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On Taking Issue With Another Christian Who You Believe Is Wrong (via John Newton)

John Newton on the spirit with which another believer in grave error should be corrected:

If you account him a believer, though greatly mistaken in the subject of debate between you, the words of David to Joab, concerning Absalom, are very applicable: “Deal gently with him for my sake.” The Lord loves him and bears with him; therefore you must not despise him, or treat him harshly. The Lord bears with you likewise, and expects that you should shew tenderness to others, from a sense of the much forgiveness you need yourself.
In a little while you will meet in heaven; he will then be dearer to you than the nearest friend you have upon earth is to you now. Anticipate that period in your thoughts; and though you may find it necessary to oppose his errors, view him personally as a kindred soul, with whom you are to be happy in Christ for ever.

Read the rest of the article here.

Even more by Newton on the topic here, covering the personal and broader impacts of public disagreement.

By printing, you will appeal to the public; where your readers may be ranged under three divisions: First, such as differ from you in principle. Concerning these I may refer you to what I have already said. Though you have your eye upon one person chiefly, there are many like-minded with him; and the same reasoning will hold, whether as to one or to a million.
There will be likewise many who pay too little regard to religion, to have any settled system of their own, and yet are preengaged in favor of those sentiments which are at least repugnant to the good opinion men naturally have of themselves. These are very incompetent judges of doctrine; but they can form a tolerable judgment of a writer’s spirit. They know that meekness, humility, and love are the characteristics of a Christian temper; and though they affect to treat the doctrines of grace as mere notions and speculations, which, supposing they adopted them, would have no salutary influence upon their conduct; yet from us, who profess these principles, they always expect such dispositions as correspond with the precepts of the gospel. They are quick-sighted to discern when we deviate from such a spirit, and avail themselves of it to justify their contempt of our arguments. The scriptural maxim, that “the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God,” is verified by daily observation. If our zeal is embittered by expressions of anger, invective, or scorn, we may think we are doing service of the cause of truth, when in reality we shall only bring it into discredit. The weapons of our warfare, and which alone are powerful to break down the strongholds of error, are not carnal, but spiritual; arguments fairly drawn from Scripture and experience, and enforced by such a mild address, as may persuade our readers, that, whether we can convince them or not, we wish well to their souls, and contend only for the truth’s sake; if we can satisfy them that we act upon these motives, our point is half gained; they will be more disposed to consider calmly what we offer; and if they should still dissent from our opinions, they will be constrained to approve our intentions.
You will have a third class of readers, who, being of your own sentiments, will readily approve of what you advance, and may be further established and confirmed in their views of the Scripture doctrines, by a clear and masterly elucidation of your subject. You may be instrumental to their edification if the law of kindness as well as of truth regulates your pen, otherwise you may do them harm. There is a principle of self, which disposes us to despise those who differ from us; and we are often under its influence, when we think we are only showing a becoming zeal in the cause of God.

The whole post.


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Improving Our Listening Skills

I struggle to be a good listener.
My mind usually wants to offer some story of my own, or articulate a conclusion I’ve reached about what I’m hearing.
This video has some helpful instructions that need to be revisited over and over again.
The people who made this have made other videos. I have not watched any others yet, so this isn’t a commendation of all their releases.


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Spot The Guilty Party

This video points out the importance of gathering all the evidence before leaping to judgment.
It’s also a bit cute.


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The Problem With My Decision Making Process (via Doghouse Diaries)

I do this a lot, not only in front of a computer, but in front of menus and supermarkets.
via Doghouse Diaries.

2014-11-17


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Passing The Test

Douglas Wilson tells a story that sounds like a joke, but the punchline is eternally true.

Once there was a Presbyterian minister who had made the whole topic of sola fide his special field of study. He had mastered the subject, as far as any mortal man can be said to have mastered anything. After a long and fruitful ministry, he eventually did what all Presbyterian ministers do, which is to say, he died.
As he approached the pearly gates, he was mildly surprised to see that St. Peter was there, just like in all the jokes. But he was, he thought, prepared to roll with it because, after all, he was going to Heaven.
Right next to St. Peter was a long wooden table, of the kind you see in examination rooms. A chair was pulled out for him, and on the table was a thick test, and a pencil next to it. As he walked up to St. Peter, he was greeted warmly and the set-up was explained to him.
“We have prepared a small fifty-page test for you,” Peter said. “Because we believe in grace, we decided to prepare a test for you that is right in your wheelhouse. This entire test is dedicated to the subject of sola fide, a subject you have been studying for forty years, I understand. If you get a perfect score, you may enter into joy.” With that pronouncement, Peter handed the pencil to the minister, and gestured to the waiting chair.
The minister held the pencil for a moment, thinking about it, and then quietly, without a word, he handed the pencil back.
A smile played around the corner of St. Peter’s mouth. “You pass,” he said.


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Soul Fatigue (via John Ortberg)

John Ortberg on ‘soul fatigue’.
Excerpted from this post.

The soul craves rest. Our wills sometimes rejoice in striving; our bodies were made to (at least sometimes) know the exhilaration of tremendous challenge; our minds get stretched when they must focus even when tired. But the soul craves rest. The soul knows only borrowed strength. The soul was made to rest in God the way a tree rests in soil.
One of the challenges of soul-fatigue is that it does not have the same obvious signs as physical fatigue. If you’ve run a marathon, your body lets you know it’s finished. Our souls were not made to run on empty. But the soul doesn’t come with a gauge. The indicators of soul-fatigue are more subtle:

  • Things seem to bother you more than they should.
  • It’s hard to make your mind up about even simple decisions.
  • Impulses to eat or drink or spend or crave will be harder to resist than they otherwise would.
  • You are more likely to favor short-term gains in ways that will leave you with long-term costs.
  • You judgment suffers.
  • You have less courage.

Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

Read the whole post here.


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How To Point Out Wasted Effort (via Leadership Freak)

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Dan Rockwell summarises Peter Drucker on influence and provides nine questions “to point out and begin resolving wasted effort.”

  1. What’s frustrating you?
  2. What’s frustrating about that?
  3. What are you doing to solve your frustration?
  4. How’s your strategy working?
  5. What do you really want, with this situation in mind?
  6. Who do you want to be, with this situation in mind?
  7. How can you step toward your desired outcome, today? The answer must be an observable behavior.
  8. Who has faced a situation similar to yours?
  9. What are you willing to change?

To which he adds an important note:
People aren’t always willing to deal with wasted effort. They want to dig in and try harder. If you’ve explored the issue and they persist, don’t worry about it. You can’t change people.

From Leadership Freak.