Thursday, January 13, 2011

"What and How"

     I recently decided to read a book that I've owned for awhile, but never read.  The subject of the book concerned the believer's walk with God, sanctification, and matters of faith and obedience.
    In scanning the book, I recognized that I would likely agree with much of the content.  I saw a few areas of disagreement, but nothing related to fundamental aspects of truth and doctrine.  I was disturbed, however, by the attitude conveyed by the author.  He was cocksure of his positions, and belittled others who held different opinions concerning the matters addressed.  He even criticized another writer, by name, whom he accused of being overly confident regarding his beliefs (the very error that so clearly characterized his own attitude).
     I put the book down and will not return to it.  There is no place for such presumption and arrogance in the body of Christ because even if our content is correct, we are wrong if our attitude does not reflect the character of the Lord Jesus.  "The servant of the Lord must not strive, but be gentle unto all men" (II Timothy 2:24).  Certainly this does not preclude confidence in our convictions if they are the result of long and diligent Scriptural consideration (II Peter 1:12).  Nor are we forbidden to respectfully express disagreement with fellow believers regarding matters of truth (Galatians 2:11).  However, it does mean that our attitude and demeanor are of paramount importance to the God who "looketh on the heart" (I Samuel 16:7).  Again, we can be right in our opinion, but if our attitude is wrong, we are in error. 
    I sometimes wonder which is worse, the truth expressed in an unChristlike spirit, or falsehood conveyed, but with a good attitude.  I do not know the answer to this question because both paths of error lead to trouble.  I do strongly believe that attitude speaks at least as powerfully as content, with both resulting in either the benefit or detriment of our audience.  What we communicate must correlate with how we communicate.  Truth is both propositional and personal, and the fact of the matter is that if our attitude is wrong, something vital is missing in both our understanding and communication of the Lord Jesus.
"Put them in mind to... speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, 
but gentle, showing all meekness unto all men."
(Titus 3:1-2)

No comments: