I just cannot help it. I had to postpone today’s post in order to write this. Yesterday, I metaphorically swam in the toxic waste. The poison that ran through the piece was amazing in the amount of bitterness vomited out from the person’s keyboard. I hope it was cathartic for them. As for me, I wanted to bathe after reading it.
“Bitter” in King James English often meant poison, in fact. When Israel came to bitter waters, it wasn’t the taste they were complaining about. The poison was a metaphor for their complaining attitude (cf Ps 95, et al). James uses that same metaphor as it applies to speaking evil of others (Jas 3:2-12). Bitterness is toxic if left unchecked for long.
What comes after James’ discourse on bitter and sweet?
13Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.
~ Jas 3:13 (NIV)
Notice the wisdom and understanding comes from doing what you know is right, but it does not stop there. The good deeds are done in humility.
The problem is that human beings are not naturally humble. Humans are inclined to believe they are right. Sometimes, they even resist the truth even when presented with facts that counter their opinions. It means admitting you might be wrong.
Religion does not change this. “J” of Shadows of WCG Next Generation, who is possibly about the most reasonable and thoughtful blogger I’ve read of the opposing viewpoint, wrote “A Personal Reflection: Everybody Thinks They’re RIGHT!”. It applies not just to the COG movement, either. It applies not just to the general umbrella of “Christianity”.
We have over 7,000,000 Baha`is. Over 300,000,000 Buddhists. Over 6,000,000 Confucianists. Hundreds of millions of Hindus. We have hundreds of thousands of Jains and Jews. Over a BILLION active and believing Muslims. Shintoists (2,000,000 of these), Sikhs, Spiritists, Taoists, Zoroastrians… and over 150,000,000 atheists all make up the non-Christian religious world viewpoint.
And they all think they are right. [Emphasis in original.]
Think about what that means, will you? HWA himself said that the world’s religions can’t all be right!
Then again, I say this thinking “I am right”, and if I didn’t think I was at last halfway right I wouldn’t be blogging this. And many of you will disagree with me thinking I am wrong and you are right. Can’t shake human nature can we?
If there is any flaw in J’s article, it would be that he is wrong.
In fact, all of the world’s religions are wrong.
I am wrong.
You are wrong.
We are all wrong.
It isn’t a matter of if we are wrong, but about how much we are wrong and about what we are wrong.
It’s part of the human condition. In fact, being wrong is so ingrained into being human that only One could ever live and die as a human and not be wrong. And, what was His attitude?
Most of us would agree that Jesus was righteous. He was “good”. Yet, He pointed to the Father for rightness and goodness. Is this our attitude?
The effect of having “the truth” and believing we have the “whole truth” is that we become puffed up (1Co 8:1). The Days of Unleavened Bread are not far off, so this might be something to think about.
The problem with thinking we have the whole truth is that even Jesus Himself did not claim to have perfect knowledge as a human.
OK, class, it’s reading comprehension time. Who does not know when the return of Christ is? Let’s see, no man, no angels and not even the Son knows when He will return. Who does know? The Father.
“Well,” some will pontificate, “surely He knows now!” OK, we have the Book of Revelation written after the above. Show me the passage.
“Well,” others will speculate, “He is now a spirit, so He must know now.” Well, the angels are spirit, and they didn’t know either. Again, show me the verse.
Not only can we not show that anyone on earth currently knows the time of Christ’s return, we cannot even know if Jesus knows yet. Do you get yet just how imperfect our knowledge really is?
That should humble us. Which is good, because it is the antidote to the root of bitterness. It’s difficult to be haughty and nurse feelings of hurt, remorse and anger when you realize you are probably quite wrong about a lot of things.
If you cannot admit you are wrong, then I question if you have truly repented. After all, repentance starts with the knowledge that you have done wrong. If you cannot admit you are wrong, then you automatically must be “good”. If Jesus refused to be called “good”, then who are you?
Repentance should not just a one time event, either. True, it kicks off the process of conversion, but it is also a necessary ingredient to sanctification.
So, what of it? Weren’t we promised the “whole truth” after all? Does admitting you may be wrong about some things contradict faith? I plan to show later that the answer is, “No”.
Unless, of course, someone first proves me wrong. 🙂