Understand the Reasons

“If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.” 1 Timothy 6:3-5

“But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written,

“’What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
    nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him’—

“these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit… No one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.  And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.

“The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2:7-10a,11b-14

There is a vast difference in the motives and wisdom of those who are in Christ and those who are not. It’s important for interaction and civil dialogue to understand the reasons behind thought, opinion, and behavior- our own and that of those with whom we disagree. To expect clear insight from one spiritually blind, comprehension of the things of God from one spiritually ignorant, open inquisitiveness from one soul-hardened, or vibrant life from one spiritually dead, is to be unreasonable. Different doctrines determine different mindsets.

Trouble comes when in self-centered impatience we push to get our point across or win to our ‘side’ or persuade ‘opponents’ without taking time to understand others first. One who does not agree with the sound doctrine of Scripture will not, and cannot, comprehend the secret things of God. No additional personal sermons or higher volume of a rant will convince a depraved mind deprived of truth. Only the Holy Spirit can give spiritual discernment. The fact that as Christians our eyes have been opened should be a prompt for humble praise and earnest prayer for those still blind.

How might conversations be more fruitful, and the truth more winsome, if we approached others desiring to learn and understand rather than air our opinions? What if we listened more, even studied the the silences between the lines, and talked less? Will we intentionally, expectantly pray for God to reveal the folly of the rulers of this age?

“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound,
that saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
was blind, but now I see.” ~John Newton (1725-1807)

Lord, keep me humble, ever grateful for Your grace, and filled with Your Spirit in relationships with those in darkness.

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