Friday, January 5, 2018

When Loyalty and Tradition Trump the Word

Historians and wise people teach us the past. For good reason.
Those who cannot remember the past are  condemned to repeat it.
~George Santayana 
There is a reason we study what has occurred throughout history. In this day and age, we have been abundantly blessed with the ability to study to our hearts content nearly any subject, even mere matters that pique our interest.

It concerns me to see in many areas of life a stagnant oppression to loyalty over Truth. 

Our church for example has compiled an entire printed volume of the rich history it claims. There are traditions as well as long-standing members (and some of their descendants) that have been a part of the foundation of this church.  We started attending our church after searching for an exegetical preaching style, there is a rich long-standing history of such preaching; the traditions and foundations of an organization are not bad, but sometimes need fresh eyes on them.  In a church and as a church like ours in a time of transition, it very well might be a time to reevaluate or risk clinging white-knuckled to a loyal tradition.  Time to reevaluate the leadership goals, the pastoral goals, the effective leading and equipping of the saints, the way in which we approach our youth and how to get to their hearts, the children of the church (for them to know their value in Him and the knowledge to be more than the subject of a memorized verse), or possibly the way in which missionary support is provided.  Praise the Lord, our church is setting up the structures to ensure that the traditions it maintains are in right-standing.

Personally I love tradition, the creeds, the history, the structure. It's comforting to know it has been there all along and it's comfortable as a backdrop in my daily walk. However, as I, myself, have been walking through my own transition in my walk with Christ I have seen in myself how my tradition kept me from truly pursuing the Lord in my heart. It grew my knowledge, comfort, and voice but I had missed my own heart in my empty, vain walk where I claimed the name of Christ as my own but lacked assurance. While not an identical scenario as what our church faces, I think it similar.

How often though do all of us do the same though? Do we cling to a person and revere them to the point of Sainthood, refusing to hear truths about them that are uncomfortable?  Do we uplift or enable someone to sin instead of encouraging them to repentance? Do we, with tight fist, evade any negative comments about a "Christian" leader because you might know him personally or like him as a person? Do we want to keep reading the same "Christian" author and avoid harsh (but true) criticisms of what she teaches? Do we hear the truth about someone but ignore it so we can keep sinning in the same way ourselves? Bringing it down quite a few levels, do we want to keep watching the same tv show at night even though the episodes have consistently showcased more and more evil? Do we want to read a certain book even though there are detailed bedroom scenes?

So I ask, how much do we selfishly cling to the things we want to believe instead of challenging them against the Truth of the Bible?

It may be time for you to reevaluate your life.  Does the truth you see align with God's Truth?
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