This month we have been looking at how the brain works from a physical perspective. We have also been looking at the behaviors that would help us have healthy thought patterns, increased intelligence, and greater physical health. We've also seen that the behavior that hurts our thought patterns, decreases our intelligence, and damages our physical health are the behaviors espoused by the traditional church.
Basically, we have seen that the Bible encourages us to intentionally state our will and think. Traditional church focuses on appearance, politeness, and the belief that we can't know or aren't supposed to know...behaviors that result in damaging the brain and body.
Nowhere is this difference more apparent than when it comes to interpreting the Bible. When a passage from the Bible is found that seems to contradict our beliefs, it is very easy to dismiss the verse due to translation or misinterpretation. However, this answer actually undermines our "unaware" brain because the very obvious next question is: How do we know which verses can be ignored? Ultimately, believing that a verse can be ignored is a belief that the entire Bible is unreliable.
Over the last fourteen years, I have learned that the best verses of the Bible are the ones that threaten my beliefs. It is these verses that end up teaching me and getting closer to truth. These are the verses that allow me the opportunity for growth. This week we are going to look at one of these verses.
"Take heed to yourselves: if thy brother sin, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him." (Luke 17:3, ASV)
Take some time to determine the interpretation of this verse. Write it out. If you want to grow, you will take the time to state your will so you can objectively find out what you believe AND why. Both of these are excellent for your mental and physical health. You believe something whether you are aware of it or not. Aren't you interested in finding out what it is?
Tomorrow we will begin looking at the key words and concepts in this verse.
(For the record: There are misinterpretations and mistranslation of God's Word. Trying to ignore the inaccuracies or rationalize their claim to be the Bible is very dangerous. We have concordances, etc. to sort these out. We ought to find out what the most accurate translation is before we determine an interpretation of a verse. However, before you fight me too hard on trying to ignore verses regardless of the version, you had better be ready to face some of the mistranslations presented by the NIV, NLT, ESV, NKJV, NASB, and The Message. The Sequel identifies some of the most egregious. I have converted over to the ASV in this blog because it is the most accurate translation. There are blatant mistranslations in the King James Version. By the end of this post, we will look at what other versions have to say about Luke 17:3...and then you can state your will about which Bible you believe is closest to the Word of God.)
Today we will look at the first two key words in the verse.
"Take heed to yourselves:..."
"Heed" is Strong's #4337 "prosecho" (fig.) to hold the mind towards
This verse begins with a warning to hold our mind towards what is about to be said...this is going to take intentional thought to understand and it is going to be well worth it!
"...if thy brother sin..."
The next key word is "brother". The entire verse hinges on the fact that Jesus is talking specifically about how to treat a "brother"...a believer.
We have seen that Rob Bell says we ought to treat everyone the same whether they are believers or not. We also have seen that the Bible and Jesus disagree with Rob Bell. For instance, the Bible says to love our enemies...to give and don't expect back. Solomon, Jesus, and Paul all said this. We ought to turn the other cheek and take abuse from those who are not believers.
In "Velvet Elvis", when Rob Bell was encouraging people to treat believers and non-believers the same, he was telling the church to treat non-believers politely and with respect...the same way we treat believers. What is wrong with this?
Rob Bell is correct that we ought to treat non-believers politely and not judge them...to quickly forgive them. However, Jesus is saying that we ought to be tougher on believers. Rob Bell essentially proves that the church currently believes and acts the opposite of what the Bible and Jesus tell us to do. The church currently judges and retaliates against non-believers and ignores or forgives believers.
Why does the Bible and Jesus say to be tougher on believers?
Why does the church currently do the opposite of what Jesus tells us to do?
Remember, the Meaning of Life is church and marriage...community.
The focus of the Bible is profitable community...church.
The Sequel proves that the Bible uses marriage to police community...marriage serves the greater community. That is the key to understanding all of the scriptures concerning divorce and putting away. The Bible sees church as more important than marriage.
