Tuesday September 8, 2009

Please Shut Up
by Pastor Toby Sumpter

What’s the difference between sharing your opinion and over-sharing? What’s the difference between being thankful for what you enjoy, what you like, what God has given you and on the other hand implying that your way is the only way, the best way, and all other methods are foolish, backward, and borderline sinful? There is a great deal of wisdom needed in this area, but let’s start with two things. First is real and genuine thankfulness to God for His kindness. In other words, real and genuine thankfulness can’t stop talking about the kindness of God. It sees God’s hand in all of the details. When God gives, when God provides, when God blesses, thankfulness receives and rejoices in the gift and the Giver. This applies to the food you eat, the medicine you take, the medical decisions you make, educational decisions, housing decisions, money spending and saving decisions, the movies you watch, the movies you don’t watch, books you read, music you listen to, clothes you wear, jewelry, and so on. The first thing is to check your motives. Are you talking about these things with thankfulness to God for how He has blessed you in this area? Are you talking about those vaccinations with gratitude deep down in your heart to the God of all creation? Are you rejoicing in the Lord Jesus Christ for the way He has led you in the standards you have for your family regarding movies and television? Or are you cranky or complaining? How has God blessed you? If you can’t say how God has blessed you, then you probably should keep your mouth shut. Your opinion is not flowing out of thankfulness to the Lord and Giver of Life. And finally, when we talk about these things, it must be remembered that God gives us principles, and then He requires us to apply them with wisdom. He tells us to train up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. He does not send you an email and tell you to sign up your child for a particular class. God calls us to love life and preserve life. He doesn’t say to avoid high cholesterol foods or meat pumped full of hormones. God requires us to meditate on those things which are good and true and lovely; He didn’t give us a list of approved movies and books. If God has blessed you and poured His kindness upon you, and you are sharing God’s goodness and if you can clearly see the principle that God blessed in and how He led you to wisely follow Him in the details then by all means share, discuss, laugh, and enjoy. But if you can’t see the difference between principles and methods, and you’re just on a crusade for some cause, please shut up. The tongue is a small but deadly weapon.

“But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” (Js. 3:8)

3 Replies to “Tuesday September 8, 2009”

  1. Good thoughts there and a lot to chew on.
    He really says it well!!
    That is one thing that has always bothered me; how legalistic we Christians can become.

    I’ve had people tell me that I was sinning or “wrong” just because we don’t “do” vaccinations…
    and then I once had an acquaintance who told me it was wrong to eat meat… on and on and on.
    And yet, I never could understand how they could overlook 1st Timothy 4 or Genesis 9.
    And yet, we still do follow the food laws too.
    I don’t try and push my beliefs/opinions/methods on others.
    Unless they ask, I don’t normally bring up the subjects because it usually brings discord to the Unity.

    But I do believe in moderation of all things.
    And I do believe (and say it!) 2nd Timothy 3:16  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

    This sermon/post is full of wisdom.
    Thanks!

    Sam

  2. Well I think it all goes back to his comment about rejoicing in the kindness of God.
    And how true thankfulness is so eager to talk about His kindness.
    But the end of that is simply this: how we use our tongues to express our thankfulness about His kindness is key.
    And yeah Stef, method & principle — always an excellent reminder! 🙂

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