Tuesday, October 5, 2010

For Christ's Sake

There is this bible study at my place of employment. I had started it a couple of years ago because it seemed like something that was needed plus I was told they used to have it but the information was vague as to why they no longer did. When it began, I was truly enjoying getting the lessons together and the questions that stirred among those who attended. It caused them to study and question all that they thought was the truth over the years. I suppose it was necessary back then as we were babies but we just can't stay that way forever.

Be as it may, after only a few months, I had to give it up. It was the Lord telling me to do this. I hemmed and hawed and assumed because I was starting school. God knew better than I what I could handle, so I stopped it. One of the other residents felt that it was much too important to stop and continued with the classes but I didn't have peace about still attending. Two weeks later the administrator called me into his office to ask about said bible class and who gave me the permission to conduct it. I honestly proclaimed, "I am not conducting any bible study." With that he replied, "I don't care that you are having a bible study class, its just that it is not on the calendar and some of the residents have complained to the CEO as to why they cannot have a bible study class anymore?" I still repeated what I originally said. The matter was dropped.

Since then the class continues. The one who took it over reported to me how well things were going and even requested if I could make her some lesson plans to give to the other participants. I was only too happy to comply. Even though I wasn't in the class at least I can help with the lessons. I waited almost 2 years before seeing how the class was going. Some of the residents have left the building while new participants joined with a much more demonstrative personality. As I came in quietly, they all lifted their heads and acknowledged me in the room. They continued back with the class. I knew I couldn't just come in and resume where I left off but figured with some time, I could nudge my way in if things weren't flowing as smoothly.

I thought I could just sit there and listen, but the topic of suffering came up and that archaic way of thinking resurrected and I just couldn't keep quiet. I couldn't let them grow at the pace God had set for them. I had to put my ways in there so we all could be up to speed. So there I went. Spouting off the way God gave it to me. It was all fresh and new and they were all going to be grateful for getting that fresh spiritual food. It went well for the first 20 minutes. Everyone seemed happy. Then I realized that that a new resident took over the meeting and the one who was suppose to be conducting it, took a passive role. I didn't expect that. In fact I was a little annoyed that she thought she could do such a thing being new to the group and all. While she spoke, I prayed as I did before coming. After all, we are all children of the King; so we can hear His voice. When I finished praying in the Spirit, she was initially opposing my view but she stopped, smiled and said very little.

The next meeting, the really quiet ones had studied and came at me with scripture and verse. I was surprised and a little excited that there was actually some feedback to what I said from last week. The new leader also chimed in. We were still on the subject of suffering. We went back and forth with what I knew and what they learned. They were determined to suffer no matter what Jesus freed them from. Though I knew what they were saying and hoped they were getting what I was saying we both didn't disagree with the other knowing it did not promote righteousness. But that new resident, that was taking over the class, she kept using one derogatory statement after the other to undermine everything I was trying to say. I prayed like before in the Spirit, and it got worse instead of better. It got to the point where I was wasn't going to say anything just use my eyes and stare at her while she spoke. We established eye contact and she knew.

When the class was over, I don't know what the other participants thought. It wasn't on my mind. I continually sensed how I was annoying this woman and how much she was irritating me. When everyone else was gone, I spoke to her and told her that our behavior would have to stop. She asked me in class that because I was the newest member there she was going to extend for me to speak about the chapter reading first. I felt it was necessary for me to tell her that I was the one that opened the bible class before she got there and if anyone was new it was her. She told me boldly that I was annoying her. I didn't expect her to say that but I replied that I know. I also added that the repartee we were having had to stop. There was no reason for her to give a derogatory statement every time I said something. Though we were suppose to be making peace with one another, she was justifying what she had to say and why. I stopped defending myself and it became quiet. She hugged me and said that next week there would be a different topic that we wouldn't have to do that sort of discussion anymore. She decided that. She was able to justify herself. She was conducting the bible class. She took my peace offering and made it her own.

She walked away feeling better about the matter. It is what I was hoping for but at the same time get her to see that she has to let the class run according to the flow of the Holy Spirit (translation: give me back MY class!).

In a nutshell, it wasn't for me to go back to. They were perfectly happy at the pace they were going. I know I stirred things up a bit. When I came to the class the second time, the new woman conducting it, was falling asleep as the scriptures were being read. When I sat down the verses were still being read but she saw me and was wide awake after that. Before I came to those two sessions, she didn't have nothing but her bible. That second session she had a note book full and announced to the class she had been studying the lesson for 4 hours straight.

I smiled not because I saw the challenge but because she found it necessary to announce that. Why wasn't she studying like that before? She had to go over each verse that opposed mine. Why didn't she use the verses that agreed with me? So I listened and heard that the rest of the participants studied too. And they had questions of their own. I hope she studied enough to answer them. If not, God will have a bunch of people making requests that weren't before. Just like I did for more Spiritual food.

The point I was making in class and even here in that scenario, we suffer for Christ's sake. Not with whips and chains like it has been taught for so many years. If that is what we will have to go through, then why not let sinners know that when we witness to them? Why keep it secret until they are mature enough not to turn around? We suffer for Christ's sake because of the flesh. He said to pick up your cross and follow Me (Mark 8:34 KJV). The cross is where the flesh must die. We have ways that are not always right but we justify them as if that is enough of a defense. It is those new ways (God's way) that goes against the grain - the world's way of doing things. Some don't like change. Blessing those that spitefully use you (Matthew 5:44 KJV). Keeping quiet when our natural response is to defend ourselves (James 1:19 KJV). Allowing someone to take advantage of a situation and not raise a hand back against the other (Matthew 5:40 AMP). Winning an unbelieving spouse with our countenance when the flesh would rather go and get a divorce (1 Peter 3:1-2 KJV). You see there is a suffering for Christ's sake but it doesn't mean to be accepting of sickness and disease or enduring domestic violence.

Jesus came to set the captives free. And who the son has set free is free indeed.

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