Elder’s Thoughts – Care for the Innocent and Downtrodden

Regan Holland Behave like a Christian
Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion (Romans 12:16).
Jesus associated with all strata of society, especially those with whom the “high and mighty” would not dare associate. As our example of unity, Jesus was comfortable with everyone—even the outcasts and the sinners.
Relationship is a key concept in the life of a Christian. Love, service, and openness are characteristics of the life of Christ. Children rebel against those with whom they have no relationship. Parishioners refuse the leadership of those they sense do not care for them.
And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone.
(1 Thessalonians 5:14)

“Marks of the true Christian” is the heading used by several translations of the bible for the last paragraph of Romans 12, beginning in verse 9, and I think it is applicable to verse 16. I see several marks of the true Christian in this verse, including love, patience, humility, showing respect for others, and not thinking too highly of ourselves. After reading several commentaries about this verse I came to the conclusion that Paul himself wrote the best commentary on it. In Philippians 2:1-11 he encourages us to have the same mind and same love that Christ showed while he was on earth. I hope these verses will encourage us to be more Christ-like in everything we say and do.
So, if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore, God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Jack Vanderpool HUMBLE OR HAUGHTY – Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty (“a proud look” NKJV), but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight (Romans 12:16, ESV)
Webster defines the word “haughty” or “a proud look” as – blatantly and disdainfully proud: having or showing an attitude of superiority and contempt for people or things perceived to be inferior.
Our scripture this month is one of about 70 Biblical references that clearly disdain the “haughty” disposition. In the Proverbs 6:17 list of the things “the Lord hates,” haughty eyes (a proud look) tops the list.
The word haughty communicates a kind of pride that is obviously full of contempt for others deemed inferior or unworthy. The Bible, (in both the Old and New Testaments) clearly tells us that this is the type of disposition that God does not want us to have.
Ridding ourselves of a haughty disposition constantly requires an honest assessment of our own merit. It also requires us to look in the mirror and acknowledge our own imperfections. Reality is that all cemeteries contain people who, in their own minds, thought they were totally indispensable. Benjamin Franklin recognized this trait in his fellow men. During the 1787 Constitutional Convention meeting in Philadelphia, Franklin asked everyone to doubt a little of their “own infallibility.”
Success in avoiding a haughty disposition puts others first in thought, word, and deed. Success also avoids an arrogant and narcissistic self-promotion -often prevalent today. We must recognize that the only person we can truly change is ourselves, and that that change requires being slow to speak self-asserting words and quick to encourage others.

Phil Robertson We live in a time when many societies address care for the poor or suffering in one of two ways. Some societies attempt to apply universal solutions to their people suffering poverty or distress. Other societies ignore the suffering and poverty and concentrate on those who can support the ruling powers. Both approaches fail to solve the problem, or to even provide a minimum of relief to those suffering. What is the approach that God teaches and requires of me?
God has always reduced my relationships to one on one. I am my brother’s keeper and all of my relationships are personal. September’s scripture calls me to “Be of the same mind toward one another.” I am called to see everyone as an individual who has a history that is theirs alone and a future that is uncertain. I am in the same predicament.
God expects me to be generous, but with humility. I am the victim of my own prideful nature, yet God continues to bless me and offer me redemption. For this reason, I am to treat others with the same mercy, compassion, and love. I am not to judge the needy, the weak, or the suffering. Compassion, benevolence, and service to others are not a business proposition (Ex. 22:21-27; Ex. 23:1-9; Lev. 25:35-38). The principle of “gleaning” that God established in the Promised Land reflects that I am to have faith in God to meet my needs and to recognize that God uses me to provide for the needs of others (Lev. 19:9-10; Deut. 24:19-21).
My dealings with others are to be honest, respectful, and gracious. God is jealous of the dignity that He has vested in each of us. I must respect that human dignity (Deut. 25:10-15). God also takes a dim view of the bully or those that abuse the blessings of God (wealth, power, etc.) to the detriment of the weak, poor, and powerless (Deut. 24:17). God has reserved some of the harshest language in scripture for those that abuse the weak and downtrodden (Jer. 5: 20-31). There are many scriptures that give us a clear understanding of God’s expectations of each of us. But for me, God sums up my responsibility in Lev. 25:17: “So you shall not wrong one another, but you shall fear your God.”

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