Attitude, Part 6

Transfusion of Bad Blood

God Hates This – So Should We!

(Prov. 6:16-19)

One of our challenges about bad attitudes is, to refuse transfusions of bad blood and never donate bad blood!

What am I talking about? When you are bitter and you share that bitterness with others; when you are mad and you spread that anger around; when you hate someone and you invite others to that hatred; when you are down and you pull others down; when you gossip and slander on social media; when you doubt God and contribute to the decay of the faith of others – – that’s a transfusion of bad blood. God hates it and so should we.

We should refuse transfusions of bad blood and never donate bad blood. This is one of many challenges about maintaining spiritually healthy attitudes.

The good blood of Christ can cleanse us from such dreadful exchanges. My obedient response to Christ prepares me to think right, speak right and live right. It equips me to treat others as I would want to be treated (Matt. 7:12).

His love in my mind and His humility in my mind can be my defense against either donating or receiving bad blood. His countless stories of dealing with people can inform my interactions. His mercy and forgiveness is my model. His defense of the innocent can be my sense of justice. His striking patience for the weak can help me help myself and others. His perfect generosity forbids me to give what is repulsive. His warnings hold me back when I’m impulsive. His teachings nourish me and keep my tongue healthy. His compassion is my assignment. His washing of His disciples’ feet illustrates the content of my service to others. His discipline can be my ideal. His remarkable capacity to listen can instruct my ears and mind.

There are six things the Lord hates,
    seven that are detestable to him:
17         haughty eyes,
        a lying tongue,
        hands that shed innocent blood,
18         a heart that devises wicked schemes,
        feet that are quick to rush into evil,
19         a false witness who pours out lies
        and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.

Prov. 6:16-19, New International Version

Here is a four-fold test to determine whether you should pass along any information: (1) Is it true? Check the source. Too many good people have had their reputations dragged through the mire because somebody spoke of something without knowing the truth or falsity of the report. All too often those of us who should stand out as examples of how to use our tongues are those who are the most guilty. (2) Is it confidential? If it is, do not betray it! (3) Is it kind? We are expected to build each other up. Too often we spend much of our time tearing each other down. (4), Finally, is it necessary? There are very few times that I feel sorry for what I did not say. Rather, too often I feel sorry for what I did say. It has been well said that the highest level of conversation has to do with ideas, thoughts, truths, plans and events. As we analyze our conversations we might ask ourselves just how much of our time and energy is spent on talking about concepts or ideas rather than about people.[1]


[1] Miller, R. M. (1984). Words of Strife. (B. Lewis, Ed.) Christianity Magazine, 1(7), 21.

Attitude, Part 5

Anger Without Sin

“Be angry and do not sin.”

(Eph. 4:26)

Anger is easy to start but sometimes hard to resolve without unnecessary conflict. Righteous anger is justified. Sin is never justified.

So here is a passage that offers permission, “Be angry,” but forbids sin, “do not sin.” It becomes a challenge to be so careful, so disciplined, so self-aware, that when we are upset, we gauge the expression of our anger so that it doesn’t lead to sin.

JUST KEEP READING. “Do not let the sun go down on your anger.” I used to think this meant, set a timer for 12 hours and stop your anger when the timer goes off. No, that’s not it. This is not a “down to the last minute” legalistic and simplistic rule. This is a picture that holds simple meaning. Your anger must be temporary, not ongoing. When it starts, make certain you will stop it before sin enters in.

How is anger stopped?

(1) As soon as it starts, consider what caused it. Did someone simply disagree with you? Did someone actually offend you? Did someone walk away from? Did someone hurt someone you love? Is there some wise action you can take? Is there a conflict that can be peacefully resolved? These questions are introspective, causing you to pause and explore the cause, so as to monitor the time you devote to it. The time and energy should be in proportion to all the factors involved in the provocation or cause.

(2) Pray about the matter. It isn’t easy to pray and be angry at the same time. Prayer about the issue sincerely offered to God, asking for wisdom and strength can keep the anger contained in that temporary time frame. You can then move away from the anger to more productive thinking and living.

(3) Is your anger due to a matter of faith or a matter of opinion? This is critical in determining if you should even be upset. And if so, what steps you need to take, if any. If a matter of faith, that is a level that requires more than a matter of opinion. Read carefully the 14th chapter of Romans, and make a prayerful determination. If someone disagreed with you 20  years ago over a matter of individual judgment, and you are still remembering and marinating in that – well, that’s an immature waste of time.

(4) Watch your front door! When there is anger in your “house,” the devil is at your front door. He wants to come in and lead you into sin, but “…give no opportunity to the devil.” Don’t let him turn that seed into an evil plant that devours you and hurts others.

There is no such thing as legitimate anger that justifies an illegitimate response!

“This you know, my beloved brethren. But let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God” (James 1:19–20).

