Peaceful Edification

Eisenhower was right.

He once quoted an old Army adage that says “Plans are worthless, but planning is everything.”

This week was a “plans are worthless” week.

I planned to start out this article exploring those two different types of abuse we looked at a couple of weeks ago. The first type was a failure to separate the holy from the profane, and the second was saying “Thus saith the Lord” for something God didn’t say.

I should have known that those would be difficult topics to address.

Conversations on email and twitter, plus some of my own reading of other blogs out there have revealed strong opinions and beliefs – many with painful histories, invisible to everyone except close friends.

One of you made this comment about the concept of spiritual abuse:

Divining it in others is difficult and probably not a healthy undertaking.”
via Twitter

My goal has been to explore in my own life what might end up being an abuse of the authority or influence God has given me. Even with that intent, it is easy for me to drift off into a self-righteous guru mode. There is a lot I’d like to say about profaning the holy and overstepping the bounds of spiritual authority. To use a common metaphor, I see them as ditches on either side of the road.

As I explore those ditches, though, I can’t yet shake the pride of thinking I have it figured out. How silly of me. If I somehow think that I already understand it, then I don’t know enough to write about it yet. I’ll still welcome more of your input so I have more to process.

In the meantime, I would like to remind myself of the theme verse of Edify Hub: Romans 14:19.

“Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.”
Romans 14:19

Paul used this verse to sum up the discussion of meats, holy days, stumbling blocks, and faith. At the same time, he encouraged both abstinence and tolerance. (OK. I know, in writing “tolerance” I just used an extra-biblical hot-button word. But I think it’s helpful to be reminded that there is some degree of tolerance expected of us, even if it’s not the absolute tolerance of sin that the world around us encourages.)

In this theme verse of Edify Hub, the Bible points out two goals: peace and edification.

Peace

When I disagree with a brother, can I disagree peacefully?

This is the area that’s hard for me when I look at Ezekiel 22:26 and consider making a difference between the holy and the profane. My understanding of what is “profane” or worldly depends on my perception of the world around me and what defines it. That understanding will shape where I put my fence — how I make a difference between holy and profane for my own life.

Especially after conversations with people who live in countries other than the United States, I’m realizing that I don’t have a foolproof understanding of what is “worldly” or “profane.”

Can I view someone else’s activities – that, to me, appear worldly – and still “follow after the things which make for peace” between us?

Can I understand that my activities may appear worldly to someone else – without accusing them of being judgmental or legalistic?

Those aren’t easy.

Edification

I understand that James Strong was not divinely inspired like Paul was when he wrote Romans 14:19. Still, I’d like to open up Strong’s definition of Paul’s Greek word that was translated edify:

“the act of one who promotes another’s growth in Christian wisdom, piety, happiness, holiness”
Strong’s Dictionary entry for “edify” (G3619: “oikodomē”)

This verse, Romans 14:19, is the inspiration behind Edify Hub’s stated goal. It’s a responsibility that each of us has – to encourage Christian growth…

…peacefully.

How?

So now I’m seeing another two ditches:

  1. If I never influence my brothers and sisters in Christ to grow or change, I’ve failed the second half of the verse.
  2. If I push them to change with the wrong attitude, wrong methods, or wrong targets, I’ve failed the first half of the verse.

And this time I know I don’t have the answer.

So once again, I’m looking for your input.

photo credit: MemoryCatcher on pixabay (Public Domain)

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Leave A Comment below to share one way someone else has encouraged your Christian growth in a peaceful way.

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