Listening to God’s rebuke, minus the experience

First, an aside. We will get to some of the things that I did today, that should earn one (and the arrogance of that statement. Oops, the asides grew to 2.

The first aside was started by my thinking about the situation surrounding the first time I was ever fired from a job. I thought specifically of the manager, and where at the time, and for quite a few years after, I thought that he was an arrogant “new manager”. I know that within a few years I was able to speak with him, with new respect. He told me how the decision to fire me was difficult. I sensed anguish, and wrestling on his part. And he wouldn’t have wrestled with the decision, except that he was valuing me enough to try to help me with some of the things that I did, and how I communicated surrounding them. In some ways, now 40 years hence, I look back both with admiration for how good of a job he did as a man in his early 30s. I also look back, and find an intertwined motivation that led to that firing. That is most of what I will blog about
The second aside has to do with a time when I was younger, and hurting from my divorce, and the judgment that I experienced that came from the church and society. I was in the adult Sunday school at the 11am service, because my wife and I had separated, and we wanted a consistent environment for our son, and we agreed on this church. Well, again avoiding each other, the adult sunday school class that I chose, was where I was the youngest person there, in my 40s. But, as it turned out, it was an amazing group of people that Holy Spirit seemed to minister to, and he wanted to minister to me on a number of levels as part of that.

That day I was fiercely resisting black-and-white thinking. But I still felt the pain of judgment, not from others in the class, in fact, I was probably beating myself up for some failure.

So the topic of the class hit the “hot button” of the doctrine of entire sanctification. I knew this church believed it, and from what I knew of it, I didn’t think much of it.

So, I let myself experience the reality of Romans chapter seven – not wanting to do what I do – and – wanting to do what I don’t do. And with significant caution from the Holy Spirit to be gentle, I asked if that was before Paul received entire sanctification. The leader of the class was honest enough to say that he bought Paul got it all at the beginning of his ministry. But he allowed the question to shake him. I have to respect him for that. He had decades of reputation resting even on his being shaken, and not being sure. So he was very, very courageous day. Someone even older, in their mid-90s, came to us both with grace, and said that he thought often times that they defined entire sanctification differently than when the doctrine was first created. But the reason that I include this now is that it seemed to surface that we were all hearing some of the same words, would have described it in different ways.

Self from the big picture, down to the laser focus. How do I hear rebuke?
The expressions that first come to mind are centered around for words “You did that, again” I didn’t put any punctuation at the end, because I would write different perceived emotions, differently. There is the exasperated, incredulous, possibly controlling or manipulative exclamation point. And when it is period, I usually hear sort of a resigned, sad, disappointed tone.
I am not saying that God never uses those tones, but in light of 2 Pet 3:9 (God not wanting any to perish, except the son of perdition) and Rom 2:4 (His kindness leads us to turning), it has to be kind.

Now, “kindness” is a distinct word from gentleness. Oh, it was such insight that in the fruit of the Spirit, in Gal 5:22 kindness and gentleness were separate word, except that, they aren’t some translations use kindness, and others use gentleness for the translation of the word chrēstotēs so, I have to back up to say that I have received the Lord’s kindness, that seemed to be not very gentle. Maybe, I should just leave it at that.

We are at the very point. If a parent yanks their child by the arm so hard that it dislocates their shoulder, is still kind, if that action is what causes the truck to miss the child by a quarter of an inch (0.4 cm).

And, I think there is the rub. Some things, we don’t understand, and may not be able to understand until we are older. But, the other type of self-reference is similar in the unavoidable subjective. We may have grown up with someone yanking us hard because, they are angry and feel powerless because they can’t control bigger things, so they control us. So, we dig in our heels when ever anyone yanks on us, or even pulls us.

We live inside this body. We can’t live on the outside. It is why we need God to move in with us, in Holy Spirit. It is also one of the reasons why Jesus, said of Holy Spirit, that He would guide us into all truth, John 16:13

“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; … (NASB)

Without Him, our perspective is so limited.

So, I ask, not as into the air, to see if God is listening, but to Holy Spirit living in me, “speak, lead, or show me the truth, when the Lord rebukes me.” I am not sure I have ever hear the Lord’s rebuke without the filter of my experience. But, I do know the value of it. Proverbs 9:8 says

… Reprove a wise man and he will love you. (NASB)

When combined with James 1:5

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. (NASB)

We need wisdom to produce love from reproof. And we can and do ask for wisdom, and that too comes from Holy Spirit.

God had to come inside us to fix this myopia.

He isn’t done with me on this yet. So I may need for you, my readers to help me go deeper.

Thank you!