The Bible is focused on helping people become healthy so they can be profitable in community with others. Paul explained that those people who are unprofitable need to be helped by the profitable people in community. Jesus also stressed that anyone who makes the entire community unprofitable needs to be removed from community.
Now look at the verse again and decide what is best to do with the believer, the person you are in community with, when they do something wrong.
Remember, from Dr. Leaf's book, we saw the worst thing a person can do is not intentionally deal with something they did that was wrong...to ignore the event and pretend like it never happened. So, the best thing we can do for someone is help them face the event...to rebuke them. This is Fellowship and was the first healthy behavior covered last week.
When people outside community do something wrong, we are supposed to forgive and move on. This actually damages their brain and body, while justice gives us a value.
When people inside community do something wrong, we are supposed to make them aware of it. Ignoring it is actually treating the person like they aren't a believer and helping them damage their brain and body.
Why does the church encourage us to ignore the sin of believers?
If a person in church leadership sins, is it better for them to face it and admit it publicly or ignore it and pretend it didn't happen?
What do you think of a pastor who would actively encourage a leader who sinned to not confess it to the congregation?
It looks like this is done for the sake of appearance...
Wednesday, we will look more closely at this confrontation and the three possible responses.
The next key word is "rebuke".
Luke 17:3 has a companion verse...a verse that deals with the same topic. However, it deals with it in a different aspect. This companion verse is Matthew 18:15. In fact, in the King James Version, they look the same.
"Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him;..."
"Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone:..."
Both verses deal with what to do if a believer trespasses against you. The first thing to realize is that Jesus says you have to confront them! This verse doesn't say..."and if you want to confront them..."
This is an example of an "If/Then" statement from Jesus. Jesus is saying when the "if" portion occurs, we are responsible for doing the "then" portion.
Therefore, people who tell us not to confront believers who have trespassed against us are opposing the words of Jesus! Why would they do this? Is it out of politeness, not wanting to make a scene, appearance, and/or not thinking that the believer is excellent? Think about it...the reason you would not do Jesus words is because you don't think people can handle it...you don't think very highly of these other people. This is the opposite of "respect"...
If that wasn't reason enough, these people are also telling us to damage the brain and bodies of believers (people we are in community with) by letting them ignore the situation. We saw this is the most damaging thing a person can do. Jesus is telling us how to avoid the most damaging thing...and some church leaders actually encourage us to do more damage in the name of God!
The second thing to realize is there are three possible responses the believer can have after being confronted:
1. They won't hear us
2. They will hear but not repent/agree
3. They will hear and repent/agree
Matthew 18 deals with response #1.
"And if thy brother sin against thee, go, show him his fault between thee and him alone: if he hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he hear thee not, take with thee one or two more, that at the mouth of two witnesses or three every word may be established. And if he refuse to hear them, tell it unto the church: and if he refuse to hear the church also, let him be unto thee as the Gentile and the publican." (Matthew 18:15-17, ASV)
Notice, Matthew 18:15-17 says that if he hears us (responses 2 and 3) then he is still a brother...regardless of whether he agrees with us or not. There is nothing in Matthew 18:15-17 that deals with agreement. People project responses 2 and 3 onto this passage because they aren't aware or intentionally ignore Luke 17:3!
Matthew 18:15-17 says that if the person doesn't hear we ought to help them hear by bringing more and more witnesses. If they refuse to hear, they are no longer a believer! Then we let them damage their brain and body...we remove them from community.
I have seen a lot of damage from church leaders applying Matthew 18:15-17 to agreement/repentance instead of hearing. This is a misapplication of the Bible and it denies the existence of Luke 17:3. Why are most believers aware of Matthew 18:15-17 and unaware of Luke 17:3?
Is it any wonder the effect is damage?
What other interpretation of Matthew 18:15-17 doesn't result in contradictions and helps avoid damage?
Luke 17:3 deals with whether the believer repents (response 3) or not (response 2)...
We will look at this portion of Luke 17:3 on Thursday.