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These are my thoughts on a variety of subjects. So welcome to my brain!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Deep Thought in Response to Some Questionable Stuff

From Pastor Bob Flayhart’s blog at www.bobflayhart.com:

The scariest and most evil principle Machiavelli puts forth in The Prince is that “the whole idea of being good…is rather naive,” and that what is important is not “being good, but appearing good.” Another principle is that you can get away with anything if you are able to “appear religious.” Machiavelli asserts that if you can “appear” religious then people are more likely to trust you and think you are moral and good and it is then easier to deceive them so you can get what you want.

Machiavelli rejects the Christian world view and despises it by saying that Christians will think of heaven and it makes people ineffective in working in the world. He also wrote that Christianity “ties our hands” by limiting what we want to do with all kinds of rules.

There’s the summary…but here’s the scary part…how do Machiavellian principles dwell within my own heart? First, how often am I more concerned about appearances than the actual condition of my soul? How often do I set up my posing self in oder to appear moral or good or righteous before others? How am I often one person in public and another completely different person when no one else is around? How often do I put forth the appearance of “loving God” when my heart is cold? How often do I walk into Church on Sunday mornings as nothing but a poser?

How often am I a complete pragmatist? How often am I thinking about how I can control my life, my circumstances, even people in my life to “get what I want” in the most effective and necessary way and fail to consider the way of the Gospel which is loving God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength and loving my neighbor as myself? Let’s be honest…love is not often very pragmatic…and it’s never easy.

The saddest thing of all, perhaps, is that Machiavelli completely missed the point of the Christian life…we’re not to be so heavenly-minded that we’re no earthly good! The hope and vision of heaven is to be in our sites so that we work toward bringing the Kingdom of God into reality on this planet NOW! Certainly many, many Christ-followers miss this, but the Christian is not only concerned about the eternal destiny of the souls of people. We are concerned primarily about the glory of God…and God is glorified as suffering is alleviated, evil oppression is eradicated, people are educated, widows and orphans are taken care of, and yes, even nature is cared for…in addition to being concerned that all the nations hear the Gospel!

The Christ-follower who truly knows Christ and His word knows that the end NEVER justifies the means, that love must always win over pragmatism and that we are to work with all our strength to bring the reality of the Kingdom of God, in all it’s beauty and goodness, to bear upon this planet in our every sphere of influence, including all our vocations and all our relationships.

My thoughts are this:
“The scariest and most evil principle Machiavelli puts forth in The Prince is that “the whole idea of being good…is rather naive,” and that what is important is not “being good, but appearing good.” Another principle is that you can get away with anything if you are able to “appear religious.” Machiavelli asserts that if you can “appear” religious then people are more likely to trust you and think you are moral and good and it is then easier to deceive them so you can get what you want.”

I would agree with Machiavelli’s assertion though….

“There’s the summary…but here’s the scary part…how do Machiavellian principles dwell within my own heart? First, how often am I more concerned about appearances than the actual condition of my soul? How often do I set up my posing self in oder [sic] to appear moral or good or righteous before others? How am I often one person in public and another completely different person when no one else is around? How often do I put forth the appearance of “loving God” when my heart is cold? How often do I walk into Church on Sunday mornings as nothing but a poser? “

These may be good questions, but should not then actions be taken to make sure these things are not happening? Strive to be perfect like God, yes, but if in one’s pursuit of perfection, one fails to show love and grace and mercy and forgiveness and compassion to everyone, then it seems the questioning is moot.

“How often am I a complete pragmatist? How often am I thinking about how I can control my life, my circumstances, even people in my life to “get what I want” in the most effective and necessary way and fail to consider the way of the Gospel which is loving God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength and loving my neighbor as myself? Let’s be honest…love is not often very pragmatic…and it’s never easy.”

Okay, so what’s so hard about it? If a person is a Christian, love SHOULD come easy, easier than it often does. But honestly, think about it. If God is a God of love, and a person really is walking with God, then every part of him/herself will begin to be peeled away (like that onion of reference) and it should become THAT much easier to love!

And by the way, love may not be easy, but what about it would be unpractical? Christians are supposed to be like God. God is a God of love. It seems to me that by the very nature of God alone, love would be the most practical thing of all. If everyone would just start being loving toward everyone else they encounter, then oh how sweet and easy so many things would be for everyone around.

“This is why we need to flee to Christ continually…only the power of His death and resurrection and the sin-defeating might of His amazing grace can rid my own heart of Machiavellian leanings. “

A heart of duplicity? Perish the thought. But people are duplistic in nature. But this I can probably agree whole-heartedly on.

“The saddest thing of all, perhaps, is that Machiavelli completely missed the point of the Christian life…we’re not to be so heavenly-minded that we’re no earthly good! The hope and vision of heaven is to be in our sites so that we work toward bringing the Kingdom of God into reality on this planet NOW! Certainly many, many Christ-followers miss this, but the Christian is not only concerned about the eternal destiny of the souls of people. We are concerned primarily about the glory of God…and God is glorified as suffering is alleviated, evil oppression is eradicated, people are educated, widows and orphans are taken care of, and yes, even nature is cared for…in addition to being concerned that all the nations hear the Gospel! “

That last part pertaining to God being glorified…seems even the best of the so-called Christian population tend to forget this overall. It’s one thing to be concerned about all these things, but the best way to show that concern? DO SOMETHING! Words alone won’t do in many of these cases, and actions speak a whole louder when it comes to this whole glorifying God thing. But first start in your (generic) own heart, then reach out to family and friends and the neighbor down the street. Then and only then, is one really and truly ready and able to show concern for the world around them.

As to the tidbit about nature being cared for? Why is this an afterthought? If Christians (and everyone else for that matter) are being good stewards like they are called to be, caring for nature should NOT be a second thought. It should be something that comes naturally and seamlessly-like recycling and not letting anything potentially harmful leech out in the environment? Corrupt environment oftentimes yields corrupt people.

“The Christ-follower who truly knows Christ and His word knows that the end NEVER justifies the means, that love must always win over pragmatism and that we are to work with all our strength to bring the reality of the Kingdom of God, in all it’s beauty and goodness, to bear upon this planet in our every sphere of influence, including all our vocations and all our relationships.”

Agree in part. “Love must always win over pragmatism…” Maybe, but maybe not BECAUSE in the Christian life love should ALWAYS be practical.

So, my question: What’s so hard about loving everyone when we are commanded to so? Seems like there is not a good enough reason to do anything but.

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By the way, I did have to look up some definitions and synonyms and stuff…http://www.merriam-webster.com/ is what I used although I normally use dictionary.com, but either way….

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