Freedom ISN'T Free - Michael Ledbetter; Put The Fire Out - Allan Myers

 

 

Freedom Isn’t Free

As we celebrate July 4th as Independence Day, we celebrate the freedoms we have in our country. We know that our independence, our freedom, came with a heavy price. Our citizens fought against other nations to allow the independence we enjoy. Each of those wars cost countless lives, lives given to allow us to enjoy our freedoms. Freedom to write this article, freedom to worship, freedom to have a job, raise a family, shop at the store, to live.

In several places Paul speaks of the freedom we have in Jesus. In Galatians 5:1, Paul says “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” We do have a freedom, a freedom that the early Jewish Christians didn’t always grasp as they held on to the old law that Paul called “slavery”.

If we have freedom in Christ – what price was paid that afforded us our Christian Freedom? Our creator (John 1), the genesis of our existence, the omnipresent force that decided we should be; He created us knowing that the price of our freedom, the price of our eternal presence with Him would be His own human death (Acts 2) by the most cruel method ever devised. His death provides me freedom from the old law, freedom from my own spiritual death and freedom to anticipate an eternity with Him (John 14).

John 1: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Acts 2: 22-23: “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know—this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.

John 14:1-4:  “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.  In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.  And you know the way to where I am going.”

 

Michael Ledbetter

 

PUT THE FIRE OUT

 

Gossip is wrong. Gossip is sinful. Gossip is divisive. I cannot say enough bad about it, so I'll let God say it. Read Proverbs 11:13, 16:28, 18:8, 20:19, and this is not His whole conversation on the subject.

 

Gossip, slander, whispers. True or false is immaterial. It's hurtful to someone else. It's not about me. It's none of my business. I wouldn't share it out loud during class. I wouldn't say it out loud if the person involved could hear it. I have to fish or bait in a conversation to get someone else to talk about what I want to know.

 

Gossip gets overlooked or joked about because we don't recognize it's damaging effects or are hesitant to deal with it.

 

To the gossiper: Ask your spouse or a true friend if this is you. If it is, you are in direct conflict with God's word. You are, according to scripture, choosing to hurt others. You are not helping anyone. Whatever justification you have for gossiping, although you don't call it gossip, it is not justified. Paul, in II Corinthians 12:20, groups it in with jealousy and fits of rage - not the place we want our heart to be. In this passage, the Greek word for gossip is psithyrismos. The definition is a whisper; by implication, a slander. God tells us that sin is a choice; we can give in or we can escape. (I Corinthians 10:13) It won't be easy, but I pray you choose to leave it behind you.

 

To the one being gossiped to: If you don't stop it when it first happens, you have joined in with the gossiper. Just like the gossiper, you have a choice to make. Choose to recognize sin and immediately tell the gossiper you won't be involved. Ask if they have talked directly to the person they are gossiping about. Tell them if you are not part of the problem or cannot be a part of the solution, you don't need to hear it. "Without wood, a fire goes out; without a gossip, a quarrel dies down." (Proverbs 26:20) Put the fire out. It sounds harsh, but you can strongly, lovingly, show both parties on the ends of the gossip train you love them enough to stand against sin. If not in our R&C family, where else?

 

To the person being gossiped about: According to scripture, they are being hurt, a truth even the world recognizes. More than likely, across several conversations. When you are the target of that much defamation, especially from your family, it doesn't exactly feel like a safe place anymore.

 

Let's make our family a place where we speak justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God. (Micah 6:8) A place where we work to shut down gossip.

 

I love you all!

Allan Myers

 

 

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