Working it Out, TOGETHER... in the Midst of Immaturity
Let’s say that someone does come to you to try to help you see something in your life. Perhaps that person is immature. Perhaps the issue gets clouded. When someone is immature, there can be mixture sometimes. So, what do we do?
There are two or three things I want to say about it. First of all, Jesus honors the fact that we are doing this together. So, even if there is immaturity, He said, “If two or three come together to discuss a problem, there I will be.” He didn’t say everyone had to be perfectly mature or have perfect knowledge. He said He would come if we do it HIS WAY. If we do it HIS WAY, He said He would be in our midst. In Matthew 18, He said, “If you come together to solve a problem I will come too,” and He doesn’t talk about how mature the people are, or that they should have a title of elder or pastor or any such thing. I do understand perfectly the dilemma… it does create problems when there is immaturity or mixture. But it is important that we honor something bigger than ourselves. It takes faith to see something bigger than ourselves.
There have been people who I’ve brought to Jesus and helped to find Jesus who were very immature. I’ve had those people come to me and talk to me about things in my life. Sometimes they are totally right. Sometimes they are totally wrong. Sometimes there is mixture (some good mixed with some bad)—that can be frequently true. But it’s very important, even if I brought them to Jesus, that I honor something bigger than myself and that I humbly listen to them. Jesus said that if someone comes to me and has a grievance, if we can’t work it out—then we bring in two or three others. That’s what the Bible says. And if we still can’t work it out, we tell it to the whole Church. The beautiful part about that is, even if there is immaturity, good things can still happen from it. If they come to me and say something that I don’t think is true—according to the words of Jesus, I ask them to bring two or three others to talk to me, too—because something really good will happen if we do that. Jesus promised that He will come if we do that. And then… either I will see what I was blind to before, or they will see their immaturity if they discover that they were wrong.
BUT either way, I must never make them feel bad for coming to me. I must not discourage them from being a priest. I must be grateful that they had the courage to try. And perhaps I will learn from their effort. Or perhaps they will learn from their immaturity. But either way, if everyone is humble, then God will receive glory. If I want someone to not be immature anymore, I must not discourage them from doing the work of God. That’s how they become mature—they try to do God’s work, even if they make mistakes. So, sometimes it is hard when there is mixture. But God even works that together for the good, and it’s okay.
If someone comes to me and says, “I really think you should do this instead of that”—I might think they are totally wrong, but I must not make them feel bad for trying. What I should do instead is bring others in to help talk about it, too. There are examples in the Bible of this. When Paul was far away from Corinth, they had problems (disagreements) in Corinth. Some were taking each other to court, others didn’t believe in the resurrection. There were crazy things going on there and they were not getting the problems solved. So they asked for help from the outside.
On another occasion, Paul was with some Judaizers (some people who believed in circumcision) and they couldn’t solve the problem. Paul thought that circumcision wasn’t essential. Other people thought that they must become Jews first and then Christians. They couldn’t solve the problem. Both thought that they were right. So what did they do? In Acts 15 it says they all went to Jerusalem and talked about it with other people. They could have gotten angry and separated from each other. But instead they brought in more help. So when we have this mixture or immaturity, we bring in more help—even if we have to bring it in from the outside: from another part of the city, from another part of the country, from another country. We just bring in more and more help, rather than separating from each other. This is the biblical pattern for overcoming mixture and for finding and hearing God.
At the end of Acts 15, after they brought in much more help to help clear this up, James said, “It seems good to us and to the Holy Spirit and here is the solution…” So there was a battle with different opinions. There was immaturity. Jesus said if we have problems, bring in more help. So we have been doing this where we live for nearly fifteen years now, and it’s getting better and better without all these problems. We even have many people that used to be “pastors” or leaders who thought they knew everything. But as we all learn to be humble, we can work together to build the House. And even all the smart guys become humble, like little children, and help each other—because we know we need help, and we want other people to look into our lives.
This Truth applies even as it relates to a husband and wife. There may be disagreements about this thing or that, but if the matters have to do with spiritual things, if it’s about Truth—then this all applies. Here is an example: If your husband does not like broccoli and doesn’t want you to fix broccoli and you really, really like broccoli… that’s okay. Don’t fix it. But if you go to someone else’s home and they have broccoli there, and he comes home with you and he is complaining about it and upset and angry about it… THAT is a spiritual issue. A personal preference is okay, but when sin comes in, that is not okay.
