ACME Log-Removal Service VS. The Long Way

Log-removal in my life is never a “one-and-done” proposition.

Apparently, in my soul, there’s an entire redwood forest of old growth trees that my unsanctified self can split into logs the enemy uses to blind me to my own failings and prejudices at any time.

I have been guilty of subscribing to the ACME school of log-removal services by believing I can just skid up to an identified log, (beep-beep), push a button and kablooey! it’s

destroyed and no longer a concern. But some logs are apparently dispensed like tissues and as soon as I pull one from its spot, another pops up to take its place.

Christians must be relentless, tireless, and persistent in allowing God to identify and remove the logs from our eyes. Our message depends on it.

 

My brother called this week to let my husband know he has a log that needs removal. He felled an oak on his property and my husband is a woodworker who repurpose the wood. Removing this log will be a project. It will require work. The two of them will need others to assist. They’ll have to cooperate.

That can also be true with logs we’ve grown accustomed to peeking around in our own eyes. Never has it been more vital for us to address these blinding impediments.

Our country is divided. There are daily opportunities for us to have conversations about the big questions of life.

When does life begin? Who decides when it ends? How do we know who is telling the truth? How do we protect the vulnerable? How do we protect religious freedom and reconcile that with legislation some Bible believers see as immoral?

As intimidating and pitfall filled as it can appear, God has given believers an open door for deeper conversations with people who desperately need His light. Rather than clamming up, shuttering our windows, and turning on reruns of Andy Griffith until it all blows over, we must roll up our sleeves, remove our logs, and open our mouths to speak truth amid wide-spread deception.

Not long ago, I had two conversations with Christians who believe I am wrong about one important area of theology.

This is something I take seriously. I study God’s Word and sit under godly teaching. If I believe something, I believe I have it figured out. However, I’m not so arrogant as to think that when I see God face-to-face, He’s going to pat me on the back and tell me I’m one of the few who got every bit right. So, I listen when a brother or sister says I have it wrong.

The two conversations though, couldn’t have been more different. The first person, a sister in Christ, approached me with a scowl. “I’m shocked that you’ve allowed yourself to be deceived around this area of doctrine. It makes me question your understanding of all of scripture!”

I felt fear, shame, confusion, and condemnation swirl up within me. “I’d love to understand more about where you’re coming from.”

She snapped her fingers. “Look in the Bible. That’s all I have to say. Look in the Bible and do what God says. If the Holy Spirit doesn’t convict you, well . . .” And she walked off.

Clearly, not only did she suspect I have a piece of doctrine wrong, my entire standing with Jesus was in question.

That same day, I sat beside a brother in Christ I knew believed as that sister did. “Would you have a conversation with me about our difference in understanding on this piece of theology?”

“I will, indeed,” He replied. “Let’s start where we agree. I believe we are saved by grace through Jesus Christ and you do, too, yes? So, this is not a matter of salvation. Where ever we end up, we are family. And, I know you study God’s Word. You’re obviously not the only one who believes as you do, so I respect that you’re willing to listen to what I believe with openness. Now, I will take you through my understanding of what God’s Word says about this matter.”

And he did. He was patient with my questions. He listened as I explained my understanding of those passages. Our conversation ended with me having a deeper comprehension, much to consider going forward, and a sense of camaraderie  between us.

I believe both individuals were acting from a place of love and valuing truth. If that sister didn’t care about me, she wouldn’t have spoken up at all. She may have been afraid of me and used that sharpness as an armor against however I may react. And God used her strong conviction to stir me to investigate further.

My brother, however, calmed the fear in me by starting on the solid ground of our agreement. It was easier for me to listen and be open when fear and shame were put in their place. I left that conversation feeling loved and informed.

When we encounter people that disagree with us at home, work, school, church, or over social media, we need to remember to relentlessly submit to God’s process of removing our logs. Too often, peering through the redwoods in our own eyes, we only see part of what’s happening.

When we see hostility, condemnation, deception, and arrogance insisting on its own way, we sometimes miss that it is fueled by fear, wounds, and a grid-work of lies that have been taught as truth. Many people in our lives operate on a completely different matrix from us.

Slow down the conversation whenever you can. Find the place of agreement even if it’s just that we are both humans who must share space on the planet and care deeply about how things are run. Ask God to remove your logs and help you see the opportunity your missing in the flood of accusations and anger. Then speak from a matrix of love, truth, and security in Christ – not fear or condemnation.

Commit to the long-haul of obedience ever toward Christ. ACME log-removal makes for great cartoons, but not great conversations. We have the greatest opportunity right now. Let’s not watch it blow up in our faces.

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6 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. Kim says:

    This is so good. The comparison of the two responses is a great example. I hope I could be like the gentleman who spoke with you. For one thing, the person we disagree with is as loved by God as we are.

  2. Rob McCullough says:

    Yes, the enemy wants us to hide the Great light of Christ that is already in us. Yes, we need to relate our brothers and sisters in Christ from His Love and His Peace instead of from our own brokenness. Very beautiful Lori!

  3. Mom2347 says:

    Very timely post. I have a friend who says “I know God said not to do “x”, but I want to and I’m going to and I don’t feel guilty about it.” He has said this several times. This automatically triggers my “if you can sin without conviction [“I don’t feel guilty about it”]you would be well advised to consider if you are saved.” I am very passionate about that subject. There are many people in the bible who have been fingered as false believers, even though they know the language and walk the walk. That they will end up in hell is more than I want to think about, especially my friends who seem to fit that scenario. I tend to think that if you refuse to discuss your basis for salvation beyond “I believe and that’s all that’s necessary” there is a reason you won’t. There are so many scripture passages that describe what a redeemed person acts and thinks like that I find it difficult to understand why no one wants to venture out and challenge Christians to “examine (them)selves, whether you are in the faith.”
    And my approach is probably more like the first person in your story than the second… Thanks for the reminder…
    One splinter at a time. Eventually, the log.

  4. Carole Sparks says:

    Oh, Lori, it’s so hard to find believers who will have those tough, 1-on-1 conversations with us. I try to be that kind of person–one who listens first, prays, then speaks with gentleness and respect. I would love to have a theological conversation with you, whether we agree on the subject or not!

  5. Sherry Carter says:

    Removing logs…Now you’re getting personal, Lori!

    Thanks for the reminder that we all have logs that need to be removed by God. I certainly have my share. When I’m in a discussion with someone, your post will help me remember to ask God to remove the perceptions I might have about that person that will cause me to be judgmental or to jump to assumptions about the meanings of the words they speak.

  6. Philip Disney says:

    The Holy Spirit leads us into understanding. God has provided us with his Word in print and answers all our prayers. These promises are but a few that God keeps. However, we must call on Him, read His Word and seek wise counsel. Many church members start out with what they believe and then seek to justify their opinions through the scriptures, in or out of context. Teaching is an awesome and fearful calling. This present age is indeed divisive, but it is not unique. Our nation has been divided in the past and the result was a wasteful and cataclysmic loss of life. Peace is not just the absence of war and wicked people must be opposed, but God’s love is and always will be the answer. The line between confrontation and loving engagement is very fine.