Converting Ourselves and Loving Others


  1. Grandma Karin says:

    Why is this not taught in evangelical circles? Why do we try to be the ‘holy spirit’ in the lives of others? Why don’t we trust God to convict of sin, to make the changes in lives?
    I am talking to myself when I say ‘we’….. and I ask God to love others (including adult children!) through me.
    I am humbled and brought, again, to the basic of the Gospel.
    Thank you.

  2. Wesley says:

    Carl –
    a great thought someone once shared with me that has revolutionized my reading and understanding of Scripture, was how Luther would try to ask good questions of the Bible as he read; questions that the text itself begged to be asked. A few simple questions that i think may help you with the ‘7 woes’ passage you quoted about making converts is, “converts to what?” “why does Jesus refer to the Pharisees as sons of hell?” “why are thier ‘convets’ TWICE the sons of hell as they are?” Simple answer: the Pharisees and religious leaders were ‘converting’ people to religion and law-keeping, not leading them to the only One who could actually save them. Implication: if we are trying to convert people to a way of behaving then we make them twice as damned as they were b/c a: we all start out damned and b: we then give damned people a false sense of security that their external morality is making them right before a holy God. Jesus isn’t saying don’t make converts (the end of Matthew;s gospel includes something called the great commission which should remove any doubt about that) but love people enought to lead them to the One who actually does the ‘making right’ before God. Beyond that, i agree that we should be most concerned about our sin and not others but the way you say it on your VLOG sounds like you’re suggesting we do one to the exclusion of the other. Yes, focus on your own sin and need to Christ with the greatest amount of attention, but that doesn’t mean we don’t confront sin in others ever. Judging others is only hypocritical when we either are doing the same thing ourselves or are unwilling to admit that we are as much in need of grace as the one we are reproving (i.e. log in our own eye). Thoughts?

  3. Matthew Cook says:

    Carl, thank you! You approach the Bible with honesty and look what you get from it! So much more than religion! True life. True power. Something that turns the world upside-down. I’m going to try your challenge. Thanks!

  4. Robin says:

    When you were talking about using grace first then truth, it reminded me of one of my favorite verses, John 1:14, where it says that Jesus came to us filled with grace and truth, and they’re listed in that order! I thought that was pretty cool.

    However, I have a word of caution on your challenge, though I think it is a good challenge. There are some of us (like me) who struggle with being too graceful (i.e. “nice”) when we need to be more truthful. Saying “no” is sometimes the most loving thing you can say to a person who is habitually and unashamedly self-centered. I know that God routinely says it to people all the time, like for instansce when that prayer for winning the lottery just doesn’t come through! I am NOT advocating look-down-your-nose judgement. Everything must be done in an attitue of humility and out of love for others. I AM advocating thoughtful, prayerful discernment in each interaction. You can love someone AND say no. They are not opposed. What matters is the heart and attitude in which it is done.

  5. Great correction. Agree totally. Some of us are more “truth” and others more “grace.” You’re right, Jesus was full of both and knew when to use them. We should as well. So whichever way you “lean” allow God to work more on the other. I grew up in circles where it was ONLY about The Truth. (Propositional, doctrinal truth). So I’m probably still reacting to that.

    1. Robin says:

      Been to that kind of church before. Makes me shudder just thinking about how many times I offended others in the name of spreading the gospel and chalked it up to the Holy Spirit’s conviction. Uggh!

      1. Grandma Karin says:

        so when one comes out of ‘that kind of church’, finds the freedom of grace AND truth, a church that doesn’t just ‘do’ church, only to have a new pastor control and push us back into ‘that kind of church’, how does one respond?

        My heart is breaking! The body that taught me (us) about grace, about loving God, loving people is being pushed into this little tiny box again.

        How does one not judge and yet make right judgment?

        1. Wesley says:

          Can you say a bit more? What does that “tiny little box” look like for you?
          As for judging, don’t be confused by the text or a half-interpretation of it. Christ isn’t telling us not to judge period – we make judgements every day about things and people and we make decisions off those judgements. We are called not to judge in a hypocritical or condemning manner (always filled with grace and knowledge of our own ‘logs’) but the N.T. in particular is filled with warnings to rightly discern false teaching, false apostles amoung many other things. Just take Galatians for example – what would Paul have to say to that church about the false gospel they were being handed if he understood the practice of Christianity to be devoid of being “judgemental?” This text is constantly abused and/or misunderstood.
          I pray grace will not be smothered by any preacher of the gospel as it is the only means by which we are saved.

          1. Grandma Karin says:

            Your comments encourage me Wesley, that we are on the right path! Hadn’t made that distinction before…

            re: tiny box. Yes, salvation is by grace alone. That isn’t where our issue lies. But so is sanctification, the working out of salvation. When leadership tells us how that will look…… it feels small and restrictive. Not a whole lot of room for the Holy Spirit to work!
            I remember a previous elder warning us that we could become legalistic about grace!

  6. R Stowe says:

    Oncet again you hit the nail with your head!
    Such goooood advice.