“For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus…(I Timothy 2:5).”
Angela Merkel can’t win for losing. Faced with a collapsing Greek economy and euro, the German chancellor still was reluctant to sign on to an expensive rescue package.
Then, she met up with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who threw a table-banging tantrum over her reticence. After Sarkozy’s emotional display, and a phone call from President Barack Obama, she finally agreed to the euro bailout.
Now the German people and media are mad at her. They are accusing her of giving up too much to the European Union (EU). Some Germans are beginning to doubt their participation in the EU, thinking that they are sharing too much of the load. Agreeing to the bailout even led to an electoral defeat for Merkel’s party in a German state.
Like politicians, believers are not immune to criticism and misunderstanding. They are at times damned if they do, and damned if they don’t.
Sometimes the attacks come from those closest to us, even our spouses. For example, Sarai, the wife of Abram, was frustrated over her inability to have a child. So she went to her husband and offered her maid Hagar as a wife through whom they could have a child. Abram agreed to this and Hagar became pregnant.
However, the results of this union created dysfunction in the family. Hagar began to rebel against Sarai. This upset Abram’s wife, and she turned around and blamed him for the whole episode. (Genesis 16:1-5).
Best friends can also be the source of unfair judgments. Job had just lost his children and his health. He was miserable, and expressed his suffering verbally to his buddies.
One of them, Eliphaz the Temanite, made a strong inference that Job’s problems were the result of his own sinfulness. Somehow, in Eliphaz’s view, his “formerly righteous” friend must have blown it, and the suggestion was that God was punishing him (Job 4:1-8). A good reading of the book of Job will show that he did not submit to the opinions of Eliphaz or his other friends.
It’s difficult to stand up for our convictions when influential people, even spouses and friends are opposing us. Yet, we are responsible before God for our own actions.
Job could have done what his wife asked him to do. In the midst of his suffering, she said to him, “Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!” Nice. Instead of folding, Job rebuked her. He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” The Scriptures say Job avoided joining into the God abuse (Job 2:9,10).
Abram’s failure to stand up to Sarai and Job’s lack of concession to the faulty opinion of his wife should give today’s Christian husband pause. In this day and age when men and women are coleaders in marriage, believing husbands need to be courageous and consider their responsibility to be the head of their households. Ultimately, a truly believing wife will appreciate it.
In addition, Job’s eventual stand against the opposition of his close friends should instruct all believers today. We are too ready to submit to the opinions of those close to us instead of giving allegiance to God and the Scriptures.
We aren’t subject to the opinions of others, even those close to us. Martin Luther espoused the priesthood of all believers. He determined that the Bible says that we all have equal access to God, that we are not to go through other people for our relationship to Christ. Luther hoped that “”we shall recover that joyful liberty in which we shall understand that we are all equal in every right, and shall shake off the yoke of tyranny, and know that he who is a Christian has Christ, and he who has Christ has all things that are Christ’s, and can do all things.”
I am speaking especially to Christian men here, and to myself. It’s time we become the heads of our households, or like my close friend Tom likes to say, it is high time we “manned up”. If this sounds cave-mannish, so be it.
There’s a time when collaboration is needed, sure. We were watching one of these old Moody Bible Institute science programs today where the speaker was discussing how for the purpose of our national security, cooperation with others was required.
He mentioned how people were asking “What can I do as an individual in such times to make a difference?”. These folks were in his view throwing up their hands and washing them of responsibility.
But to this scientist/preacher, there was plenty they could do. They could open their Bibles. He decried that, even though it was a best seller, the Bible was just collecting dust on shelves. To this man, going to God through the Scriptures and following them was an individual responsibility, not a matter of collaboration.
It’s time we Christian men end the tyranny of the culture, and even of close relations, and be the leaders in our homes and societys that God calls us to be. We are ultimately responsible to Jesus Christ, our King, for our actions and decisions, and not to fallen people, even our wives, children and close buds.
Read Full Post »