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Does your Light Shine or Blind?

Discussion in 'Faith and Religion' started by Minuteman, Jan 7, 2014.

  1. Minuteman

    Minuteman Chaplain Moderator Founding Member

    We as Christians have a duty to spread the gospel of Christs resurrection and his offer of
    redemption and reward for those who follow him. We have been given a great commission by our Lord himself when at his ascension he tells the eleven remaining apostles to "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations"-Matthew 28:16-20. We are to be a light in a dark world. And we are to show that light to all that they may see the truth and be saved.

    “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. " - Matthew 5:14-16

    And he said to them, “Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket, or under a bed, and not on a stand? - Mark 4:21

    "In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." - Matthew 5:16

    But I believe that too many of us in our zeal to spread the gospel and our excitement to share the faith shine our light so brightly that it is blinding to others. Imagine yourself in a dark room, you have a wonderful flashlight and can't wait to share it with those around you. You turn the light on and shine it around the room. What would happen to those who are staring at that light after being in the dark? Would the chorus's of "get that thing out of my face!", "Turn that off!" not echo around the room? But now imagine that you simply turned the light on but just shone it up to the ceiling or against a wall? Others would see the light, see the glow and come to investigate.

    This is simplistic I know but I think it illustrates my point. When we shine our light in peoples faces they tend to recoil and to look away, and to get hostile. I see this all the time, in real life and especially here in the cyber world. People come to forums like ours and immediately begin to shine their light at people, to jump up on their soap box and preach on the corners for all to see.

    Now there is nothing wrong with that, but if it is done in a blinding way, say injecting faith into every conversation, no matter what the topic being discussed is, then that is blinding. To let people know you are a person of faith is one thing, shouting it from the rooftops is another. Neither is hiding your light under a bushel. One is letting your light shine so that others will see it and be curious. The other is shining it in their faces and having them recoil from it.

    When we witness, what are the reactions we get? Are we producing good fruits or pushing those in the dark farther away? While this passage is referring to false prophets I feel it could just as easily be referring to ineffective evangelists.

    Matthew 7:15-20

    You Will Know Them by Their Fruits
    15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

    What fruits are we producing? If your zeal to spread the gospel is resulting in strife, anger and division are you producing good fruits?

    I see people who come on our forum with the sole desire to preach to the unsaved. To spread the word. And while I have to love them and admire their passion, I also see that they are only causing resentment and division and they usually don't last long. They bear no fruit, only hostility, and they soon leave.

    Melbo created this forum, the Faith and Religion forum specifically for those of faith to have a place to congregate and to discuss and to pray for each other. This is our church and this is a place to place our lamps and let them shine. And any who are drawn to the light can come here and be embraced, ask questions, ask for prayer, join in a discussion, and hopefully learn the truth that we so fervently wish to share. But the key is they have to come here. We can't go out in the other forums and start shining our light in everyone's eyes. We will produce no fruit that way.

    I am a strong believer in Paul's exhortation to "Be all things to all men".

    …21to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law. 22To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. 23I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it.

    If you prefer a more modern translation;

    New Living Translation
    "When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some."

    When I first got saved I struggled mightily with being who I was and trying to become, what I thought, I was supposed to be. I thought that I had to cut my hair, shave my beard, trade in my leathers and Harley T-shirts for slacks and polo shirts. I finally realized that God called me, just the way I was, not my imitation of what I thought a Christian should be. He had plenty of followers in slacks and polo shirts. He needed greasy hairy biker followers that could reach into that world and shine his light. And while the mainstream Church going folk were aghast by my looks and attire and my hanging out with the "wrong crowd" I comforted myself with the example our Lord himself set. He didn't hang out with the church folk, he ate with the sinners. The tax collectors, the prostitutes, he went to their parties, he dined with them. He took the light into the dark.

    I am blessed to have confirmation that seeds I was able to plant in those places later took root and produced fruit. By being there in the dark room with those who were in the dark, I was able to let my light show but not shine it into their eyes and turn them away. I was always known as a Christian, I never hid my light, but I also didn't shine it in peoples faces. They saw that light and were curious. I had many a conversation, many a chance to witness, in a kitchen or outside on the patio while a wild raging party was going on around me. Seeds that would one day bear wonderful and miraculous fruit.

    I work in a very testosterone fueled industry. A macho mans world full of hard drinking, hard living roughnecks. I am one of them. When I am with them I become as them. When I am with my biker friends I am one of them, I become as them. When I am with my redneck friends I is one of em. I become as them. When I have the chance to be around my intellectual friends, I am one of them, I become as them. Here on the board of preppers and survivalists I am one of them. I am all things to all men, so that by all means I may save some.

    Now does this mean I am an imposter? Not at all. I am myself, but I wear many hats. I am a roughneck, I am a biker, I am an outlaw, I am an intellectual and I am a prepper. But I am always a Christian, no matter what hat I am wearing. And I don't hide it, yet I don't shine it in peoples faces either.

    Now I am not trying to tell any of you how to witness or how you should be. I am just pointing out the adage that you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. A softer, milder approach to witnessing, I have found, often produces the most results, the most fruit.

