Unless You've Been There
“Unless You’ve Been There”
By Greg Gwin
A narcotics addict pushes back against the friend who is rebuking him and trying to encourage his repentance. “You just don’t know what it’s like. No one can ever understand unless they’ve been there.” The substance abuser is not the only one to make this argument. An alcoholic often tries this same defense: so does a smoker, the man hooked on pornography, and the compulsive gambler. Often attempts to restore these folks are dismissed with the claim that others who haven’t experienced these issues have no ability to comprehend the problem or offer effective help. We deny this. A person does not need to struggle with all these same problems in order to know that they are sinful, and that the sinner must repent. A proper interpretation of Biblical truths is not affected by one’s own personal experiences.
Wrong is wrong and sin is sin, no matter whether you’ve ‘been there’ or not. If personal experience provides the ‘key’ to understanding and applying the Scriptures, then the door is wide open to all sorts of misguided interpretations. For instance: A man tries to justify his divorce and remarriage by arguing that his former marriage was so unhappy and unfulfilling. “Others,” he says, “can’t understand unless they’ve been there.” Really? Matthew 19:9 still seems pretty clear on that subject. Certainly a homosexual might claim that others can’t know what he is dealing with. And while he’s right about that sin being hard for others to understand, it does not change the clear condemnation of Scripture (1Cor. 6:9-11). Or a parent with an unfaithful child argues against disciplinary action taken by other Christians. “You just don’t know because you haven’t been there.” Maybe, thankfully, we have not – but Bible truth remains unchanged (1Cor. 5:1).
This same line of reasoning applies to all sorts of family issues, church problems, and other terrible situations. Even without having personally dealt with every conceivable kind of trouble, we can be “complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another” (Rom. 15:14). Think!
Ten Reasons Why Political Anger is not Worthy of Disciples of Christ
By Gardner Hall
1. Disciples of Christ should be known for their love, not their political anger (Jn. 13:35).
2. Disciples of the first century were apolitical in the sense of not trusting in politics to achieve their ends because Christ’s kingdom is not of this world (Jn. 18:36) Some will reason that this example “doesn’t count” because they couldn’t influence their world politically, but we can in a democracy. Jesus could! However, he chose not to use political means to attain his goals while on the earth.
3. Christians invest their time and resources in the spiritual kingdom (Matt. 6:33). Earthly kingdoms come and go. They go through cycles of corruption and reform. Christ’s kingdom is eternal.
4. The Christian’s weapons and battles aren’t carnal (2 Cor. 10:4; Eph. 6:12).
5. Political anger takes away the peace that passes all understanding (Phil. 4:7).
6. Political anger affects our efforts to reach the lost with the gospel (1 Cor. 9:22,23). This is especially true in larger cities.
7 The way to overcome evil is with good, the gospel of love, not with political pressure (Romans 12:21).
8. To identify ourselves with a political figure of the left or the right as if he or she were the solution to our countries’ problems is to marginalize Jesus Christ (Jn. 14:6). He is the only solution to man’s greatest problem – sin.
9. Political anger shows too much attachment to the things of this world (1 Jn. 2:15).
10. “The anger of man doesn’t achieve the righteousness of God” (Ja. 1:20).
Ten Differences Between a Doctor and a Preacher
1. The Doctor says, “Please disrobe,” and we do it without question. The Preacher preaches that we should dress modestly, and he is getting too personal.
2. The Doctor charges outrageous fees, and we complain but we come back for the next appointment. The Preacher teaches about giving each first day of the week, and we neglect it and are offended.
3. The Doctor checks how much we weigh, and we allow him. The Preacher asks how much we pray, and it's “none of his business.”
4. The Doctor prescribes unpleasant, expensive medicine and we take it. The Preacher feeds us the pure word of God, and we say “no thank you.”
5. The Doctor's office closes at a scheduled time. The Preacher is to be awake and available to us twenty-four hours a day.
6. The Doctor tells us how to change our lifestyles to lower our blood pressure. The Preacher tells us how to change our lifestyles, and raise our belief in God.
7. The Doctor tells us that he needs to run more tests, so we make an appointment. The Preacher says we need more Bible Studies and personal work, and we are too busy.
8. The Doctor says, “There is nothing more we can do for you,” and we search high and low for one who can help. The Preacher says, “God can help you,” and we give up and say “What's the use?”
9. The Doctor says, “Try this and see if it works, and if it doesn't we'll try something else,” so we try it. The Preacher gives us the promises of God's Word, and we walk the way we want to.”
10. To the Doctor, we are just customers. To the Preacher, we are a part of the family he belongs to. He loves us; he prays for us; he helps us carry our burdens. He laughs with us and cries with us. (Author Unknown to me)
We make petitions to God, not demands. We ask Him in faith in His great love and eternal wisdom. God is not our waiter, and the Holy Spirit is not our genie. Prayer is pleading God’s promises, not ordering from a menu of blessings.
Test Your Bible Knowledge of Abraham’ Family
1. What was my name before I was called Abraham?
2. What was my name before I was called Sarah?
3. What was the name of Sarah’s Egyptian handmaiden?
4. What was the name of Abraham’s first son?
5. What was the name of Abraham’s promised son?
6. What was the name of Abraham’s second wife?
3/1/20 AM - Barnabas’ Edifying Expositions
PM - Singing Service: Congregational Choice
3/8/20 AM - Appointing Elders and Deacons
PM - What Does the Bible Teach about Christians and Self Defense? Conclusion
3/15/20 AM - “If I Do Not Wash You…”
PM - Seven Scriptural Crowns
3/22/20 AM - A Godly Man’s Resolve
PM - Stand Still and Be Quiet
3/29/20 AM - The Bible’s Big Words
PM - Moment by Moment