Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Problem of Misunderstandings

For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged…And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just.  –Romans 3:3, 4, 8 (KJV)

Have ever had the misfortune of being misunderstood?  We all have at one time or another.  Consider how it came about.  Something you said did not come out exactly as you intended, perhaps it was something you wrote, or maybe you were simply misquoted.  In any case, the results can be problematic.  According to God’s Word, Paul the Apostle suffered all three situations.  There were those who did not understand what he was seeking to convey, Paul was at times misquoted, and what he wrote was misconstrued.  In response, Paul said that some were affirming a slanderous report that he had said we ought to do evil so good will result (Romans 3:8).  Paul had said nothing of the sort.  In fact, he explained in chapter 6 how those in Christ turn away from sin as a result of the grace of God, not turn towards it.  Romans 6:1, 2, “What shall we say then?  Shall we go on sinning that grace may abound?  God forbid.  How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?”

The Christian life is about walking in faith rather than in ungodliness.  Walking with Jesus Christ is about turning away from the godless practices of the world and embracing the loving, compassionate, ethical teachings of the Lord Jesus.  We must always be careful about what we repeat because it may be misunderstood.  Even Paul the Apostle had to deal with this problem.  As he sought to lead people to faith in Christ, he was unfortunately misunderstood and misquoted.  There is an interesting attitude among countless people today and it is that if you receive it in an email then it has to be true, right?  Wrong!  Here are a few examples:

-Billionaire Bill Gates is not paying anyone thousands of dollars for forwarding an email.
-Cracker Barrel restaurant will not send you a gift card for a free meal if you forward a certain email. 
-Famous atheist Madelyn Murray O’hare had been dead for years.  She is not sponsoring a bill in congress to remove all religious broadcasting from the airwaves.  No such bill exists. 

Before I hit the forward button on my email program, I make sure I know the facts.  Jesus said in Matthew 10:16, “I am sending you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves; be ye therefore wise as serpents and harmless as doves.”  The world will sometimes condemn us, but God through Jesus Christ vindicates us.  The world will dislike and sometimes hate us (and the gospel), but Jesus said to go ye therefore and teach all nations (Matthew 28:19, 20), which is a command and not a request. 

Most importantly, sin condemns us, but Jesus Christ cleanses us, makes us whole, and sanctifies us sinners.  We are no longer condemned, for through Christ we overcome.

God bless you today.