I recently wrote about how we can work so that churches are a safe place for abuse victims to turn to. I want to follow up by saying a bit more about how we deal with abusers and bullies. Abusers are bullies. They use power to influence, control and manipulate others who they perceive as weaker for their own gain and gratification. That power may be based on physical strength, hierarchical position, popularity or the ability to influence through charisma or intellectual capability. Continue reading
How are we to respond to the troubles of life? How are we to deal with difficult people? How are we to react to opposition and injustice against ourselves?
I am thinking about people facing the following situations
– A colleague is trying to undermine you at work, to blame you for things going wrong or take credit for something you have done.
– You constantly come up against the crushing injustice of bureaucracy in the immigration or benefits system
– Life is simply hard because of health, work, housing, financial worries.
My friend was walking home with his son after church. The little boy said “Daddy, adults are very silly.” His dad said “Yes we are son but why exactly…” His son said “Well when you eat the bread and drink the wine, the pastor says you have to do it so you will remember that Jesus died for you … but how can you forget something so important?”
That little boy’s comments got us thinking about what we mean by “remembering.” It’s very important to what we are talking about tonight. You see, we are going to be told to remember something.
Remembering isn’t just about what we keep in our minds intellectually. It’s about living our lives each day as though the truth we remember is as real and as fresh and as new as it was the first day we knew it.
These past few weeks we have been learning about the problem of apostacy -how people fall away from the Gospel, how people can be led astray by false teachers. How are we to guard against that? The answer is that we are to remember God’s Word. It means relying on God’s Word completely in the sense I talked about just a moment ago. We live by God’s Word as though it is as fresh and as new today as the first day we heard it. Continue reading
When I first wrote about handling the difficult Bible passages in 2 Samuel about David, Bathsheba, Amnon, Absalom and Tamar, I identified 3 types of person in the narrative. The first two are
Culprits – who are causing harm to others through their sin and carry specific guilt.
Victims – who are hurt by the sin of others often subjected to shame and a sense of defilement.
However, I don’t want us to lose sight of the third category. There are those we identified as faithful servants. These are people seeking to be obedient to God and faithful to his word and promises even in the face of intense provocation. Continue reading
In the light of the recent sexual harassment scandal in Hollywood, the hashtag #metoo began to trend on twitter as people began to share their own stories of experiencing unwanted attention, persistent harassment and physical abuse.
Sadly, very quickly in the wake of this another hashtag began to trend, #churchtoo. Now it may be tempting to sit back and say “This is just people with an axe to grind jumping on the bandwagon” and maybe some are but if even just a small percentage of the stories are true then this should disturb and sadden us. It should move us to sorrowful prayer and to action. Continue reading
On Sunday, our preachers were due to speak on 2 Samuel 12. It’s the Bible passage where King David’s sin against Bathsheba and Uriah is called out. The question got asked “How should we handle this?”
It was a baptism service, we were expecting guests, some young people among them, a good number who had probably not been to church or read the Bible before. The passage includes the particularly sensitive part I looked at in this article where David and Bathsheba’s child dies. The questions raised were: Continue reading