Friday, July 15, 2011

Love, Correction, and Judgment: My Interview with Rachel Winchester

Those who know me know that I am not afraid to ask the hard questions!  I enjoy thoughtful conversations with people and tend to learn much from asking questions.  I do not try to be controversial, as some would describe me.  But I do have a passion for truth.  And truth is not always popular!

God has blessed me with some amazing and wise friends!  I have learned much from them, and I do cherish a friend who will always point me to truth no matter what the cost.  Rachel has been one of those friends.  She has an amazing passion for God, and it shows in her love of His Word.

I hope that you are blessed by her words! 

1. Tell me a little about yourself.

I am a daughter of the King, a wife of an amazing husband, and a mother to 4 crazy kids! My days are filled with loving my God, working in my home, serving my family, and training my children.

I homeschool my 3 older children in the midst of babyville with my youngest! It is a rollercoaster ride in our household but we love it and love how God makes everyday unique while teaching us to have character traits like patience, grace, mercy, love, attentiveness, and courtesy. Those are hard daily lessons but ones I find joy in as I see my kids develop.

My hobbies are sadly lacking right now. I love to sing, to play the piano, to take pictures, and to read. But, most of my time is taken up with schooling my kids and just overall keeping up with life. The life of a mom!

I do enjoy speaking at ladies' functions or leading a Bible Study. I have had the opportunity to speak at Parent Meetings in the Calument Twnship schools, Building Blocks- a Women's Center Outreach, Mother/Daughter functions, a Women's Retreat, and at a Mom/Daughter retreat focusing on purity. Everytime I speak I am amazed at the opportunity given to me to share Christ's love and my love for the roles of mother/teacher and wife/helpmeet. I enjoy Bible study because it teaches me and stretches me!

I love friends. I think that life was made to live and grow with others. I have many friends and it is quite an amazing accomplishment that I do find time to spend with as many of them as I can. Of course, those friendships are all wrapped around the beauty of our salvation in our Lord and the craziness of all our kids! It is a wonderful gift when your friends sharpen you and point you to the King!

I guess you could say I live life busy and I love it!

2. How would you define love?

Love defined is hard, Love as a noun is simple- Love is a person, God. To then understand love one must learn WHO GOD IS. This is complex. I have learned God's characteristics and I find that everything about him even his discipline and his punishment is because of his love.

I also think love is described beautifully in I Corinthians 13. The hardest part of that description is the action involved. Which brings me to the other part of what love is. It is an action. It is a choice.

I think it is a must that we separate love as a choice and love as a response. Love acting on choice looks slightly different than love as a response.

Love as a choice is one that always seeks the best for the other person regardless of the other person's response or actions toward us. Love is a choice when the easiest thing to do is lash out or ignore but love goes in and works for resolution and peace.

Love as a response can be a pure and beautiful thing. It can be described as cherishing that which has been done for us. And that looks different for everyone.

Love is best shown to us by what God did for us through His Son. Romans 5:8 states: But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Love is going to point of death and even death for those you cherish.

Love as an action also cares about the life of another. If I see someone saying they love God and are not obeying him or caring for the things of God then as a sister in Christ I am to love by pointing out gently what I am observing. Love doesn't judge. It reproves, corrects, and then brings about restoration whether that be with another person or with God.

Love is full of grace (giving us something we do not deserve but we desire) and Love is full of mercy (withholding something we deserve but do not want).

Love is not easy. Love is not empty words, it is by definition action. It is who God is.

3.  Biblically, we are called to correct, instruct, and encourage one another to righteousness. In what circumstances should we do this? .
I think we get confused as to what this means. We think that by doing these things it will always bring conflict. But, if we do these things with the Fruit of the Spirit then it is done gently with meekness (humble understanding of our own faults too) and surrounded by self control. It is done with patience realizing that correction and instruction takes time. Encouragement is done through the way we talk, interact, and can be part of correction and instruction.

At first correction or instruction come when you can do it one on one not in a public fashion. Our goal is always righteousness not humiliation or embarrassment. I think it needs to be done when we have our own emotions under control so we do it out of love and not anger or indignation.

