Tag Archives: Encouragement

Will sometimes be in the form of comfort and support, but at other times consist of “a kick in the fanny” (exhortation) and a call to accountability to live the life God designed and intended for us to live

HUMAN RATIONALIZATION and SPIRITUAL MALPRACTICE©

P.E.A.R.s™ Periodic Encouragement And Reminders

Human Rationalization and Spiritual Malpractice©

by

Robert E. Alderman, Jr.

Have you ever worked yourself into a tizzy over some little thing, or perhaps gone the other way and convinced yourself that whatever you were doing or not doing was acceptable conduct?

I know for me personally, my emotions or desires will frequently lead my mind in either of those directions if I don’t filter the process through a litmus test of God’s Reality or carefully compare the tint and color to His Palette of Truth.

This is very important, because the rationalization capabilities of the human mind (if left to its own devices and not Spiritually guided) will all too often produce color blind results.

Most all of us have heard and/or used the following rationalizations:

“Everybody’s doing it.”  (The “Aw, gee, Mom!” argument that somehow large numbers of participation (whether real or perceived) make it right.

“No harm, no foul.”  (Well, God didn’t strike me dead, so what I did must not have been too bad.)

“Live and let live.”  (He doesn’t bother me; I won’t bother him.)

“It’s not my place to say anything.”  (It’s not in my job description.)

Recently, I listened to a dialog of pros and cons between members of a professional listserv to which I belong through my estate planning law practice.  The question raised by one member was whether or not there could be legal consequences (maybe even criminal charges) brought against a client who married a third party just to obtain social security benefits as a “surviving spouse” when that party dies.  This marriage of convenience was being considered, because the inquiring member’s client and the client’s real “spouse” were homosexual and not entitled to social security surviving spouse benefits from one another.

Within a short time, the dialog grew into a discussion with several members participating and quickly became an argument as to the “rights” of homosexuals with one side of the argument being that since 4-10% of the population (the accuracy of those numbers was also debated) is now homosexual, they should be recognized and given the same rights and benefits as heterosexual couples.  If that were to occur, the argument went, there would be no need to fabricate a marriage of convenience to obtain social security surviving “spouse” benefits.

One of the elements of that argument was the human rationalization that:  “Everybody’s doing it, so we should accept it and change our laws to accommodate it.”  (It’s the “Aw, gee, Mom, all my friends are doing it, so that makes it an okay thing to do” argument.)

Though as humans we may want to rationalize in that direction and reach out to others in love as a commendable action, we have to remember that God is the One who provides the rules for living.  For Him, the argument that “everyone’s doing it” or that the percentages of participation have increased will not cause Him to alter His holy ways.

Perhaps the two best known examples of this in the Bible are:  “Noah and the Ark” and “Sodom and Gomorrah” found in Genesis chapters 6 and 19, respectively.  Though virtually “everyone was doing it” (living a life style contrary to God’s teachings), the known world, except for Noah and his family, was destroyed in the first instance, and in the second, the entire population of two cities and the surrounding valleys, except for Lot’s family, were destroyed because of their iniquities.

In the latter, even Abraham used human rationalization during his conversation with God seeking to save those cities if just a few righteous men could be found (beginning with fifty and moving down to ten).  Though God said he would spare the cities under those circumstances, it was not for the sake of the multitudes violating His laws, but for a few who might be found striving to live as God required.

A few years back (possibly even ten or more), I read an article in the Los Angeles Times arguing that the Bible needed to be re-written in order to be more tolerant of mankind’s society and culture.  The writer’s position was actually one step past rationalization.  Knowing that the Bible could not in any way be reasoned or interpreted as approval or acceptance of what the world has become, his solution was for mankind to write their own rules.  

In other words, if the Creator and Ruler of the universe doesn’t suit your fancy, then declare and reason that you have the right and ability to be the creator and rule maker yourself.   Such is perhaps man’s most egregious rationalization.

The second rationalization phrase set forth early in this P.E.A.R. is closely related to the first and need not be addressed separately.  However, the third and fourth present a slightly different twist to the human mind’s rationalization process – somewhat like the flip side of the same coin.  They’re similar, yet different from the first two.

“Live and let live.”  (He doesn’t bother me; I won’t bother him.)

“It’s not my place to say anything.”  (It’s not in my job description.)

The reasoning of the mind on these is basically this:  if we can’t change something into what we want it to be, just ignore it and pretend it doesn’t exist.  Don’t get involved.

When it comes to the Bible and God’s teachings, this is what I call Spiritual Malpractice.

Ken Sande in his book “The Peace Maker” puts it this way.

Any doctor who diagnoses cancer but fails to report it to a patient would be guilty of malpractice.  After all, a patient can be properly treated only after the disease has been identified.  Sin [all disobedience of God] works in the same way; left undiagnosed and untreated, it causes grief and spiritual deterioration – leading ultimately to death [eternal separation from God].

Every believer and follower of Christ is charged or entrusted (somewhat like a doctor) with a biblical Hippocratic oath of ethical conduct to save as many in the world from the disease of sin as they possibly can.  It is part of their Christian job description whether they want to admit it or not.  If they remain silent, they commit Spiritual malpractice and will be held accountable for their inaction on judgment day.