    I am always ready and willing to answer questions or discuss religious topics with any who ask. But for those not of faith I always wait for them to ask. And you would be surprised how many do. I have had many a debate and discussion on here with members who are atheists, agnostics, pagans. And some I now call friends and would welcome them into my home anytime. They are good people and they know where I stand and I know where they stand and we don't try to convince each other of the validity or the error of our particular beliefs. But my light shines. And it is there and they see it. And it is my hope that someday it will draw them to it and they will ask me to explain to them what it means.

    I guess the point of this is to just point out to others of faith here that we need not preach the gospel at every street corner we come to. To shine our light so brightly that it blinds others and causes them to turn away. Yet we do not hide that light either.

    We have our own forum here just for those of us with Faith and Religion to come and to talk to fellowship and to teach. And we can steer any with questions or needs to come here.

    Politics and religion are probably the two most divisive topics ever to be discussed on any forum. And has been the death of more than one. That is why I for one am very grateful to Melbo for establishing this forum just for us. It was a risky move and one we debated the pros and cons of. But it has worked well for us so far and I hope to keep it running smooth and free of the flame wars that so often erupt in this type of forum.

    That is why I have little tolerance for those with no faith, no religion, that come here just to debate, ridicule and stir up strife. Discussion of religious topics is one thing but a blatant attempt to just inject ridicule and venom into a discussion will not be tolerated. But likewise, we as the faithful should refrain from injecting our light into conversations in the other forums, unless it is directly relevant to the discussion.

    We must always ask ourselves, "is my light shining brightly or is it blinding". If it is blinding then we are turning people away, not drawing them in.

    God Bless and I am proud of all the brothers and sisters here who bless my heart on this board. If we never meet in this life, please look me up in Heaven! I'll be with the hairy biker guys over in the corner.[chopper]

    Or in God's office getting chewed out for smuggling in fire water from down under! Or for letting the cat out of the bag and telling the Presbyterians that they weren't the only ones there, or running up and down the streets in the Jehovah witnesses neighborhood and knocking on all the doors. Or laughing at the priests and monks and telling them "It said CELEBRATE!!!" [lolol].
  2. Minuteman

    Minuteman Chaplain Moderator Founding Member

    Gopherman and Tracy like this.
  3. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    I for one, am more than happy to discuss my Beliefs, with ANYONE that asks, but I very rarely Witness to the General Population, for one simple, and Basic Principle of my Beliefs. That principle is that " I do not push my Religious Beliefs on others, and I resist, violently if necessary, when others attempt to push their Religious Beliefs on ME, OR MINE." This is a basic premise of my existence. If I should see something that interests my soul, I pursue it. Ask questions. Try and understand the principles in question, and if it has Truth, to my Soul, incorporate it into my Belief Structure. If it does NOT bear Witness to my Soul, then I drop it like a Live Grenade, and Run like Hell. ..... YMMV.... and likely does....
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2014
    Minuteman and chelloveck like this.
  4. Minuteman

    Minuteman Chaplain Moderator Founding Member

    Religion has lost more souls, turned away more people, than any other man made system in the history of the world. I hate religion. The scripture says on judgement day that there will be those who cry "Lord, Lord" but he will say to them "I never knew you". I believe that will be the myriad Religious leaders who think they are doing "Gods" work when in fact they are doing Satan's.

    A Tree and its Fruit
    Matthew 7: 22"Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' 23"And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'
    DarkLight and BTPost like this.
  5. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    It was never, How many times you went to Church, or How much you put in the Collection Plate, or even How many "Good Deeds" you did, that counted in HIS Gospel... But Always, Do you have a PERSONAL Relationship with your GOD. Do you talk to HIM, and does HE talk to YOU? If not, you are likely one of those that will be in this Crowd of Folks....
    My Belief, YMMV.......
  6. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    There is a difference between showing your light by example and proselytizing. Do it all in His name because you think it's right and it'll be noticed. No need to brag on what you do.
    Minuteman, kellory, Tracy and 2 others like this.
  7. Tracy

    Tracy Insatiably Curious Moderator Founding Member

  8. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    Yep, I used to work for a Mormon owned and run machine shop, and I was the ONLY non-Mormon working there. I still have the book of Mormon the boss gave me, and several different people there felt the need to push their beliefs on me. It just builds up Resistance, and solidifies my own beliefs.
  9. Minuteman

    Minuteman Chaplain Moderator Founding Member

    Yep, actions speak louder than words. Lead by example.
    Tracy and BTPost like this.
  10. Gopherman

