Thursday, October 09, 2008

Painful Refining

At the end of Monday's post about congregational changes I concluded with a teaser:
(And I did not touch on some remarkable personal growth in many members. That will be the subject of a later blog post.)
I cannot share much about these examples of personal growth, since these stories are about other people personally. However, I can share about the common theme. God has been repeating a process of painful refining, and he deserves praise for its successes.

I should preface the tale by sharing that during the past ten years I hear, now and then, of supposedly prophetic warnings stating that God is going to increasingly refine his people. Challenges will teach Yeshua's followers humility, and will separate those growing more like
Yeshua through prayer and repentance from those who fail to learn what God's Spirit tries to teach them.

I've never seen such a thing happen until fairly recently. It has been quite dramatic at Sar Shalom during the past year.

God has systematically worked with everyone in our leadership to teach and test humility, repentance, and teachable-ness.

I've spoken about this a few times within sermons but it still keeps taking congregants by surprise, even though the scenario God used has been moderately consistent.

First, the leader being taught and tested makes some mistakes. Things are said that hurt people: unintentionally, but the leader should still apologize. A couple poor decisions are made, or sometimes valid decisions are made with inappropriate timing. An attitude either
needs changing or needs to be communicated more clearly. None of these problems are huge and a small amount of alertness, humility, and love would make all situations better.

But then the second part of the scenario rushes in. A bunch of misunderstandings appear for which the leader is not responsible and cannot apologize: the leader is strained just to keep track of them! Some false accusations are shot at the leader, threatening to take the leader's attention away from his or her genuine mistakes and tempting the leader to be defensive and self-focused instead of giving and humble.

As I mentioned above, it would be inappropriate on this blog to share the details of how this scenario repeatedly arose. Trust me that the congregation's leaders did all make sets of small mistakes with words, decisions, and attitudes--and then suffer a barrage of misunderstandings and false accusations. First the congregation's rabbi, then its cantor, then its other prominent elder, then myself, and most recently its worship leader (in that list the spouses of the official leaders were also involved, for a couple doing leadership is taught together by God).

Sadly, not all these leaders have passed God's test. Being swamped with misunderstandings and hit with false accusations was (understandably) too much for one couple. Since I have seen in my life how God will repeatedly teach a lesson until I learn it, I personally have much hope that this family will some day be glad to "suffer with Yeshua" (Romans 8:17 Second Corinthians 1:5) and learn to pass the burden of the hurtful misunderstandings and false accusations to our savior while apologizing for the fewer and smaller more genuine mistakes. I am also sad, for I care about this couple and also expect the lesson will be every bit as unpleasant the next time it is taught.


Anders said...

Hello! I found your website. My name is Anders Branderud, I am 23 years and I am from Sweden.

You write about Christ; but you haven't yet realized that the historical pro-Torah Ribi Yehoshua and the post-135 C.E. anti-Torah Christ is two different persons.

So who then was the historical Jesus?

The first century pro-Torah Ribi Yehoshua – the Messiah - said:

"Don't think that I came to uproot the Torah or the Neviim [prophets], but rather I came to reconcile them with the Oral Law of emet (truth). Should the heavens and ha-aretz (the land, particularly referring to Israel) exchange places, still, not even one ' (yod) nor one ` (qeren) of the Oral Law of Mosheh shall so much as exchange places; until it shall become that it is all being fully ratified and performed non-selectively. For whoever deletes one Oral Law from the Torah, or shall teach others such, by those in the Realm of the heavens he shall be called "deleted." Both he who preserves and he who teaches them shall be called Ribi in the Realm of the heavens. For I tell you that unless your Tzedaqah (righteousness) is over and above that of the Sophrim and of the [probably 'Herodian'] Rabbinic-Perushim (corrupted to "Pharisees"), there is no way you will enter into the Realm of the heavens! “
Netzarim Reconstruction of Hebrew Matityahu 5:17-20.

For words that you don’t understand; se ; the link to Glossaries at the first page.

Ribi Yehoshua warned for false prophets who don’t produce good

David V.S. said...

Hi, Anders.

What you write does not make sense to me. You appear to be debating with "Straw Man" arguments.

Rabbinic Judaism was not established until after the destruction of the Second Temple. I am not sure why you are adding "Ribi" anachronistically and discounting the historical Pharisees.

Also, the person Yeshua did not change. He continues to respect Torah even if some of those who follow him do not. There is nothing mysterious about this yet to realize.