There are some circumstances when it involves false teaching that a person might need to correct while in the presence of others and in that instance you do it with the assumption that their teaching is motivated in love and therefore when corrected they will comply and change or study upon what you have given them.

How do we balance that with our call to love?

I think this is an interesting question because by definition love corrects, love instructs, love encourages. If I did not love someone I would not correct them, I would let them head into trouble and not care a bit about what happens to them. If I did not love someone I would not instruct them, I would let them continue in ignorance. I did not love someone I would not encourage them, I would leave them to figure out what they are doing well in. So for me you cannot have correction, instruction or encouragement without love. If one does these things without love then they should be the ones having someone coming to them to question their motives. :)

4. The big phrase we hear today is "don't judge me!" The Bible instructs us not to judge, lest we be judged. What does this passage mean to you? Is there ever a circumstance when we are called to judge?

This question intrigues me. I find it honestly quite humorous because everyday, every hour, and minute by minute we judge. We judge what is good for us, what is bad for us, we judge whether our friendships are honoring, we judge how our children are doing and so on. We need to read those words that come from a verse in God's Word in the context it is given and then match it up to all of Scripture.

Matthew 7:1-5
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

This particular passage is NOT saying, "Do not judge at all". It is saying that when you judge or correct so to speak make sure of your attitude and your motivation and most of all your own righteousness. Because when you judge realize that you will then be judged also on the same points and will you be called out as a hypocrite? If so, do not judge! So do not judge until verse five is taken care of in your own life! The last part of verse five is what I draw this conclusion from, "...then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."

Luke 6:37- 42 is the parallel passage and it again explains that it is the intent, the righteousness in your life that is actually be judged when we "rebuke" or "correct" another. If you are have the same sin going on in your own life then how can you take care of someone else? Take care of have the ability to go to the sister that you see sin in.

37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

39 He also told them this parable: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40 The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.

41 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Look at this passage on judging:

I Corinthians 5:11-1211 But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister[a] but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.

12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”[b]

Is this not judging? Yes, it is. We are told to judge the sin around us and to separate from it, correct it and then restore.

So, what shouldn't we judge? Freedoms in Christ. You see God has laid out clearly for us what IS SIN so that we CAN judge the sin and call it what it is so that we can then CHANGE our behavior and save others from the consequences of the behavior. But, freedoms are a different story. What if I would like to worship God in a way that is different from you? Or what if I should take drink of wine with my meal but I do not get drunk? These things are freedoms. They are talked about all over the New Testament.

BUT...a huge but here....God speaking through Paul has also told us that even if we have a freedom it doesn't mean it is best to use it. We must constantly be thinking as Christ, meaning we make sure that any freedom we have does not make another person stumble. Not all people have the same freedoms because of where they have been in life before the Lord took control. Some of us have to refrain from freedom because we need to keep our lives tightly controlled by the Spirit so that sin does not overtake us. And if I am in a relationship with someone that needs those boundaries then I as a sister will respect those boundaries and not cross them when I am with that person. I will do it graciously without judgement. Just as at other times I have been in the presence of Christians who are doing things unknowningly in front of me that hurt me, I do not judge them. I give them to the Lord and ask for strength in dealing with those issues as they come up.

I would encourage all my brothers and sisters to read through the epistles to understand what is to be judged and what is not to be judged and how to go about judging.

I think that I would go back to 1 Corinthians 13 again and read again how love is to be accomplished.

I would encourage all to read this passage- Galations 5:13 through Galations 6:10. It is the passage I heavily rely on when I am faced with any type of circumstance with another Christian. It is my "check and balance".

13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh[a]; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[b] 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever[c] you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

1 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. 4 Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, 5 for each one should carry their own load. 6 Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor.

7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

After reading that passage if I still feel the Holy Spirit spurring me on to talk with someone I do it! After reading this if I am convicted of my own hyposcrisy I stop and work on that first and ask the Spirit to soften my heart toward the other person! I think the above passage speaks for itself.

Love is what all our communication should be based on! Or you could state it, "God and his Chararcter is what all our communication should be based on."

"What does love got to do with it?" EVERYTHING!

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