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|Witnesses Unto Me||JUNE 28|
BE NOT RIGHTEOUS OVER MUCH
Be not righteous over much. Eccl. 7:16.
The Christian life should be taken seriously, but not harshly. It is possible for our beliefs to be sound, our religious responsibility to the church never neglected, our moral conduct beyond reproach, and yet have the tendency to induce irritability, despair, and uneasiness in those about us. We may oppose the way this or that is being done in the church in such a way that is not really Christian.
It is so easy to have disparaging feelings toward another with whom we disagree. People get angry in debate and unchristian in their rejection of people, not because they are defending the truth, but because they defend the importance they have attached to themselves.
Suppose there is a newcomer among us who does not understand the teachings and doctrinal positions of our church, but who loves the Lord Jesus. Do we accept him as a fellow Christian? Well, doctrine is very important. But without love we have merely beliefs in doctrine and do not practice them oil the inside. God is not doctrine. God is eternal purity, sweetness, righteousness, and love.
What saves and heals people? What awakens the hearts of people to desire Christ and His righteousness? What makes the flowers to grow? What makes the seeds to sprout after being planted? The frost does not help them. The icy ground does not awaken them. Not until the springtime comes, not until the soft rains find them, not until the sun, returning from the equator, sheds its warmth over them, do they grow. Then, in the warmth of the sun and the beauty of the skies and the gentle atmosphere, the seeds and flowers shoot up their stems and burst into bloom.
So it is with people. Not all the harshness, coldness, severity, and disdain can produce any life at all. It is not until we understand people and care, it is not until they see in us that Jesus loves, not until we share Christ's compassion, that they begin to feel life from God.
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