As a pastor, and even more so, because I am a Christian, I am careful when it comes to sharing my thoughts on certain topics. For some in my position, they keep silent for fear that something they say will offend someone, or worse, cause them to lose their job.
In my job circle, at times, those who had to look for other employment after leaving a church brought things upon themselves. Questionable teaching, poor treatment of others, and other “stuff” has led to them having to make a change.
Of course, this can happen in any job though the events surrounding the job loss are different. Having said this, I want to clearly state something – I have not lost my job. I am the pastor of Oakridge Community Church and consider it a privilege to pastor these people.
The reason I mention what I have is because sometimes, especially in looking back over the years, I did not say something that I should have said to correct or answer what someone spoke that was not well-researched, or was their opinion, yet given in a way as if to disagree with them was showing how ignorant you were. I have become bolder over certain things because I have felt the need to be.
No doubt some reading this may relate. We know we need to be wise when speaking and to guard our words (James 3), along with using discernment on what to say and when to say it. Lately, as I have read and listened to many things on all kind of subjects, as you probably have too, there were some things that I just feel need to be stated – of course, these are just my opinions. But for fun, here we go.
If we are going to speak on a topic, make sure we understand what we are talking about and are not simply espousing an “expert’s” view on something. I was reading someone’s attack on Bible translations, including the English Standard Version, the one we use at Oakridge.
If we are going to speak on a topic, we need to make sure that we have done our part to research what it is we are trying to say. I am not an “expert” compared to others on many topics, but when it comes to how Bible translations come into being, I have spent time studying this. It is an area of interest for me. And I am still learning more about it.
Also, if we do not understand the art of Bible translation, recognizing the use of Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic and how those languages are brought over into our English versions, we need to be careful in what we say, especially to the public.
And unless we know how words are translated in some cases (such as the Hebrew words translated variously as Jehovah, LORD, God, etc.) we should be careful in what we are saying. Usually, and sadly, these attacks on other translations come from those who are King James only proponents, claiming that version alone to be God’s Word.
No matter what we do, people will say things that are not always helpful. We know this. Over the years I have had people make comments about how we should parent our kids, grandparenting (already, and giving advice on whether we are good ones or not). Add to that how I should do my job, or (fill in the blank). Some of you have gone through this too. Sometimes it is better to simply not say anything and just because we can give our opinion does not mean we should. Believe it or not, sometimes a song many year ago by “The Tremeloes” had it right – “Silence is Golden.”
In all we do, we want, if followers of Christ, to glorify Him (1 Cor. 10:31). Speaking for myself, at times I have not been the best advertisement for my faith. This does not mean that we are perfect or that we will be this side of heaven. But we are to pursue a life of holiness (1 Peter 1:15-16) and to love God and others (Matt. 22:37-40).
On a side note, those who claim that Christians are “hypocrites” do not know the meaning behind the word. A hypocrite is one who says one thing and purposely does the opposite. Most Christians that I personally know are trying to live the Christian life, with God’s help, the best that they can. When they falter that does not make them “hypocrites.” Technically, there are hypocrites everywhere in society. I, though, must make sure I am not choosing to be a hypocrite.