betrayal of trust

trust is one of the principal ingredients of friendship.  when trust is gone or eroded, friendship falls apart.

one of the saddest things that can happen in a friendship is the betrayal of trust.  this often takes place when confidences are broken, ie. when information that is considered confidential between two friends leaks out, and the cause is, one of the two either carelessly or purposely shares it with someone, and you learn of it either from others or from the person to whom it had been divulged by your friend.  this often results in hurt feelings, doubts about the loyalty of your friend, and a subsequent distancing of relations.

it takes time to heal… if it ever will.

there is a certain transparency and a sense of abandon we indulge, when we talk with friends, especially when criticizing other people.  we tend to be carefree and careless, knowing that we won’t be judged, and we won’t be ratted out.  it often borders on gossiping, (which is wrong,) but it is the way of friends; and it is often justified by claims of being concerned about others (which, sometimes… is true).

which is why when information shared in the confidentiality of the friendship leaks out, it reveals a tear at the seams — the friendship has started to fall apart.

this is especially true, if your friend tells the person who was talked about, that she/he was, in fact, criticized by you.  it is a spreading of hearsay, and often does not represent fairly what you said (the criticism) of the person.  this is a betrayal of trust.

this is the ill effect of the disclosure to the person talked about: she/he now has cause to take offense at you, based purely on the hearsay.

the needle and damage had been done.

the case for mutual agreement

how can mutual agreement be achieved in the church?  varying points of views may come in conflict with one another, and varying interests may compete, on certain issues.

here are some principles to guide you in seeking to achieve mutual agreement within the body.

“my way” is — more often than not — not the way.  this attitude reveals intolerance and stubbornness.  it does not make the case for mutual agreement.

oftentimes, keeping or preserving personal relationships is more important than tenaciously hanging on to beliefs and practices, that are not vital to the salvation of your soul, or the life and well-being of the church (eg. should church prayer meeting be on sunday or can it be done on a weekday?)  oftentimes, not insisting on non-vital issues for the sake of general edification, is an exchange worth making, in the long run.  this makes the case for mutual agreement.

but.  some vital issues, issues vital to the salvation of your soul, or to the life and well-being of the church, (eg. salvation by grace through faith; “no” to same-sex marriage,) cannot be sacrificed.  irreconcilable differences on these points, when these prevail, become sad — sometimes bitter — times of parting or separation between brothers, friends, or allies.

biblical wisdom is the guiding principle by which you ought to determine what is vital and non-vital, in your quest to preserve the truth in your life.  you need to grow in your understanding of the scritpures.

humility or lowliness of mind is the operative disposition in which you ought — it is your duty — to regard the person (primarily) and the belief or point of view (secondarily) of the others in your congregation.  humility is the cradle of respect.  this (again) makes the case for mutual agreement.

agreeing to disagree on certain issues makes the case not only for mutual agreement, but more importantly, for mutual respect.

above all, patience is the crowning virtue of all, in the achievement of mutual agreement.  patience trumps all virtue, because patience paves the way to change.  patience changes you.

the true enemy of your soul

you are in christ, and christ is in you.  you are christ’s and christ is yours.  therefore, be content — never complain.

the true enemy of your soul, more often than not, is not where you focus on.  it is not your natural instinct to be wary of who or what the true enemy of your soul is.  you habitually get blind-sided by (what are) mere second causes, surrounding circumstances.

the true enemy of your soul is not people who make your life extremely difficult, people who oppress you, people who hurt or betray you, a spouse who mistreats or abuses you, a son or daughter who disrespects you, or who ignores or despises you, or people who commit crimes against you.

the true enemy of your soul is not poverty, penury, huge business losses and bankruptcy, termination or unemployment, foreclosures of properties, loss or property due to acts of God, like fire, floods, or earthquakes, or acts of men, like vandalism, theft, and robbery.

the true enemy of your soul is not cancer, not debilitating or terminal sickness, not death or dying.

the true enemy lies, not outside, but inside your soul — sin.  sin in the form of unbelief, or the absence (or lack) of faith.

the object of faith is christ, or God in christ.  faith trusts.  faith trusts in christ, or God in christ, as the source, or the sum, of all good things to your soul.  the promises in scripture and in the gospel, are God’s guarantee to your soul, that all will be well with you, despite all adversities.  it is only in these gracious promises — faith in these precious promises — that your soul finds true repose, rest, and quietness.

the true enemy of your soul… is unbelief — the absence (or lack) of your faith.

i will never leave you, nor forsake you. heb.13.5.

