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Category Archives: communication

“Super Saints”

There are people in the body of Christ who are very serious about developing the character of Christ and who live consecrated lives.  These individuals have conquered much of the sin issues in their lives and have an anointing that they carry because of their obedience to the Father.  Favor follows them and they seem to change the atmosphere everywhere they go.  These kinds of people are rare and unfortunately subject to criticisms from fellow believers in Christ.  They are usually accused of trying to be superior to others, all because they value holiness and have a sincere reverence of the lord.  These individuals live differently than almost everyone around them and people are sometimes naturally convicted of their sin when they interact with them.  These individuals exhibit the love of Christ and go out of their way to respect others but again, people respond to these individuals out of their hurt and brokenness.  These individuals are wrongly accused of elevating themselves above others.  However, these individuals are NOT to whom the following open letter is addressed.  I have been compelled to proclaim a message to the “super saints.”  These are those who only resemble the people I just described, however, they lack humility and are part of the reason why people outside of the faith have distorted views of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ.  So with that being said…

Dear Super Saint,

It is admirable that you know the scriptures backwards and forwards, and I see that you are well-meaning in your proclaiming of the gospel.  You admonish those around you to be doers and not just hearers of the Word of God.  You are sold out for the cause of Christ and the church desperately needs people like you to be an example to others during these end times, but I notice that people tend to avoid you instead of being drawn to you.  Your ministry isn’t really growing or flourishing and people often feel belittled (not convicted) when they encounter you.  Now I will let you know that it is NOT the “Christ in you” or your “righteousness” that is pushing people away.  It’s simply you…

You have an OBSESSION with being right and have issues with anyone who doesn’t support your theology one hundred percent.  You communicate with people in a way that somewhat devalues them and so their experience with you is rarely ever pleasant.   What I sincerely want you to see is that you can know the Word of God like the back of your hand, yet still fail to love people the way God intended.  Whether you realize it or not, many have actually been DISCOURAGED by you in their walk with the lord instead of encouraged.  Your words have ripped people to shreds but then when people lash out at you or simply cut you off, you believe that you’re being persecuted.  I’m sorry beloved, but this is not true.  You see yourself as a “martyr” of sorts and believe that people avoiding you is somehow evidence of the anointing on your life.  You believe that people not liking you means that you’re on the right path and you often use “being a part of the true remnant” as an excuse.  You carry an aura that says “I’m the only one who is really saved,” and trust me; it stinks like rotten eggs.  I know because I have been to ministries and been around people who operate in that kind of spirit.  They don’t seem to understand that they are a detriment to the body of Christ and not a blessing.  Or other times you have compared yourself to the biblical prophets as a justification to being unpleasant towards others.  I don’t believe the prophets were intentionally nasty to people, they just stood for the truth and people wanted to stay in their wickedness.

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So beloved, please know that I am praying for you, whether or not you heed this message.  Understand that the love of the Father doesn’t manifest in the ways in which you act out.  Yes He does chastise and correct, but He does not belittle and demean.  You have become somewhat of a “spiritual bully,” when you could really be a wonderful encouragement to those around you, and I’m not talking about your friends or faithful followers (if you’re a pastor).  I believe what is really going on with you is a heart issue.  There are some serious wounds that are embedded deep in your heart and they manifest in the behaviors that I have described.  Spiritual pride is just as bad as all the other forms of pride and in some cases probably worse.  Please take a serious inventory of yourself and ask yourself the hard questions.  What is the real reason why I start debates concerning scripture?  Do I have to win every argument or debate?  Why do I always focus on what is wrong with others instead of their strengths?  These are just a few examples.  Please hear these words with an open heart and know that you are needed for such a time as this.  Get healed.  Repent.  Apologize to those whom you have hurt.  Be humble.  Then take your rightful place in the body and be the blessing you were ordained to be.

Sincerely,

The Brethren

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A Beautiful Death

The fall has always been one of my favorite seasons of the year besides the summer. I like the way that the weather cools and the wardrobe change from shorts, tank tops and sandals to pants, long sleeve shirts, jackets and shoes. However, what I like the most about fall is probably the colors. Some of the most beautiful landscapes ever captured in a photo have been adorned with shades of yellow, orange, red and brown. Funny thing is that when I was a child the only thing I liked about the fall was Halloween because I was a candy fanatic. What I didn’t like was that I had the chore of raking up the leaves in the yard; definitely not fun for a nine and ten year old at the time.
But I would like to stay on the subject of the leaves. Every fall the leaves change colors creating their own artwork before they eventually fall off the tree. In other words, the process of them literally dying is visually spectacular. It’s a beautiful death. Well, I believe the same is true for us when we die to ourselves in order to become Christ-like. There is a scripture in the Bible that states He will give us beauty for ashes, and I believe that leaves changing colors before they die is a perfect representation of this truth.