Attitudes In Conflict, Part 4

Attitudes In Conflict, Part 4

The Good Fight

“I have fought the good fight”

(2 Tim. 4:7)

Let’s be willing to say this. Not all fighting is good. There is a lot of bad fighting going on in the world, even in the religious world, even in the church. We know that.

In Paul’s day there were useless controversies, aggressive false teaching, and dangerous episodes of persecuting and killing Christians. Paul was a soldier in the Lord’s Army. He was fighting the good fight, wearing the whole armor of God. And in that engagement he was clear: “… we do not wrestle against flesh and blood,” (Eph. 6:12). The war we are in isn’t with guns and grenades for our glory.

Related to that clarity, he said in another place: “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy stronghold. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete,” (2 Cor. 10:3-6).

Paul’s fight was not one of violence, physical punishment nor did he resort to anything deceitful or greedy, insulting or unrighteous. To Christians in Thessalonica he said, “we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children,” (see 1 Thess. 2:1-8). This doesn’t sound like an angry violent, intimidating and bloodthirsty warrior. Paul’s fight was good. He said to those Christians: “…just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts,” (1 Thess. 2:4). This was Paul’s good fight. He was not ashamed of the gospel, opposed to every form of evil and always ready to build Christians up in the faith.

In a valuable work, BOOK, CHAPTER & VERSE, by Floyd Thompson (compiled and published by his widow, Ruth) he was quoted on this subject as follows.

I have said many times that I think I have seen demonstrated in the lives of some people, that their idea of being sound in the faith was to be insulting and obnoxious. I don’t believe that. I think a person can be amiable, and at the same time not compromise an inch insofar as the teaching of God’s word is concerned. There is where the fight ought to be made. I just cannot imagine the apostle Paul getting up in the presence of any audience and feeling that he had to insult them to prove his soundness. Now, if his stating a truth brought the wrath of the whole crowd down upon him, he would have stated the truth, and then said, “Am I become your enemy because I tell you the truth?”

Paul said to Timothy, “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses,” (1 Tim. 6:12).

—-

Where can we go, and say, “The war isn’t here?” Is there some place of absolute isolation from temptation? No. Not even “home, sweet home” or the place where saints assemble in Christ’s name! Regardless of how clever we are, how experienced, how educated, how wise in the Scriptures—we walk from one battleground to another all the time. This is our constant predicament.

So, let us look all around and rally to the point of attack (Nehemiah 4:15–20); let us walk circumspectly (Ephesians 5:15; 1 Peter 5:8). Remember that you can bear any temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13; James 4:7).

What great and good thing was ever done without conflict and the exertion of effort? Wheat doesn’t grow without planting and plowing; money is not earned without care, attention and labor. And heaven, above all, is not to be reached without the cross and the battle. ONWARD, CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS![1]


[1] Berkley, W. E. (1985). Fight: The Battleground. (D. Bowman, Ed.)Christianity Magazine, 2(8), 12.

Attitudes In Conflict, Part 3

Attitudes In Conflict, Part 3

“…Go and Tell Him…”

Warren E. Berkley

Jesus knew there would be the conflict of offenses. He said once, “temptations to sin are sure to come,” (Lk. 17:1). He also said, “…if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother…,” (Matt. 5:23).

He not only knew this would happen, He gave specific direction for reconciliation: “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others alone with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector,” (Matt. 18:15-17).

We may be tempted to assume that nobody ever follows this. We shouldn’t be so quick with that negative verdict. Is it conceivable that Christians have followed this godly resolution method, and IT WORKED? It never had to be brought “to the church,” because the conflict was resolved before that step. That’s a far better assumption.

If, however, this hasn’t been followed, offended parties should re-engage in compliance with the Lord’s teaching. Notice that this is about sin. We may disagree on matters of opinion or have various levels of different understanding of passages where no sin is involved. So this teaching isn’t for just anything we might label as a conflict. Notice the words: sin, fault, witnesses.

There are two keys to the application of this text. One is attitude. If we are hardened in our dislike of the alleged offender, that can keep us from making active and sincere application of the text. Two, if we do not have sufficient evidence and witnesses, that can and should create hesitation.

Otherwise, trust in the Lord’s wisdom should cause us to promptly do what He said to do – in the circumstance He described. What joy and hope that we don’t have to be stuck in long-term bitterness. If our hearts are centered in God, we will want to apply this passage, seeking the repentance of offenders, and protecting ourselves against the anxiety and stress of unresolved disputes.

“Go,” (Matt. 5:23-24). “Rebuke,” (Luke 17:3). “Forgive,” Luke 17:3,4). If necessary, “Withdraw,” (Matt. 18:17). But, do not let the sun go down on your wrath (Eph. 4:26,27).

And, as to the intended outcome, read this.

“My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins,” (Jas. 5:19-20).