    Gopherman Sometimes I Wish I Could Go Back to Sleep Site Supporter++

    I can tell your a Minister! Good word Brother!!
    As a minister myself, though my Ministry is mostly Musical in nature, I do Preach in the prison Ministry I belong to.
    I may sometimes be guilty of what you are referring to, I can't help it, the fire burns, and my life and thoughts are consumed by Him.
    When any conversation arises, the first thought I have, is how the topic is viewed by The Word. I sought out this particular forum because I believed, it to be open territory for fellowshiping with like minded individuals.
    The time is growing short!! The end time are upon us!!
    I know, I know, every generation has said that since Jesus's time, but scripturally, it all lines up right now to Isaiah and Daniel's timeline, the book of Revelation also give the signs, its coming fast.
    When the 2 witnesses are in Jerusalem giving testimony, with fire coming out of their mouths to consume those who come against them, I don't see that as shining a light on the ceiling, it will be more in the face.
    If someone comes out with a comment that attacks my Faith and beliefs, I will respond and defend!( hopefully in a spirit of Love, But I am a human).
    The reason Jesus got crucified (I know The obvious answer, Redemption, just trying to illustrate) and not Barabbas, is because his followers were silent, I believe that's still the case today and we're getting crucified as well. I realize that God has a plan, and the story is already written, we are to be hated by all nations for his namesake, we are to be persecuted and defiled by the world, that doesn't mean I have to like it!
    He said people would know us by the love we show for one another, wheres the love? Every Denomination has a Monopoly on the truth and every on else is crazy! We are so divided as a body!
    My spiritual philosophy is Non- Denominational I believe the whole Bible and every word in it!!
    I say spread the word then move on, the world is a big place and it will take time.
    Their is nothing served by casting Pearls before the Dogs and the Swine, however having said that, I will not allow the dogs and swine to overwhelm me and tear me to pieces or trample me beneath their feet either.
    What I find funny is Non-Believers will come to a thread like this, just to pick a fight, I guess that's what it's all about.
    PS:I really enjoy your posts!!
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2014
    Minuteman likes this.
  11. ColtCarbine

    ColtCarbine Monkey+++ Founding Member

    Most folks here post in this forum with respect. There has been the occasional poster who comes into this forum just to pick a fight.

    However, there is generally an entertainment value involved watching Minuteman eloquently showing them the door with their tail between their legs.

    I wouldn't worry about that too much in this forum. There plenty of folks (Believers and non-Believers) here that would have his or your six in this forum.

    I think you would find some that oppose religion elsewhere on Survival Monkey help escort somebody to the door that caused problems in the religion forum.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2014
  12. Gopherman

    Gopherman Sometimes I Wish I Could Go Back to Sleep Site Supporter++

    Your a Hoot! There are some seriously colorful characters on this site!! I have had a great time here, get lots of laughs and useful insight and Info!!
  13. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    That is what the Monkey site is all about..... We do NOT discriminate on who is allowed to Post, here, or on any other of the forums. We do, however, apply our CoCs to everyone who does so Post. Any Action by a MOD, or Admin, is done after much Debate, and Soul Searching, if the offense is even close to being over the CoC Line. sometime even if there is a clear CoC Violation. ......
  14. Gopherman

    Gopherman Sometimes I Wish I Could Go Back to Sleep Site Supporter++

    Let Me Guess they end up standing in front of this:D

    Iphone pics 007.JPG
  15. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    Oh no...behind it for proper aiming.;)
    Tracy likes this.
  16. Tracy

    Tracy Insatiably Curious Moderator Founding Member

    Silly k... We know where to aim. They need to stand behind it for scoring. [LMAO]
    chelloveck, Minuteman, BTPost and 2 others like this.
  17. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    Yeah! That's what I meant!:lol:
  18. -06

    -06 Monkey+++

    IMO, most who disagree/argue/belittle are internally bitter about their condition before the Lord. They will deny it, mask it, and wiggle around it but the conviction of the Holy Spirit is a heady load that is not easily recognized by the lost. The "mystery" is hidden from blind eyes and deaf ears. We can expect resistance, rebuke, and rebellion--it is part of the process. Each of us went through it to some degree and so do others. We just need to recognize where the trouble is coming from and not become angry(sin not) about it. Hebrews 1:14 says that we can "command" angels to minister to them. Do not know who here is Calvinistic/Armenialists/etc and we do not need to get into that can of worms but God has a plan for everyone. He also has placed a duty/responsibility on us and provides the opportunity to shed that light. We cannot expect to reach everyone--remember even Jesus only got 50% while hanging on the cross between the two thieves. But---He said that we would do even greater things than He did. We have a goal---or should have. An old saying is" TACT= the ability to tell someone to go to hell and make them think they will enjoy the trip. I know that is a poor analogy but the Holy Spirit will guide us to say the right things in the right way----if we are sensitive to Him. If not we will blunder through scattering seeds on rocky ground and/or blinding folks.
    Sapper John and Gopherman like this.
  19. Gopherman

    Gopherman Sometimes I Wish I Could Go Back to Sleep Site Supporter++

    I thought tact was the unsaid part of what we are thinking,:D
    I'm going to post a link to a guy I think you will all enjoy thoroughly!! Give him a few minutes to grow on you, he's a strange cat, But his presentation is anointed and thorough!! This guy could put doubt in the mind of any Atheist and make him GO HMMMMM!!Get back to me and let me know what you think.
  20. ColtCarbine

    ColtCarbine Monkey+++ Founding Member

    Being I left out how sharp of a pencil Minuteman brings to the table in my original posting. I did not drive the point I was trying to make. Note to self, drink more coffee and make sure you're fully awake before posting on days off.

    Gonna have to figure out how to recover from that one. Sorry aabout that.
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