grace upon grace

“for daily need there is daily grace; for sudden need, sudden grace; for overwhelming need, overwhelming grace.”  john blanchard

we need grace every moment of every day in order to do what is pleasing in the sight of God.

we need grace to believe.  grace to believe in christ.  we need grace to believe in the promises of God in christ, in the gospel.

we need grace to repent.  to repent of our sins.  we need grace to acknowledge our sins before God.

we need grace to pray.  to pray as we ought, according to God’s will.  we need grace to know what to pray for.  we need grace to believe that we will receive what we ask for.

we need grace to not fall prey to despair.  grace to not lose hope.

we need grace to overcome temptation.  we need grace to resist the devil.  we need grace to love the law — what is holy, and just, and good.

we need grace to have pure thoughts.  to have right thoughts about God, and flee from idolatry.  we need grace to overcome strong lusts, evil desires, angry and murderous feelings.  we need grace to mortify sin.

we need grace to love our enemies.  to bless those who persecute and abuse us.  we need grace to forgive those who sin against us.  we need grace to ask forgiveness from others.

we need grace to be thankful to God always.  to worship him acceptably, and hear his word attentively.  we need grace to praise him jubilantly and triumphantly.

we need grace to speak of christ to others.  to tell of his love.

we need grace, the gracious influences of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, the gracious acceptance of God as our Father, by the blood of the gracious atoning sacrifice of christ.  apart from grace, we can do nothing spiritually acceptable to God.

as jesus reminds us, “apart from me, you can do nothing.”

lame excuses

“i can’t come to the sunday afternoon bible study, because…” or, “i can’t attend the prayer meeting, because…” and you can follow these half-sentences with a litany of lame excuses, posing as important reasons.

the truth of the matter is, more often than not, what the people who say these, ought to say, is, “i don’t like to come to the bible study, because…” or “i don’t like to attend the prayer meeting, because…”  because the truth of the matter is, that people who say these, are not really talking about their inability to perform their duty, but rather, their lack of desire or interest to fulfill it.  they feel a stronger desire to avoid them, or a more compelling desire to do whatever alternative activity it is they do instead.

“i can’t come to the bible study, because i broke my leg, or because i am confined in the hospital,” is a statement indicating inability — an inability to perform one’s duty at the present time.

“i can’t attend the prayer meeting, because i am leading the tagalog service,” expresses one’s inability to be in two places at one time — the other activity, (in this case) leading the tagalog service, being an unavoidable duty.  had there been no tagalog service, (and it had happened), the person who leads the tagalog service, attends the prayer meeting, simply because his heart is cheerful in fulfilling this duty.

“i can’t attend the prayer meeting, because i need to finish my notes for the afternoon bible study,” i explained to the leader of the prayer meeting, since i’ve been struggling to adjust to the teaching assignment on my plate.  it is a sorry excuse — and totally avoidable.  i repented, and made amends.

the next Lord’s day, i attended the prayer meeting, but skipped lunch instead, to finish my notes for the afternoon bible study.

so the question is: unless you have a broken leg, or are in the hospital, or on another unavoidable duty — why don’t you attend the prayer meeting, or the sunday afternoon bible study?

what is your lame excuse?  what is that avoidable activity?

metamorphosis…

the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly has been used to illustrate the conversion of an unregenerate person into a christian believer.  the analogy is very thought-inspiring and moving.  to imagine how an ugly and hideous caterpillar could become such a beautiful and lovely butterfly is simply astounding!

but upon closer examination, the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly is not analogous to the conversion of an unregenerate person into a christian believer.  it is not analogous on a very fundamental point — on the cause of the metamorphosis.

caterpillars change into butterflies because it is in the order of nature.  in other words, all things being equal, all caterpillars change into butterflies at a certain point in their lives.  a caterpillar matures into a butterfly, in its normal life cycle.  nature urges the caterpillar to enter in its cocoon, awaiting the time it would spread its wings and become a beautiful and attractive fluttering being.  a butterfly is simply a mature caterpillar.

on the contrary, unregenerate persons, in order of nature, do not change into christian believers at a certain point in their lives.  an unregenerate person does not mature into a christian believer — never — he simply matures into an unregenerate man or woman, and dies unregenerate, in order of nature.  all unregenerate persons do not mature into christian believers, in order of nature.

the change is caused by a supernatural act of God — God breathes new life into the unregenerate soul that is spiritually dead, to give him spiritual life.  this is when his spiritual life begins.  this is when he “spreads his wings and becomes a beautiful and attractive” spiritual being — not by order of nature, but by a sovereign and supernatural act of God.