You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘argument’ tag.

And some were persuaded by the things that were spoken and some disbelieved…..”  Acts 28:24

“…..the Jews departed and had a great dispute among themselves.”  Acts 28:28

Beware which Garden moment you choose.  I’ll explain this later.

We seem to love a good debate don’t we?  For they are everywhere.  We debate things of substance; politics, wars, what is justice, what should be our path to follow.  We also debate things of seemingly less importance; best sports teams, best sports players, who should be voted off the island, what is the best social media site.

Even the term debate is used to describe many different human discourses.  There is the formal academic debate with its strictly define rules of argument and specific point-counterpoint style.  But then there is the sit across from each other, talk at each other, interrupt each other, shout louder than the other, insult each other, threaten each other and then get up and walk away from each other style of debate.  It seems like the latter makes for better television.

But these two styles are nothing new.  Plato’s Republic seems to be in the style of the first.  Obviously we have no visual evidence but the writing seems to be that of two and sometimes more parties, dispassionately and logically putting forth arguments on many different subjects.

Then you have the first century listeners.  In Acts we have many stories of people who were first introduced to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and then what happened after they heard it.  I don’t say it was always the Jews because there were also groups in Greece and Macedonia.  It is interesting that the Apostle Paul is called the Apostle of the Gentiles but if you read the Book of Acts, Paul almost always starts of, in any town he visits, seeking out the Jews in the town or going to their temple and preaching there first.  Often times some believe but most reject the Gospel of Jesus Christ so Paul goes on to preach to the Gentiles.  For many the doctrine of Jesus Christ is just too new, too strange, too controversial to believe.  So they debate.

Alas, debating is not just a thing of the first century church.  Some would say there should be no debate, no differences of opinion in a faithful church.  I’m not sure that I would go that far.  For there are many things the church is dealing with today; what is marriage and who should be allowed to, who do we embrace/include, who do we exclude, are denominations a dying thing, why are we losing people, what should we do about money woes.  All of these topics and many more are facing the church and there are many different opinions on how a Christian should approach these things.

Yet here’s the question for today; after the debate, then what?  One outcome of our debate is that we may come to an agreement, a consensus about what to do.  If so, then our course is set and off we go.  But what if we don’t agree?  What if our argument doesn’t sway the group?  What if we don’t get our way?  Do we turn our backs on the one particular church?  Do we turn out backs on all the churches?  Do we turn our back on God and Jesus Christ?

And now I come to the “Garden” choices.  You see, to debate is to have differing opinions; different judgements, come to different conclusions.  But because there are differences, doesn’t mean that the basic foundation is something that can’t be agreed on; like, God, our Heavenly Father, is the perfect Creator of all things and His Son Jesus Christ is His Only Begotten Son, Our Savior.  With that as our basis, then we can work through our other differences.  With faith in Our Heavenly Father, if we come across something that doesn’t make sense to us, that we might find ourselves inclined to argue with Him or doubt Him about, we can humbly come before Him and ask for His Mercy and Understanding.  In short we can have the pre-temptation Garden moment, where our longing is to be in the presence of Our Creator God; Heavenly Father.  To walk with Him in His beauty and splendor.

However, if our logic, our learning, our understanding is what we’ve built our foundation on, then our Garden moment may very well be tragically different.  When faced with something that we don’t agree with or that we don’t understand from Our Heavenly Father, we may have a post temptation Garden moment.  That is, we may run from God, we may hide from Him.  We may believe that our understanding, like for example we shouldn’t be naked before Him, trumps His desire to be with us, so we turn from Him.  We believe in the end (and that end is tragic) that we know best.

But dear sisters and brothers in Christ; here is where the amazing praise and blessing comes in; either way God is waiting for us.  God does not give up on us, even if we turn from Him.  God does not abandon us even if we try to argue with Him.  How do I know?  Jesus Christ told me (and you too).  Jesus is speaking about redemption.  Jesus is speaking about mercy.  Jesus is speaking about His Father’s Love and Patience.  Jesus tells the story of the prodigal son.  The son’s logic, the son’s understanding, the son’s argument tells him to leave.  While the Father does not agree, He does not disown the son, does not turn His back.  No, through patience, through mercy, through love, He waits for the son, looks for the son, rejoices at the son’s return and forgives the son.  So we may find ourselves at a point of estrangement.  We might have arguments with our church, or like Job, we may have even tried arguing with God, Himself.  Don’t let the debate be the last thing.  Know the Redeemer God will always be there for us.  If we will only humble ourselves to Him, He will lift us back up to a place where, In Him, there is no more reason for contention or dispute.

