Thursday, March 24, 2011

Openly friendly

Titus 3:15 stood out to me this morning. It's the last verse in Titus, and, in Doug-translation, reads like this:

"Everyone here says hi. Say hi to everyone there for me."

Really. Oh, you want a real translation? Don't trust the RefTagger hover point above? Ok…

Titus 3:15 All who are with me send greetings to you. Greet those who love us in the faith. Grace be with you all.  (ESV)

See? Unlike most of Paul's letters, Titus doesn't end with a list of names to greet or that send greetings. It's a generic "all of us" to "all of you" finish. Why does this matter? Especially, why does this matter to us?

Paul had left Titus at Crete. I may be missing it, but I don't see a time in Acts where Paul went to Crete, so it was apparently a quick drop-off that fits into the free time of the Apostle Paul. My assumption is a lack of time to build relationships with the church folks there.

So we get this: whoever is there that loves the Lord, we're glad to send a greeting to. Who's glad? All of us that love the Lord.

It's an openness that I'm afraid we don't have these days. Before we'll greet a church or a fellow believer, we want to parse out their doctrines. We want to nail down their positions on social issues. We want to make sure they're "our kind of people."

As a result, white churches and black churches exist. Not "can't get along." Exist. As a result, we have divisions between American Christians and Christians in other places---we don't know for sure that those "Chinese Christians" we hear about being persecuted are really Christians, after all, because we haven't heard their stance on……(fill in the blank).

Can we learn to get over this? I'm not saying we should neglect sound doctrine, for the "unity of the Spirit" of Ephesians 4 is based on the "Spirit of Truth" of John 14: unity cannot cost us truth. Certain things are absolutely true.

However, we need to learn to involve ourselves with others, to open up and trust, and then, if necessary, take the hard step of correction later. If we don't, we will continue to miss the blessing of good relationships and true effectiveness for the Gospel.

 

Doug

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