Sunday, June 28, 2015

A Soft Answer

“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1).

This verse is small in size, yet so powerful.  We were studying the book of Proverbs in Bible class this morning, and these words just hit me.  Proverbs 15:1 is just as effective and applicable to our lives as it was to the ancient nation of Israel.  It means that whenever a disagreement comes up, keeping your calm is key to having a civil conversation.  If you lose your temper, you and the other person will both leave with blood boiling.  This is true in many instances.  As a middle school teacher, I see it every day.  You allow yourself to argue with a student with your emotions involved, the argument will not end well.  However, replying calmly to just about any negative situation will at least keep your emotions in check and hinder you from saying something you might regret.  
Many times, God would not have us handle situations in an angry manner as we are supposed to be meek. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5).  Meekness is a great attribute to have, clearly.  Meek, according to trusty, is “humbly patient or docile, as under provocation from others.”  In the school setting, this is quite evident.  Students are always trying to push your buttons, but answering and talking calmly, softly even, will help keep tempers under control.  This is true in all situations - not just the school setting.  However, neither of those verses demand that one stay out of conflict.  If you firmly believe in the word of God, you will defend it when it is attacked.  If you know something is right, you are allowed to defend your beliefs.  It is pertinent that Christians teach the Word and gospel to those who are lost  so that they might repent and be baptized (Mark 16:15 -16).  This will not go well with everyone, so arguments will arise.  Christians must be meek in their approach.

     This is all not to say that becoming angry is a sin.  It depends on how you handle your anger and why you are angry. There is also a difference between anger and loosing your temper.  Letting your anger get the best of you will not end with you feeling any better about the situation  - believe me!  Jesus became angry with those who were using the temple to make profit in the Bible.  “And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and He overturned the tables of the money-changers and seats of those who sold pigeons.  He said to them, ‘It is written, My house shall be called a house of prayer, but you make it a den of robbers’” (Matthew 21:12-13).  Was Jesus angry?  Yes.  Did He lose His temper? No.  Yes, he flipped the tables and seats over.  Yes, he spoke authoritatively.  However, He did not start punching people, use foul language, or burn bridges between Him and the people present.  He was trying to teach them something, and He was completely in control.  

     Will overturning your neighbor’s table bring them to obey the gospel?  It might.  That action might be the one thing that finally wakes them up out of their sin.  If that’s the case, you flip those tables!  At that point, you should know them well enough that you know what they’re reaction would be and that they know you did it out of love.  However, if that neighbor is anything like me, getting angry at them won’t accomplish anything.  This is why the first point would be a more effective approach - giving a soft answer.

     This is one thing that some Christians miss today.  When conflict arises, it’s “Run out with your guns blazing!”  No.  Don’t do that.  While reacting in anger might get people’s attention, your harsh words will only make people angry.  They’re not going to listen to a word you say - just tune you out.  Personally, I would as I don’t have time for someone to belittle me.  Everyone is like this - we’re human!  Therefore, always try and talk to someone with love and meekness.  


For all Biblical references, I used the English Standard Version.

“Meek.” Web. 28 June 2015.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Philippians Chapter Two

Philippians 2 (ESV)

Philippians 2 starts out with a little about why I titled this blog the way I did.  He says that we should put others before ourselves.  This little point made it into the title of my blog!  I feel like it's really important even though sometimes I find it hard to do.  However, we need to make our best effort to be selfless.  Jesus was completely selfless when he made the ultimate sacrifice and died for you and me on the cross.  He didn't want to die, but He knew it was God's will (Matthew 26:39).  Now that is powerful.  It makes our small sacrifices that we face day to day seem small and insignificant.  However, Jesus was obedient to the point of death because He knew it was God's will.  That obedience and sacrifice are the reason that we have the chance to go to Heaven one day.  Jesus saw the bigger picture.  We need to keep this in mind in our daily lives as well.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Philippians Chapter One

Philippians 1 ( - ESV)  <--click me!

Hello readers!

First post on my new blog.  For those of you who don't know, I'm starting this blog to record my thoughts on what I'm looking at in my personal studies.  If you have any questions or if I've said anything not according to what the Bible has to say, please contact me, and we can discuss/study it.  Anyway, onward!

Over all my years reading through the first chapter of Philippians, I don't think I've ever gotten as much out of it as I did this last time.  First, I'd like to point out that Paul is quite an amazing person.  We can all learn from him no matter where we are in life.  Toward the beginning of the chapter (v 3-11), he takes the time to let the Christians there know how much he loves and appreciates them.  I feel like we can take a little tidbit from that.  Our brothers and sisters in the church (no matter where in the world they are located) should be very important to us.  After all, they should have the same mindset and goals as we do.  Sometimes people get caught up in "Well, you see, our personalities just don't mesh, so I don't really want to go talk to them."  I feel like we're all guilty of this.  But we're missing the main point.  Who cares if we don't like the same things outside of church?  Who cares if they're a die-hard Tennessee fan, and you can't stand UT? (haha)  They are still our brother and sister in Christ.  We owe it to them to be cordial, pleasant, and thankful for them.  I'm sure Paul didn't get along with everyone at Phillipi (maybe he did, but work with me), but I'm almost positive that he would still go up and speak to them in order to get to know his brethren a little bit better despite their differences.

Lastly, the latter half of the chapter is what amazes me the most.  Paul says that his prison time was beneficial because the Gospel was being spread.  People knew he was in there because of his teachings about Christ.  Because of Paul's actions, other people were speaking out against the status quo of the age and preaching Christ to others.  However, my favorite part of the entire chapter is verses 21-23.  He says that the decision of staying in this world or leaving it is a hard one.  For if he continues upon the earth, he will be able to continue to preach the Word, but if he dies, then he knows that he shall be with Christ.  Either outcome is desirable to him, so he doesn't need to worry about what is going to happen.  Now that is powerful.  I definitely don't have that outlook - death is quite frightening!  But Paul is right.  If we've been living our lives according to the Bible and God's will, what do we have to fear?  "For me to live is Christ, and to dies is gain" (verse 21).