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father, You know that we live in a world full of contention and striving against itself.  Through Jesus Christ, You warned us that a divided house will not stand.  Forgive us, Most Merciful Father, when we either attempt to contend with You or allow our disagreements with others cloud our relationship with You.  We thank You and praise You for Your steadfast Love and Patience with us, always willing to forgive and welcome us back.  We pray that You would help us to always remain humble before You striving to build that lasting, perfect relationship.  We pray this in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen

“These are the words which I spoke to you while I was with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning me.”  Luke 23:44

It can be one the most dreaded phrases that we use with each other.  You have had a disagreement with someone.  You might have even argued; AND, initially it seemed you won.  They other person, acquiesced, they gave in or they gave up and said “you win”.  Here’s the thing, they didn’t end up agreeing.  Secretly or maybe not so secretly they let you know that they don’t think your way is going to work.  Then a truly terrible thing happens.  They were RIGHT!!!!!!!  Whatever horrible outcome happened that they predicted would happen if your plan was followed; actually happened.  Or the outcome you predicted was going to happen failed miserably, again, just as they predicted.  So you’re hoping against hope that you’re not going to see them for a little while.  You hope that they have gone to live in a cave and are not aware that the outcome they thought would happen has actually happened.  BUT NO!  There they are.  Standing there smug with a sly grin on their faces.   They draw in a deep breath and you hear those four stinging words come out of their mouth that you can’t refute because they are true:  “I told you so!”  And all you can do is stand there and take it.  (Do you get the sense this has happened to me before?)

Is the meaning behind the phrase just a simple reminder that they had predicted the inevitable outcome?  Hardly.  There are several aspects to this.  First not only was your argument wrong, but you were wrong to make that argument in the first place.  Second, you weren’t listening well enough.  If you had you would have seen the correctness in their argument and would have gone along with it.  And Finally, in the future you should not argue against the other person and should gladly go along with their viewpoint because they are going to be correct in the future and if you don’t go along, they will have ample opportunity to say: “I told you so again!” (Please believe me this is just not a post about not liking that phrase!)

Jesus uses a phrase close to “I told you so”…..” in the phrase:  “These are words that I spoke to you while I was with you…..” but His purpose behind the phrase is vastly different then the purpose we use the phrase for.  In this part of Luke, Jesus has just appeared to His Disciples who were gathered behind locked doors, for the first time.  They marvel and are scared to see him.  They know who He is but are not sure what He is.  In other words, they think He might be a spirit or some other kind of unearthly manifestation.  He invites them to touch Him and He eats with them to show that He is a very physical, living, risen person.  He then explains how he had told them that He would be arrested and treated horribly; that He would be killed and most importantly, He would rise again from the dead, as a living, breathing person.  He is not chiding them or trying to make them feel bad.  He did not have to try and show them His superiority.  His very presence was easily enough to show that.  No, this was the other side of the phrase that He used very often:  “I tell you this before it happens so that when it happens you may believe……..”

Jesus Christ is saying to them and saying to us:  “See, remember that I told you this was going to happen and it did happen just as I said and My Father had said through others,that it was going to happen.  So believe!  Believe not only in this but, because you have seen with your own eyes and heard with your own ears the truth of which I speak, then believe all that I have said and promised to you!”

Jesus Christ said and promised many things:  “Come unto me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest”  “I am the way the truth and the life”  “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish..”  Those are only a few of the promises that He gave.  Our Heavenly Father, both through the prophets of the Old Testament and Jesus Christ, Himself, told us of the wonderful salvation that God has planned for us and the eternal life, He wants for us through Jesus Christ.  Oh, by the Grace of God, may it be that we believe in Jesus Christ and come into His presence where we will hear Him say:  “See I told You So!  I told you I and My Father Love you and want You to be here with Us, in Love, Forever.

Our Most Gracious and Heavenly Father, we praise You and thank You for your boundless Mercy and Love for us.  That you would take the time to give to us words spoken through Your Prophets and Your Son, Jesus Christ about Your Love for us and how we are to love one another.  Thank You, most Holy Father, for telling us ahead of time, of mercies and love you have in store, so that when they happen, it may strengthen our faith and belief in You.  Please forgive us, Dear Father, when we doubt the message You have most graciously supplied to us and Pour Out Your Spirit that we may be restored.  That knowing that You have told us in advance of the glory to come, we might live a life of Praise to Your Most Holy Name.  We pray this in the name of the one who told us so many great and marvelous things; Jesus Christ.  Amen

%d bloggers like this: