​More than just words…

Faithwriters.com Challenge – 25th May 2017 – Topic: Texting – Advanced
Christians should be careful when texting. I don’t just mean in exchanging messages with friends, though many of us have regretted a response sent in haste that was misunderstood. Rather, I have in mind the occasions when we share a prayer or Bible verse intended to support or encourage a fellow traveller on the difficult journey of life. 

Certain key promises in the Bible, taken out of context, are offered as panaceas for all kinds of ills. For example, “I will restore to you the years the locust hath eaten” (Joel 2:25, KJV) is used to imply God will compensate for a loss of wealth or relationship. But this prophecy anticipates a restoration after God’s warning of punishment for sin and a subsequent repentance by the Israelites.

A more important reason for exercising caution in quoting Scripture verses is that the “Word of God is living and active” (Hebrews 4:12). Used correctly, it will both challenge and empower us. In his Pentecost sermon, Peter quotes Psalm 118:22 “The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.” (NRSV). Jesus used this verse of himself in prophesying his death and resurrection. Some years later, Peter applied this verse to the believers who, having been rejected and persecuted for their faith, will become “living stones” in building up God’s spiritual house, the Church. 

If we apply this verse to the 21st Century, who would be the rejected? Depending on our situation, we might include (or exclude) the poor, uneducated, unemployed, young people, single parents, dementia sufferers, refugees and asylum seekers, or any other group or person that does not fit our spiritual ideal. Taking Peter’s analogy one step further, why can we not see such “rejected stones” filling key roles in our Christian fellowships? 

Scripture should be handled carefully, for if we approach it in true humility, “it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12b), often leaving us unsettled and in need of transformation from the inside out.

So next time you are tempted to quote a favourite Bible verse, remember: Christians should be careful when texting.

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About prophetable

My wife Elizabeth and I were commissioned as Officers (ministers) in The Salvation Army in 1997, and have served in appointments in England and Scotland. Since July 2016 I have been working in The Salvation Army's Scotland Office as combined parliamentary and ecumenical representative.
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