There are many versions of the bible these days, but unless you are reading Greek, Hebrew, or Aramaic, you are not reading it in exactly the same way that it was written.
God’s First Language is Not Old World English
The Torah is the original version of the old testament and, in reality, the only “correct” version of that portion of the bible as it is not translated from another language.
The King James bible and it’s later predecessor, the New King James, was translated from the original manuscripts that make up the Torah. The new testament portions were translated from mostly greek writings by Paul, Peter, John, and many others hundreds of years after the originals were written.
Now, I hate to burst some bubbles here, but God’s first language is not Old World English. He doesn’t speak to a Chinese person saying, ‘Thou hast better be…’. Actually God’s first language is Love.
Whether you are a Jew, a Christian, a Catholic, or something else, God loves you with the same mighty Love that cannot be measured, and it is not determined by what language you speak or read.
Demonstrating God’s Love
Throughout scripture, regardless of the translation, it is clear that His desire is for us to demonstrate His love to others.
When we tell someone that the version of the bible they are reading doesn’t have enough thous in it to suite our religious fancy, are we demonstrating God’s love to that person?
Other than being hard to understand for newer believers, I don’t have a problem with the King James version of the bible, but what makes me saddened, and I little angry is what this “my version is better than yours” argument brings into the modern church.
Church in this case being anyone who is a follower of Jesus.
The age old question, or shall we say argument, that the King James version of the bible is more accurate than all others, is actually at the root of a much bigger problem than it may seem.
It is an indication that the modern church is hanging on to the vices of our ancestors. Namely rule making, brow beating christianity.
Instead of loving those around us and demonstrating the Love of Jesus to those who are seeking it, we focus on what someone is wearing, what version of the bible they need to read, or any other minor infractions against our sensibilities so that we can rush to tell them what they are doing wrong.
Have Christians Forgotten How to Love?
Have we, as Christians, forgotten how to love? Have we forgotten the art of cultivating relationships. Perhaps we never even understood love in the first place?
No matter what the case may be, it is time to look at how Jesus related to people and use that as our pattern instead of our, “make sure everyone is wearing the right hat” mentality.
People all over this country are watching, and seeking for the answer to why they feel empty inside. Do we really think that making them feel condemned the minute they walk through our doors will make them want to follow Jesus?
They want to feel acceptance, not rejection. If we reject them, the world of destruction and death is right there waiting to welcome them with open arms.
This is what some Christians simply cannot grasp. The concept of accepting, and loving people, while still not condoning their sin.
In the bible, I cannot find one time where Jesus immediately began telling the sinners He met how to wash their hands correctly. No, Jesus loved them and gave them freedom from their sin! Jesus never condoned sin, but He did not let it stop Him from loving the sinner.
The only people Jesus really became angry with were the ones doing exactly what we are talking about now. A group called the Pharisees.
The Pharisees were the “Religious Leaders” of the time. They looked down on all that didn’t do things exactly the way the Pharisees thought they should be done and condemned them at every turn. This was the group of people that Jesus spoke harshly to, not the prostitutes and tax collectors.
Which category do you fit into? Are you a lost sinner seeking for the truth? Are you a lifelong Christian who feels it is necessary to correct people every time they make a slight deviation from what you think they should do? Or do you welcome sinners who are seeking for freedom and allow God to do the work in their hearts?
These are difficult questions, but I would encourage you to seek the answers. All of us must remember where our treasure truly lies. Remember what truly matters in eternity.
Everything is Secondary to Jesus
Whether you are a Jew, a Catholic, or any denomination of Christian, what is most important is that you believe Jesus Christ is God’s Son, who conquered death to become the Savior of the world! If you believe that this very same Jesus paid the price in full for your sins on the cross, then you are my brother or sister in Christ!
Whether you wear a prayer shawl, wear jeans to church, or heaven forbid, read the Message version of the bible instead of the King James, is so far in second place to our common love in Jesus, it is not even important in comparison.
So does this mean that we just look the other way when someone is sinning? Look to the bible for the answer. It says that as followers of Jesus, we need to use wisdom, weighing everything according to the bible, and be street wise. This last part means to use our experience in this world to help us relate to people in every situation.
So, when should you confront someone about something they are doing? In many situations you will need to use your street smarts to determine that.
It can be cut and dried using what we know of the bible and a little common sense. For example, if someone has been convicted of stealing money, then don’t make them the treasurer of the church. If someone is known as a child molester, don’t let them babysit your children.
Using wisdom and learning to listen to the Holy Spirit are the keys to this entire situation. You cannot allow sin promotion in fellow christians without confrontation, but wisdom causes us to err on the side of love when it comes to confronting it.
Lambs VS. Wolves
So you can see that there is a huge difference between just having a personal opinion, and sharing that opinion without using wisdom and love. Before you confront someone about anything, first ask yourself this question, “Is the action that person is doing causing someone else to sin?
If the answer to this is Yes, don’t just run over to them and hammer them with it! Use wisdom and pray about how you are to approach this person with this correction.
If the answer is No, and they have not asked you specifically what you think, then keep it to yourself! Just love on them and pray for them.
This process will take issues like whether you should tell that person to take their hat off or read a different version of the bible, and put them where they should be placed. Sharing your opinion on little things like this could cause someone who is not strong in their faith to fall.
There is a major exception to what I have previously written. Especially in any group or church situation, if there is someone who is looking to cause harm to other people, they should be dealt with as a wolf in the sheep pen. Wolves cannot be shown kindness as they rip apart the sheep.
An example of this would be a person attempting to seduce members of the group, a person attempting to steal money from others in the group, or a person who is pretending to have spiritual gifts to deceive others.
These individuals cannot be tolerated! In these cases, they need to be dealt with in a firm manner that leaves no room for tolerance.
I hope and pray that now you have a little better idea how to show the love of Jesus to others around you.
Remember that no matter what version of the bible someone reads, whether it is the Torah, the King James, or any of the other great and insightful versions of the Word of God, keep in mind that it is really all about Jesus. That is the only point that really matters in eternity. Everything else is secondary, and requires wisdom and common sense to work through.
It is not us that shapes people into what God wants them to be. It is our job to show them what God did for us through His Son Jesus. It is our job to trust that Jesus brings freedom, not chains.
It is the job of the Holy Spirit to mold and change people.
Speak the language of God to those around you today. Speak love, and watch what the power of God does in your life and the lives of those you were attempting to change.
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