (though that is important) or their holiness standards. Jesus said they will know us by our AGAPE! The word of God is quick and powerful, but I'm afraid that we've all become so focused on OUR truths and OUR righteousness that we've started to become modern day pharisees!
Jesus gave us his word as a) a fencepost to stay within and b) a road map to relationship with him! Our doctrines do need to stay biblical, but if our doctrines don't lead us to a deeper love relationship with God- and, by extension, to other people- then our doctrines need to be questioned.
We are soooo overly proud of our truth that we wear it like a battle armor and use it as a sword to slash the unbelieving infidels. We are, in fact, almost spiritual Muslims in this. Those that disagree with our doctrines are ostracized and condemned. We may not cut off their physical heads, but how many have been killed by our harsh words?
I'm not advocating false doctrine. We must stand on the truth. But truth is NOT a pet doctrine. Jesus said , "I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life." Our doctrines should lead us into deeper relationship with him. When we get deeper in him, our love for each other and for the unregenerate sinner should GROW DEEPER! We should become MORE loving and MORE helpful of others- NOT more judgemental and haughty!
When Revelations says that we will overcome by "the word of our testimony", it is not the dry doctrine it refers to. rather, since Jesus is THE WORD MADE FLESH, we will overcome by the JESUS of our testimony. We need to ask ourselves, which Jesus am I portraying to the world? If we are portraying his passionate, unselfish, humble, giving, and sacrificial love to each other and the world at large, then we are doing right. If all they see, however, is a smug, selfish, and holier than thou critic of their every move, then we need to pray back through! After all, it's all about relationship, not religion.
Just a thought to ponder.