Helping Each Other Over Time
As it relates to all relationships, even husbands and wives, there are very real, difficult things that happen. The beautiful thing about the Body of Christ in a lot of these things that we have been talking about is that as you begin to open up your lives with sisters and brothers, those sisters and brothers will help. The brothers, over time, will talk together with the husband and say to him, “You need to be more considerate, more observant.” The brothers will help show him ways to do that. The sisters will say to the wife, “You need to be more patient, you need to be more kind and loving.” That’s what a helpmeet or rib is for, is to help, not to be upset. So the sisters will help, and the brothers will help, and altogether in twelve or eighteen months, everyone will be totally different.
Quality of Life Brings Confidence
There is something else that can help very much in embracing all of this and can make it easier for you to hear things from people that you might not know very well. It’s not because you know someone very, very well that you are able to hear them. Rather, you can “hear” someone because you know the quality of life that they are a part of. Likewise, if they know the quality of life that you are a part of, it will give them the same freedom to receive what you say, even though they don’t know you well. That’s a very powerful truth—if the Church is really the Church! If I were to live here and there were 500 of us, maybe I wouldn’t know you personally very well, but you would still be able to warmly receive the things I say without being offended (and vice versa), if the quality of life—the Foundation—is proper throughout the whole Church. The time when it becomes a problem is when the church is not really a Church, and people in the “church” just live any way they want to live. People are scattered. This is VERY unBiblical, but 98% of all places called “church” in every country live this way. God said if things are scattered in this way that “Your meetings do more harm than good!” In such a scattered, unBiblical environment (even if the singing and “preaching” seem “Biblical”) much of God’s will cannot be accomplished in lives.
For example, imagine an environment where you don’t really know anyone too well and someone comes up to you and says, “You need to change, you need to change.” You would likely say (or think, or gossip), “I don’t know you. I don’t know if your life is any good. I don’t know if you love me, I don’t know if you love anyone. What you are saying may be true, but I don’t really appreciate it very much.” That’s what happens when the church is all scattered and it’s not really a Church, as the Bible defines a Church. Of course there will likely be many Christians there, but that does not make it a Church, according to Jesus.
Now think of an environment where there are 500 people who are totally devoted to Jesus—and you know they are—and all 500 people are laying down their lives for each other every day. A daily quality of Life is there, and “from the least to the greatest, they ALL know Him.” “See to it brothers that NONE of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart.” “Admonish, encourage, warn, be called along-side one another DAILY, so that NONE are hardened and deceived by sin.” “Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the Law of Christ.” “Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another that you may be healed!” If THIS is the quality of Life, THEN even if you don’t know them very well and they say something… it’s okay. You still want to hear it. So the quality of life, the Foundation, makes all the difference in how easy it is to hear. It’s not just whether or not they know me very well. It’s that I trust that they know Jesus very well.
When the Church is really the Church, if something is not working out, you can bring in other people that you trust. There IS a way to work it out. It doesn’t just end up in the air some place. If the person coming to you is immature, or you don’t know them very well, and you don’t quite understand what they are saying; well, you know that they are committed to other people that you do trust and know… so, you are able to bring those other people in. You can always bring in other mature people to help clarify. If you know they are committed to people, they are committed to God, and their life is accountable to others—then it is easy to bring in other trustworthy people so you can get it all resolved. However, if everyone is just doing whatever they want and no one is really laying down their life for anyone… then it is just a bunch of words floating around and you don’t really know what to make of it all. You wouldn’t even know who to bring in to talk about it! Who would you bring in? They don’t know anyone. You don’t know anyone. It’s all just a big guessing game. Then it’s all suspicion and hypothetical stuff and you end up just being a rag-doll tossed around all over the place. But, if you know someone who is committed to daily life and you are too… and you hear something that’s immature (or you think it is), it is so easy to bring in other people that you know are solid people to help clear it all up. Then everyone goes home “new and improved.”
In an average religious assembly—hundreds of thousands of religious assemblies all over the world—most people can be part of that for twenty years and never really change very much. That’s a very sad situation. The reason it is that way is because they are building wrong. Someone is giving a speech or sermon to them on Sunday morning. Maybe they have a bible class over here or over there, and another religious meeting with miniature clergy in a home on Friday nights, once a month, except during summer family vacation and sports season. But they don’t have intertwined “joined and knit together” lives as a Priesthood of Believers. So most people don’t change, even after twenty years! That is very sad. But if we use God’s blueprint—the teachings of Jesus—then we can all change to be like Him. If we are humble and we work together as priests, the greatest miracle of all can happen—we can change.