Thursday, May 3, 2012

wrestling with the truth of Scripture

"I don't like that Scripture has that to say."
"I wish that wasn't in the Bible."
"That seems harsh."

Have you ever said things like that after you read something in Scripture? Have you ever read something and been challenged by it, but you wish it wasn't in Scripture and you hadn't read it? Do you have verses or passages, or maybe books, that you wish weren't in Scripture? If you answered "yes" to these questions, would you admit that out loud to another person?

I think if we're honest, we all have things we really wish Scripture didn't say. Whether we would admit it out loud or not. Sometimes Scripture says things that are hard. Or Scripture says things that really get into our business and we don't like it. Even if we know that Scripture is true and good and we need to live according to what it says, I think we all have times when we really wish there were things it didn't say. We know Scripture is God's Word to us, but that doesn't mean it's always easy to read and obey.

I'm in the middle of study on the book of James right now, and he definitely gets in your business. And he's very to the point with what he says. You can't miss his point. Which is a good thing, but sometimes you read something and you really wish he didn't say that. That's the place I've been recently. I've been wrestling with a verse in Scripture that I really wish wasn't there or at least didn't say what it does.

So, what do you do? How do you deal with it when you're faced with something in Scripture that you're really struggling with?

I don't know that there is a certain way to deal with it. As I've wrestled with this verse for the last while, I've come to the conclusion that my best option is to talk to God about it. He knows what His Word says and He's not shocked that we struggle with sometimes. We can go to Him and honestly tell Him we're struggling with what that part of His Word says and we can tell Him why. And then we listen for Him to speak to us. And as we struggle with it, we grow in our relationship with God.

We may never get to the point where we like what it says. The verse or passage may continue to challenge us. But, as we grow in our relationship with God, we learn to trust Him more and more that what He says is for our good, even when we don't like it. And maybe, over time, we grow to see how true and loving and good that hard part of Scripture is.

We can't just throw out parts of Scripture that we don't like - even if we may secretly wish we could. As 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says: "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,  so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." Even when we struggle with what it says, that is true. Sometimes we may just have to declare that we believe that about Scripture we struggle with.

"For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." Hebrews 4:12

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