Saturday, December 18, 2010

2010 – December 18 – When Scruples Become Unscrupulous

Study from God’s Word The entire letter from Paul to Titus … Passage for Reflection: Titus 1: 15 … NIV To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted.

My Journal for Today: Reading the title above, it may seem somewhat nonsensical. We generally think that “having scruples” is a good thing when it denotes one pausing or having doubts about what is perceived to be bad choices or behaviors. But just because someone balks at behavior cannot automatically be judged as GOOD scruples, especially when the judgments are based upon ignorance, miscalculations, or miscommunications.

In today’s highlight text, Paul was warning his protégé, Titus, who was in Crete dealing with a number of Jews who were teaching spurious doctrines about Judaism which perverted the concept of grace in The Gospel. Therefore, their “scruples” had become unscrupulous; and they were confusing the believers in the church in Crete, teaching that they, especially the Gentiles there, must conform to Jewish religious traditions as a sign of their salvation.

Today, in his devotional, LaGard Smith, asks, "Are my high standards of virtue matched by an equally high sense of God’s grace?" And this is always a balancing act for Christians, isn’t it? How do we maintain Godly truth and exercise Godly grace simultaneously? Jesus was the model of balance when it came to truth and grace; and we, as His disciples, certainly strive to emulate His balance. BUT to say the least; … it can be tough at times!

In today’s socio-political arena, we see those living the so-called “gay” lifestyle and claiming it is normal and healthy. And there are people, calling themselves, “christian,” who scrupulously claim that these people are behaving abominably; and these “christians” will not have anything to do with those who call themselves “gay christians.” And where in all of this finger pointing and hate-speech is God’s grace being exercised? Is this not an example of “scruples becoming unscrupulous?”

Where is the love and the grace of God being exercised when so-called “christians” point fingers at misguided homosexuals, calling them “queers” or “faggots?” How will God’s truth be heard or received when our scruples, as Christians, make the light of truth invisible to those who need it so desperately? And also, … how can the light of God’s truth be visible when, because of excessive grace, it’s never taken from under a bushel and shone, …again, to those who so desperately need it? Oh, the dilemma of seeking a balance between grace and truth!

As Dr. Smith writes, "… the danger is either being so “grace-filled” that we relegate all scruples to the realm of personal opinion; … or – like those Jewish legalists [with whom Titus was dealing] – being so lacking in grace that we call “unclean” what God has made clean."

But, you are probably asking, at this moment, how does that statement apply to the situation of dealing with homosexuals in our world today? Because, as your scruples [and mine] may dictate, homosexuality is so clearly a sin-ridden lifestyle; and so, how can we, as Christians, therefore show God’s love, in witnessing truth to lost people who are living as homosexuals and still try to witness the truth and light of God’s word to them?

And that my friends is one of those ever potent and powerful conundrums of our day; and though I’d like to pontificate Godly wisdom and clear direction here, my fellow Christian; I’m afraid you’ve latched on to the wrong teacher/Pastor here. I’m still trying to walk that social tightrope and find the right balance these days. And when I get all the answers, I’ll be right here to tell you about them.

Until then, I’ll keep trying to grow into Christlikeness and be as much like our Lord was in dealing with sinners who were lost and living in the darkness of their own sin.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, help me be like You, shining Your Light into the darkness of this world, yet always standing in/for the truth. Amen

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