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Without the dying process, we will never develop the character of Christ nor will we ever complete the individual purpose that He has assigned to each us. There is in fact a beauty in dying to self. There is something about humility and lowliness that Father God finds to be irresistible. There is a spiritual beauty that radiates from those who learn to love others more than themselves. Something magnificent seems to permeate the aura of those who are living for a purpose much greater than themselves. People who flee from self preservation are infectious and even alluring in a non-erotic way. They recognize that their lives are truly not their own because they have put all of their trust in the Father. They are a magnet because there is a hidden beauty that comes into view when people are willing to give the ultimate sacrifice because they can see the full panoramic view of destiny. This is a spiritual harvest of the highest order!

Dead leaves fall beautifully and decorate the ground, but then they decompose and make the soil more fertile. Once the spring comes along, the trees grow vibrant green leaves with the aid of new sunlight and rain. Plants, flowers and crops reveal themselves as new life coming from the old. It takes a death for new life to spring forth. I think about the times when someone’s death helped preserved the life of others. Sometimes it might have been organ donation to save someone’s life in the natural. Even more wonderful, it can be the death of someone who was sold out to the cause of Christ who made a lasting impact on those who are still living. Their lives ultimately either inspired others to come to a higher level spiritually or inspired them to commit their lives to Christ for the first time. These individuals are those colorful leaves that decorate the ground, preparing it for the next harvest…

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Nathan Allen Copyright ©2013

 
 

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To Judge or Not to Judge

Matthew 7:1-5 Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. NKJV

This is probably one of the most misused and misquoted scriptures of the entire Bible. In the past, I have used this scripture incorrectly many, many times. Nine times out of ten, this scripture is quoted by people when they are confronted by others regarding their sin issues or bad fruit that they are producing. This scripture is used in defense to someone declaring the Word of God regarding known situations. However, using that scripture to defend bad fruit or actions is totally incorrect. Proclaiming the righteousness of God or stating a fact is NOT judging someone. Jesus Christ stated that we would know a man by his fruit, so in essence; the fruit speaks for itself. Or should I say that it speaks the judgment itself.

When Jesus spoke the words of Matthew, He was referring to judging someone’s motives or heart. We do not know what it is in someone’s heart, and so it is not wise for us to pronounce judgments because we will most likely be wrong. Unless there is visible fruit and information is in fact known, what you are doing is judging instead of simply examining fruit. According to Steve Foss, author of Satan’s Dirty Little Secret, most of these judgments come from a place of insecurity or inferiority. I believe that this why Jesus said to get the plank out of our own eye before trying to remove the splinter from our brother’s eye. Unless we know all of the information, we have a plank in our eye and should keep silent. These incorrect judgments will tear down relationships and cause divisions. They are really just a form of gossip and they usually proclaim untruths about people, which is basically slander. They are an assassination of someone’s character.

So the purpose of me even writing this post is from a place of REPENTANCE. I have been guilty of judging people and situations because I did not have all of the facts. I drew conclusions about people and situations that were sometimes hurtful or just incorrect. Once I gained an understanding of judgment as defined by Jesus, I am now very conscious of this behavior and am striving to not judge without information. I shudder at the thought of how many people I have unfairly judged over the years. Even though there might have been some visible evidence or fruit of what I felt, there was a much bigger picture that I did not see until much time later. Had I withheld my judgments, I would have regarded and treated them better. Due to my own insecurities and feelings of inferiority, I would cast judgments from a place of hurt and often times I was completely wrong. Meanwhile, I allowed the enemy and his forces entry into my own mind and into the atmosphere to cause further damage. This sin is simply another gateway for demonic activity and for confusion to arise.

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But I want to go into another aspect of judgments that we make. Sometimes they are not necessarily evil in their intent. They refer to viewing people and situations not necessarily in a negative light, but simply a wrong one. We all know the saying in the world about what happens when we assume. I won’t repeat it. ☺ These assumptions directly and indirectly influence how we react to situations and people. The truth is in fact that situations are not always what they appear. Can you see how much damage can be done due to judgments? Can you see the amount of confusion that can be caused?

