Monday, June 25, 2007

Freedom Shenanigan # 6

Use Matthew 18:15-17

This shenanigan primarily works with those who claim to be “Christian.” This can be done low key or using a combination of Shenanigans numbers 3, 2, and 1. It really doesn’t matter what denomination they are (eg. Baptist-all variations, Catholic-all variations, Pentecostal-all variations, Presbyterian-all variations, Episcopal-all variations, etc.)

IF THEY claim to be a “Christian” AND YOU claim to be a “Christian” also, then they are under the commands of Jesus as recorded in the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 18 and verses 15-17.

15 “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. 16 But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that 'every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.' 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.”

It really is a simple method of confrontation for the purpose of reconciliation. However, egos can get in the way. So, remember that this is a double edged sword and it can cut both ways.

Without trying to get into the specifics of theology and doctrine for ALL the various “Christian” denominations let’s just deal with what they should all at least agree with. To be a “Christian” group they should at the very least agree with what the guy who started “Christianity” had to say about relationships.

In Matthew chapter 22 and verses 35-40 Jesus responds to a lawyer’s (of course) question of

35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”

According to Matthew Jesus responds by quoting Deuteronomy 6:5, “37 And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment.”

Then he adds something that they were not expecting. He cuts through their obfuscations and nit-picking about the minute specifics of man’s duty to God and the Law. He hits them with the commanded obligations that they have to each other based upon THEIR “Holy” scriptures. He quotes Leviticus chapter 19 verse 18. (Which is the summation of the previous 17 verses that describe what “GOD” says “love your neighbor” means.)

“39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

In essence, he points out that it wasn’t enough to perform religious ritual behavior to “God” but, that one had a duty to behave in love toward one’s fellow man.

Then he claims that ALL the LAW and the teachings of the prophets can be boiled down to these two commandments.

So, how do we use this?

Firstly, as you can see Jesus quoted from Deuteronomy and Leviticus bringing them out of that favorite limbo of the “New Testament Christian,” the “OLD Testament,”(cue spooky music) into his “New Testament Law,” making those old commandments into relevant “new” commandments. (See 1John chapters 3&4)

Secondly, looking at Lev.19 we see that there are specific things that are mentioned that constitute “loving thy neighbor.” I will only mention the ones that specifically deal with interpersonal relationships. The following are verses 9-18 consolidated.

No taking of all the crops at harvest or fruit from the vineyards. Leave the corners of fields and fallen fruit for the needy and strangers. Do not: hate your fellow countryman in your heart, steal, deal falsely, slander, act against the life, take vengeance, bear any grudge, oppress, lie to or, rob your neighbor. Pay your workers DAILY (keeping wages overnight was theft). Do not curse a deaf man or trip a blind man. Do not swear falsely by GOD’s name. (Also see what Jesus said in Matthew 5:34-37.) Do NO injustice in judgment, do not be partial to the poor, or defer to the great, judge fairly. You may surely reprove and rebuke to correct your neighbor. Love your neighbor as yourself.

Thirdly, ask the offending “Christian” if he believes Jesus’ teachings? If he says “yes,” then you point out how he has violated Jesus’ commandment to “Love one another” by their behavior. Be specific, point out their hypocrisies. Make a list and ask them to repent and make restitution. If they say no, bring two witnesses with and ask again. If they still refuse go to their church and hand out flyers (Shenanigan #3) detailing the situation and that you sought reconciliation following scripture. Encourage the members to shun the offender.

They won’t like this! Their church probably won’t either. However, if their church also refuses to deal with the situation then detail the situation with the church as well and picket or hand out flyers on the public sidewalk outside the church.

This applies very public and personal pressure upon not only the offender but also their family and friends. At this point you can apply Freedom Shenanigans 1 & 2 as well.

Think of ALL the politicians, police, prosecutors, judges, elected officials and lawyers who swear oaths and violate them. Think about the bureaucrats who persecute freedom lovers. They all have family and friends where they derive some of their emotional support from.

All you are doing is exposing their hypocrisy and asking for restitution according to what THEY have claimed they believe in. Remember, you have a 1st amendment protected right for the “free exercise” of religion.