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Conviction and Offering

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. 21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.

If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless. (James 1:19-26)

Have you ever read the book of James and asked "is my religion worthless?" Consider it for a moment: How often do we criticize one another for things that don't go against the word of God? We criticize someone's style of preaching, we criticize music, we criticize how a person dresses, and many other things besides, but we judge, as God told Samuel in 1 Samuel 16, as man sees, based on the outward appearance, and don't bother to see the heart. Think on it for a moment: there is a time to correct. Simon the Sorcerer wanted to buy the Holy Spirit's power, and was rebuked. That's appropriate. The young man in the church at Corinth was sleeping with his dad's wife. ABSOLUTELY needed to be corrected. But Apollos was teaching out of ignorance, not knowing the full Gospel. How was it handled? Priscilla and Aquilla, a godly couple and strong believers, took Apollos under their wing, and corrected him, and Apollos was able to preach the complete Gospel more plainly and effectively thereafter. So why do we feel the need to not correct someone's theology, but to criticize decisions that have absolutely no bearing on the Gospel? Loved ones, we're in an age where Christians are turning on one another openly. Before, we used to just do so in secret. I'm not condoning either action, but it's getting worse. Some might site the proverb "Better is open rebuke than hidden love," and you would be correct, partially. Open rebuke is TO THE PERSON you're rebuking, not behind their back, or passive-aggressively posting on social media. It is always meant to correct the course back toward God's ways, and never to tear someone down. It is not up to us to tell someone what the Holy Spirit moves someone else to do, unless it clearly is against the Scriptures, then it's not the Holy Spirit. Consider Josiah and Pharaoh in 2nd Chronicles 35. Josiah went up to stop Pharaoh from doing something God ordained him to do, and Josiah ended up paying the price for it. I think if we continue trying to get in the way of the Holy Spirit, we may suffer a similar fate! Let us then, brothers and sisters, consider the words of James, and live by them:

Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?-James 4:11-12

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