I can think of different situations over the past number of years where I thought I was being “overlooked” or “disrespected.” Whether it involved ministry or the job, I would assign motives and intents to people who made the decisions in situations where I seemingly got the short end of the stick. I would immediately jump to conclusions about them and conjure up all kinds of thoughts and ideas surrounding the situation that usually had no relevance whatsoever. Over time, the Lord has shown me that I overreacted in many of these situations. The bottom line was that I simply needed to grow up and get over my inferiority complex and rejection issues. There will be times when it will appear like you’re being treated unfairly and unjustly, but sometimes God is testing you to see if you can keep your composure and refrain from drawing unnecessary conclusions. It may sound a little harsh but we all should grow some thicker skin, which will help keep us from forming judgments.

The reality is that only God can judge the heart or someone’s motives because He sees directly into our inward parts. Only He knows the deep things of our hearts.

Nathan Allen Copyright ©2013

 

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Speak the Truth in Love

How many of you have tried to receive correction from a fellow believer, but they made you feel like a total loser in the process? Have you experienced the same thing in the world? I imagine these situations would likely come up in the workplace, with friends or acquaintances, recreational activities, etc. Well, I don’t know about you, but I have come to realize that it is not just about what you are saying. It is equally, if not more important, how you say it.

Ephesians 4:14-16 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. (NKJV)

constructive criticism

When you give someone constructive criticism, it should be with a heart that echoes, “I love you and want to see you do better and be better.” It should always be for the best interest of the person, not your own. Unfortunately, there is something about the flesh that likes to “put people in their place.” There seems to be some twisted enjoyment in belittling others and that “I’m better than you” tone often times surfaces. I am thankful for people who are sensitive enough to go out of their way to consider other people’s feelings and emotions.

Now I know that some of you might be squirming because you might be thinking that I’m encouraging “coddling” or “sugar-coating” the issues when confronting or ministering to someone. Please be assured that that couldn’t be further from the truth. I know all too well that coddling and babying folks doesn’t work. If we love someone or at least have their best interests at heart, we tell them the truth no matter how hard it may be. These types of situations can even result in the loss of a friendship, but we have to trust the Lord even more. The Word even endorses a sharp rebuke, but it doesn’t endorse belittling and making people feel like crap.

Titus 1:13 This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, (NKJV)

People are going to naturally be offended by the truth. We can’t do anything to control that. However, when the truth is not spoken in love, it does more damage than good. The individual who needs to hear the truth is unable to because of how it was presented to them. Whether it is a nasty disposition, a mocking/taunting attitude, unnecessary facial expressions and body language, those things can get in the way of the person hearing the truth in their hearts. In essence we actually end up trying to play the Holy Spirit and the result often times is that the person gets hurt even more than before because of how they were addressed. Now I do want to clarify that a sharp rebuke is still supposed to be done in love. The problem comes in when one talks down to people instead of talking with them. We have to remember that the truth in itself is already going to hurt them to a degree. Truth does not need our help to get its point across.

I can recall various times when I have heard pastors and ministers in church talk about people with specific issues and it didn’t feel like ministry at all. There words and taunts might have been laced with Scripture, but they did not lead to godly sorrow, which leads to true repentance. The spirit in which they operated brought on belittlement and shame. There is a huge difference between the two! It is hard to receive truth and/or correction when someone is talking down to you and treating you like you are beneath them. Sometimes you can unconsciously do this and not be aware of it. I know I have done this over the years and it was brought to my attention a number of times. Thank God I have a changed heart and now I go out of my way to make sure that I’m showing people the proper level of respect when it comes to ministering or just giving constructive criticism. From personal experience, I can receive harsh correction from someone if I believe that they are coming from a sincere and loving heart. But if someone is talking at me and making me feel like some kind of idiot or even resorting to name-calling, it becomes nearly impossible to receive what is being spoken to me. At that point, I don’t even believe that it is necessarily correction. It’s just a form of bullying.

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God shows us new mercies every day. He is more than patient with us, as well as gentle with us. He will chastise and rebuke, but He never does it in a way to trash or demean us. After all, He is The Father. No father would hurt his children in that way, at least not intentionally. So let’s all follow the example of Paul and remember to do our best to speak the truth to others with a spirit of love.

Nathan Allen Copyright ©2013

 

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