Read His Words Before Ours!
￼I was sick. You know when you’re “I just want to lay on the couch and watch movies all day” sick. Yeah, I was that sick.
Nothing soothes me more than a good Lord of The Rings marathon on days like those. I wasn’t even 30 minutes into the film when God showed me something I had overlooked that pierced my soul and shook me up.
If you aren’t familiar with LOTR by J. R. R. Tolkien, it is a fictional tale of how the future of civilization in Middle Earth rests in the fate of one ring. A wizard named Gandalf (representing good) discovers a hobbit, named Bilbo, has the ring. This is a ring of power that has consumed the lives of countless men, the ring that could destroy the world. A ring which Tolkien, the writer, uses as a metaphor for sin.
Gandalf begins to see how much this ring has entangled Bilbo. Bilbo, exposed of his obsession and intoxication by this ring, gets angry at Gandalf and falsely accuses him of wanting the ring of power for himself.
Gandalf (in what I would describe as a righteous anger) yells back,
“BILBO BAGGINS! Do not take me for some conjurer of cheap tricks! I’m not trying to rob you!”
Gandalf then softens.
“…I am trying to help you.”
I spoke those same six words to a young woman of God that had just turned 21.
We sat at my dining room table with two other ladies that made up our small discipleship group. “…I say these things because if I don’t, I’d be hurting you more than helping you”, I concluded.
She had just shared the details of her 21st birthday celebration and, as a spiritual leader in her life, with firmness and love, I shared how better choices could have been made.
The room was quiet, she nodded her head and said,
“I know. Thanks.”
We embraced as she left and days later, she texted, thanking me for that confrontation.
On the other hand, I prayed and asked God to reveal to me if I was at all in the wrong for being so straightforward and rebuking her behavior.
See, I’m convinced we have this idea of rebuking and judging others so twisted up that we fear rightfully correcting fellow believers when in the wrong so much that we even cringe at the sound of the words “I rebuke you”.
But God revealed to me that while we don’t have the right to judge the ungodly, we have the right and the responsibility to keep our fellow believers accountable.
And we must.
As Gandalf was urgently compelled to question Bilbo about the ring of power that began to consume him with darkness, we too need to have that urgency.
But our intent, as Gandalf’s, must be pure and out of love and care for the person.
“Only God can judge me.”
A phrase many have uttered. Even believers utter this from time to time, convinced they don’t need accountability.
True, God alone will be the one to rightfully judge us all in the end. But while here on earth, we as believers are called to keep each other accountable to the holy living instructed to us through God’s Word.
Jesus’ teachings in Matthew 7 and Luke 6 are where we find the phrase “judge not”. But sisters, we’ve got to pull back the lenses to consider the fact that Jesus says these words in connection to the famous question, “Why do you look at the splinter in your brother’s eye but don’t notice the beam of wood in your own eye?”. In these verses Jesus is addressing the fact that we aren’t to go judge others if we have sin in our hearts we haven’t confessed.
If Tolkien’s symbolism of sin is a ring, consider splinters and wood beams to be Jesus’s. What’s never questioned is whether or not the splinters or beam of woods need removing.
Because bottom line,
Jesus wants to free us all
from our splinters and beams of wood!
Jesus reminds us to check our hearts and check ourselves before we confront another. Matter of fact, if we pull the lenses back even further, we’d see that in the entire Sermon on The Mount (Matthew 5 – 7) Jesus is addressing our hearts, not just our outward, religious acts.
When we approach a sister in Christ let’s ask ourselves:
How is my heart?
What is my motive?
Am I aware of my own sin?
Have I repented?
If so, by all means, hold that dear sister accountable as we are commanded to! “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.” (Luke 17:3) “Brothers and sisters, if someone is overtaken in any wrongdoing, you who are spiritual, restore such a person with a gentleHYPERLINK “https://biblia.com/books/csb/Ga6.1-10” spirit, watching out for yourselves so that you also won’t be tempted. Carry one another’s burdens; in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:1-2)
Be someone’s Gandalf.
Be a 21-year-old’s mentor.
Confront, hold accountable,
encourage, warn, admonish,
rebuke if you must!
Perhaps you’ve seen the clip below, but re-watch it from the perspective of sin and its desire to control us, just as God tells Cain in Genesis 4:7. See the necessity of having accountability in our lives if we are to overcome sin’s powerful pull.
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!