Janet Bloomfield said something interesting which I quoted yesterday. That we are all at times ferally nasty: violent. (She was talking about the walking disaster which is our family violence laws and the Duluth model).
To deny that we naturally are angry, violent, lustful, envious, jealous and will generally choose the past of least effort is to miss something about humanity. We are not perfect. We are not naturally good.
But extending this is important. For within the church there are the broken: by the wrathful, the lustful, the greedy. And sometimes the person doing the offence is ourselves.
For we all stumble. None are holy in this life.
And we need to confess our sins before the almighty most days. It is a mercy to help a brother deal with the evil in their life, and live with the consequences of it.
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load.
Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
(Galatians 6:1-10 ESV)
Now, there is no holiness in this life: the Holiness movement is a heresy. We will be continually needing to reform our lives. And we need to at times ask forgiveness and reform what we are doing.
And here we need wisdom. For the memes of this world will encourage the flesh: there is profit in Gluttony, Gambling and Lust, to say nothing of the “entertainment press” which used to be called, far more accurately, Gossip. We live in this world, and this world affects us.
What to do? Firstly, turn to the word of God. Secondly, be in relationship with the brothers and sisters in Christ. Thirdly, live against the culture, when it comes to diet, family, and fidelity, the older rules work and the rules of “liberation” have been a disaster.
Yet we will stumble. And we will have to live with the consequences of this. Although we may be restored to the congregation of faithful, our lifestyle may have to be limited. We will have to carry the consequences of our actions as a burden.
And the burden we should not concentrate on, but doing good and loving each other. For that will lead also to consequences in our life.
1. Brothers is inclusive. It includes men and women. Women are not off the hook here.
2. Love is caring for the best for the other; most of the time (as in being a parent) it has nothing to do with romance, nor should it.