Many people believe that after they become believers, their minds are renewed and their thoughts are corrected. However, unknowingly, they have a misconception, thinking what they receive from the Lord is right and that anyone different from them is wrong.
Have clear spiritual eyesight
Pastor Liu from a Northern church shared, "Christians should keep spiritual eyes healthy, which are crucial. Because they see something, they will think about it, followed by actions. If they don’t have clear eyesight, they will think wrongly, resulting in incorrect actions and taking the wrong path. The scripture says, 'The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness.'"
Physical blindness is not as frightening as spiritual blindness. Abram's herdsmen quarreled with Lot's herdsmen, but Abram expected no strife between them. He asked Lot to separate and choose where to live. Lot saw the fertile plain of the Jordan River but didn't see that it was approaching a city of sin. Abram, however, believed the blessing was in the hands of God. This is a difference in cognition.
Jesus healed many physically blind people, but he desired to heal our spiritual blindness more. Let us open our eyes to the truth, to see the blessings of God and the eternal Lord.
Isaac and Jacob were both the ancestors of Israel. Pastor Liu mentioned them, saying, "Isaac and Jacob both had poor eyesight in their old age, but they were different. Isaac couldn't distinguish between Jacob and Esau, yet although Jacob had poor eyesight, his heart was bright. When he blessed Joseph's two sons, he knew whom he was blessing. Moreover, Jacob blessed his twelve sons with distinct blessings and revelations from God. Jacob was bright inside because of faith."
Misconception in our journey of faith
Pastor Liu pointed out that faith requires us to constantly correct our wrong perceptions because mistakes start with wrong perceptions.
About a decade or two ago, if a Christian suddenly fell ill, staff workers or believers would immediately tell him to confess his sins. Because back then, many acknowledged their sins and repented, resulting in healing. So, many had a common idea that illness came from sin and that they should repent whenever they got sick, as it was the Lord's discipline.
The pastor honestly faced the church's past mistaken understanding. "In the past, the information we received was that illness comes from sin, so if we fell ill, we would search for sins every day. But as the church has developed, we've realized it's not always the case. We believe in Jesus, we repent, and the Lord has forgiven us. Our God isn't there to discipline us every day, making us suffer. He is not the one who oppresses you with His own power, but a God who forgives our sins, redeems our bodies, and leads us back to His will for a healthy life."
Pastor Liu illustrated, "Which parent, after giving birth, purposefully lets their child fall sick? Do they constantly hit them? No, they protect them in every possible way. They'd rather take the illness upon themselves. God will discipline His children, but we need to renew our understanding of God. God is righteous, holy, and loving."
Renew understanding and change perspectives
Faith requires constantly updating our understanding of God's truth. When two people have differing opinions, if their cognition is not inconsistent with the truth but only differs in personal concepts, the pastor's advice is to change their perspectives reasonably.
The pastor mentioned that their church was initially very strict. If someone wore slippers or had inappropriate clothing, they were essentially asked to leave. However, they also had to consider the special conditions under which the member attending the gathering might be a first-time guest. Is it more important for them to hear a sermon or follow strict rules? The pastor reflected with the church staff, "Looking back on what we’ve done, we have too many shortcomings. We need to see our past mistakes and dare to admit them."
The pastor admired Paul's repentance. Paul and Barnabas had a disagreement about taking Mark along. They parted ways because Paul disagreed with taking him. But Barnabas accepted Mark and served with him, and later, Mark also became a spiritual person. In Paul's letter to Timothy, he specifically requested that he bring Mark, saying Mark was beneficial for ministry. This proves that Paul changed his view of Mark.
- Translated by Abigail Wu