Value in Faith, Part 3

Having recently posted something that drew the criticism of some of my readers — all of whom responded with great civility by reply and by private email, I might add — I recalled that some time late last year, I promised to share my thoughts on my faith.

I had this recollection because I remembered the value statement occupying the third spot on my list:

In order to realize the value I place on faith, I will listen to others and act with discernment with their thoughts in regard to God.

Now, I don’t like having people disagree with me any more than the next guy.  Yet, I am learning that God hasn’t given me the talent of always being right.

So I listen to other people.  Even when their ideas don’t match mine.  And especially when those ideas are about what God is calling them to do.  I appreciate them for voicing their concerns and challenging what I say.  I have discovered that I have much to learn.

Discernment is such a difficult exercise.  In my view (and I’m sure there will be those who disagree), discernment is a process that combines listening, thinking, sorting, inquiring, and ultimately feeling.  Discernment is making the best decision you can in a given moment and feeling good about the effort and the outcome.  Discernment, like all human endeavors, is an imperfect activity.

The beauty of my faith is that my God is too big to be dethroned by my mistake in judgment.  The beauty of my faith is the depth added to my relationship when I know that what I’ve discerned is enough for the moment.  If I was wrong, God will bring me back on target.  And I will always be trying to get it right.

I truly believe that God will deliver me from myself.  And my faith says that he will deliver you, too.  That’s the real message, isn’t it?

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3 Responses to Value in Faith, Part 3

  1. Laurie Rizan says:

    “ITYJ” I Trust You Jesus
    He is our Constant Companion so there should be a lightness to our step that is observable by others.
    He is our burden-bearer at times such as these.

  2. Nikki says:

    I am thankful that he will deliver me…as always you have a special gift for sharing Joey.

  3. Mike Garver says:

    Dr. Cope,

    I was reminded today (Good Friday) that I am a lot like Peter. I would have been there with the sword, whacking away at the High Priest’s slave, cutting off the ear, and thinking “I doing the right thing.” Then to hear Jesus say, “Put away your sword.” Like you said, listening is so much of the process of discernment, and that is one of the hardest things for me to do.

    My faith is a growing, living, loving relationship, just like our relationships with our neighbor. I am so glad that God is patient and that He love me far better than I love Him.

    On this difficult day when we see Judas betray the Lord, Peter deny the Lord, and the others run away and hide, I am especially thankful that God’s Grace is sufficient for me and for all of us.

    Thank you for your efforts to open my life up to the possibilities available through conflict resolution and reconciliation.

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