Proverbs in Light of the Cross; Oppression and Human Nature

I am writing today from beautiful Florida.

I am writing today from beautiful Florida

Do not envy the oppressor, And choose none of his ways;  For the perverse person is an abomination to the LordBut His secret counsel is with the upright. Proverbs 3:31-32 NKJV

I already know you are not going to like this, but I have heard it said, “The only difference between Adolf Hitler and us, is that Hitler had the opportunity and we didn’t.” Now that is a terrible thing to say, but is it true? Let’s be honest. When left to our our human nature don’t we try to manipulate people and situations as much as is legal and socially acceptable in our situation? Do we try to control other people as far as we are allowed? If so, then that’s all Hitler was doing, controlling people as far as he was allowed. We don’t want to be called a “control freak” but we all know where the line is before we cross over into becoming a control freak. Do we try to get as close to that line as possible?

During the dark ages of papal reign and folks being burned at the stake for exercising their freedom to think for themselves, many fled to a new world where they would not suffer papal oppression.

Yet honest and God-fearing as they were, the Pilgrims did not yet comprehend the great principle of religious liberty. The freedom which they sacrificed so much to secure for themselves, they were not equally ready to grant to others. “Very few, even of the foremost thinkers and moralists of the seventeenth century, had any just conception of that grand principle, the outgrowth of the New Testament, which acknowledges God as the sole judge of human faith.”–Ibid., vol. 5, p. 297. The doctrine that God has committed to the church the right to control the conscience, and to define and punish heresy, is one of the most deeply rooted of papal errors. –Ellen White, Great Controversy, Pages 292-293

So these pilgrims, fled oppression and then, while meaning well, became the oppressors, once the opportunity was available to them. People use the term “papal” to describe someone who is being bossy, narrow minded and controlling. Yet it is not a papal issue. It is a human nature issue. Without God’s grace we all are as papal as the situation will allow.

See now, why some say the only difference between Hitler and us is Hitler had the opportunity and we did not? It may be an extreme illustration, but maybe not as extreme as we would like to imagine. I realize too, there have been people who had opportunities equal to Hitler who were very nice and not the least bit oppressive. Still, it’s something to consider.

Of course hopefully there is one difference. Hopefully we are living in the Spirit instead of the flesh.

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus,who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:1 NKJV

The only way to make sure we are not a Hitler, or a papal oppressor is to crucify self and let God’s Spirit live in us.

 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Galatians 5:24 

Jesus did not die to control us. He died to set us free from the sin that was controlling us.

 

Proverbs in Light of The Cross; Is Trusting God Practical?

I am writing tonight from beautiful Florida.

I am writing tonight from beautiful Florida.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT

Many years ago, a small church where I was a Bible Worker, had a wealthy member who owned his own business. He told me to do the exact opposite of what the pastor instructed me. I told the wealthy member, “no.” Not just because it contradicted the pastor but it was also just plain wrong.

The wealthy member then threatened me, by saying  most all the money in the church came from him, and if I did not do as he said, he would withdraw his support of the church, and there would go my salary. I told him, “no” again. I also told him his church donations do not support me. God supports me! The wealthy man then became angry and told me to get real and be practical. He claimed he supported me and not God!

You know what really broke my heart? This man was an elder in the church, and here he was telling me God’s promises are not practical or real. I lost a lot of respect for that man, not just for trying to threaten me, but for saying his money was more real and trustworthy than God’s promises.

Sadly the wealthy man left our church, once he realized he could not control us with his money. Not only did the church survive without him, it thrived! While he claimed the church and I could not survive without his money, God richly blessed me more than ever after he left, and the church built a new fellowship hall and several classrooms. All paid for. Years later, when I left to take another assignment, the little church hired another Bible Worker and the church has been growing by leaps and bounds.

Yes, trusting in the Lord with all your heart instead of man’s understanding is a very practical thing to do!