Ken Sande's interpretation of 1 Corinthians 13:4-7;
"Love always looks for reasonable ways to trust others, to hope that they are doing what is right, and to interpret their words and actions in a way that protects their reputation and credibility. This is the essence of charitable judgments. Notice that I said we should look for “reasonable ways” to believe the best about others. We are not called to suspend critical thinking in the positive sense or to make judgments that are contrary to clear facts. If we hear someone say something that is patently false or vicious, we can conclude that it is wrong and legitimately confront the speaker".
So on Wednesday I am hoping to conclude a drearily on-going process that has been running since the commencement of this blog. I will be meeting with the "Grace Church Bristol" pastors (SGM) to discuss the events of a few years back, what happened, why it happened and whether there is any way forward. For those who aren't familiar with my story, I wrote it here: "Grace Demands Radical Change!" - so won't repeat it.
But this has been a long time coming - and has only happened thanks in particular to my friend Steve who runs the blog; "I Kissed Dating Goodbye - Wisdom or Foolishness?". And it has also happened thanks to the gracious and kind nature of Pete Greasley - if I had detected any judgementalism from him, I would have disappeared as fast as! But I had some really encouraging times at lunch with him and also loved the visits to Christchurch, Newport.
I must confess I'm not hopeful. I am far too cynical now to hope for anything of encouragement from this - but this meeting is something that has to happen for my family's sake and for my sake - to hopefully bring closure to an unpleasant event that I've let drag on for far too long. I think and earnestly believe however that God can bring wonderful good out of this - that I DO believe in! The challenge is that I have absolutely no control over this meeting - it is all in God's hands.
The opponents of the anti-SGM blogs bring a single charge against the thousands who have shared how hurt they have been by C J Mahaney and his leaders - and that is; "Well you are commanded to forgive - just get over it". I agree - "total forgiveness" is a must (as R T Kendall teaches so well). It's very easy to forgive someone who looks at you in sincerity and says; "I'm sorry". The tricky challenge is to forgive someone who does not believe they have done any wrong.
So I am praying that I will be able to go to this meeting heeding this wise advice - Ken Sande says;
"Jonathan Edwards, one of America’s greatest theologians, thoroughly discussed God’s call for charitable judgments in his superb book, Charity and Its Fruits. Drawing on the passages discussed above (Matt. 7 and 1 Cor. 13), he shows that the Bible condemns censoriousness, which he defines as “a disposition to think evil of others, or to judge evil in them".
To NOT think evil of others or judge evil in them - and whatever I think of these two men and my views on their theology or their motives or the many actions that they have done - to think the best of them and to see Jesus Christ in them. I can't promise anything - but I'm sure going to try. I'm no model Christian - that's for sure! But on my gravestone - the epitaph will read; "He kept on trying!".
Please pray for me! 13:30 on Wednesday just outside London.