* * * * *

Avoiding the errors of human rationalization (trying to make Reality into something we’re willing to accept) rather than honoring God’s Word, or stepping forward to be ambassadors of Christ and proclaimers of His Kingdom are not easy to do.  Both will bring consternation from the world and charges of being intolerant, judgmental and self righteous.

So, what’s the answer?

Do it anyway, because that’s what God commands.  Believers are to be watchmen and to warn those who are dying and if the believer fails to do so, the blood of those who could have been saved but were not will be on that believer’s hands.  (Ezekiel 3:16-21). 

Even exposing the darkness (speaking against conduct occurring contrary to the light of God’s Word) is an affirmative requirement.  If action is not taken, a tacit acceptance or approval may be inferred.  (Eph. 5:7-16)

Always speak the truth in love, however, with the goal of salvation not condemnation.  Those who hear what you say may still take offense, and you may even feel that you bumbled the opportunity.  Yet, the Holy Spirit will use it for good and perhaps be the beginning of a seed that leads to Life.

The bottom line is this: Whatever you do, don’t engage in human rationalization or Spiritual malpractice when it comes to God’s Word and commandments.  Be the messenger and take the ridicule just as Christ did as that is your purpose on this earth.

Have a great week!  (and to my family, love Dad)

Bob Alderman

083105 – updated 8/26/08

Quit Pushing the Car! – Post Script©

P.E.A.R.sPeriodic Encouragement And Reminders
Quit Pushing the Car! – Post Script©
by Robert E. Alderman, Jr.

There is so much encouragement to be found in the testimonies and lives of others who have gone before us that I think the best post script to “Quit Pushing the Car!”© and Major Thomas’s personal learning experience of that truth is to share the stories of two other authors I have enjoyed over the years of how they struggled but eventually reached that same point of blessed living:

Charles Stanley from – “Living the Extraordinary Life:”

Before the concept of abiding in Christ became a reality for me, I already had been a pastor for eight years.  I’d been to college and seminary, and I thought that the full Christian life meant preaching, studying the Bible, witnessing to people, serving people, and so forth.  After eight years, however, I knew there had to be more.

I was spiritually stuck at a dead-end road.  At that time, I was preaching from the book of Galatians, and when I came to the fifth chapter, I became genuinely concerned.  I thought to myself, “In two more Sundays, I’m going to preach on the fruit of the Spirit, and God will show me there isn’t a lot of peace, love, joy, and goodness in my life.”

I remember thinking that I felt a lot more spiritual on Sunday, but Monday through Saturday was a different story.  I knew something was missing and my heart was troubled.

In near despair, I prayed, “God, either there is more to the Christian life than I have ever known, or I have to stop telling people who You are.  How can I keep preaching if the Christian life is just a set of standards to believe in if there is no real victory?  I can’t keep going on like this.”

I had fallen victim to the trap of fretting, rushing, and striving.  I was working overtime trying to please God and finally came to a point of burnout.

God used the testimony of Hudson Taylor to minister to me.  He was a missionary to China who had also came to a point of spiritual weariness until God changed his life with Galatians 2:20 – which says: “I have been crucified with Christ and no longer live, but Christ lives in me.  The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (NIV)

From that, John 15 became a reality to Hudson Taylor and through my reading of his story, it became a reality to me also: “Abide in Me and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.  I am the vine and you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing”.

Charles Swindoll in – “The Mystery of God’s Will”

In the summer of 1961, my life changed.  I was already a Christian.  In fact, I was between my second and third year in seminary, deeply entrenched in theological studies.

One of my major battles in trying to come to terms with certain truths was the sovereignty of God. When you reach that point, you can no longer leave issues like that in the “unsettled” realm. [However], candidly, the doctrine of sovereignty frightened me.

On a practical level, I was grappling [at the same time] with several issues in my own life that seemed to relate.  My wife and I were uncertain about our future.  We had been married for six years, and while our marriage was not weak, it wasn’t as strong as it needed to be.  And she was carrying our first child, causing both of us to feel somewhat anxious about being parents.

All of this as well as other issues were troubling me.  So that summer I decided I really wanted to dig into a book of the Bible, ideally one with a dozen chapters or so to coincide with the twelve weeks we had away from school.  I chose the book of Daniel.

I was in the fourth chapter of Daniel when I came upon the truth that transformed my thinking, in fact, changed my life. Daniel 4:24-28:  [the revelation by Daniel of the meaning of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream as to the sovereignty of all things lying with God and not the King – and because Nebuchadnezzar did not acknowledge and accept that, he was literally put out to pasture to graze like a cow until God’s sovereignty was acknowledged and accepted by him.]

[In those verses, God said to Nebuchadnezzar]: “you will be given grass to eat like cattle and be drenched with the dew of heaven…until you recognize that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind, and bestows it on whomever He wishes…[yet] your kingdom will be assured to you after you recognize that it is Heaven that rules.

A chill still runs up my spine when I read those words and reflect back on that summer morning.  I remember, as if it were yesterday, taking a pencil from my desk and underscoring two lines that were almost identical.  In verse 25, “until you recognize” and verse 26: “after you recognize”.

I sat and stared at that passage of Scripture for who knows how long.  My heart beat faster, and I broke out in a sweat as I struggled with what I had read.  Finally, I told the Lord that I would give up the fight and acquiesce to His plan [for my life rather than trying to make it on my own.]  I invited Him to take sovereign charge of my life.  I gave Him my marriage.  I gave Him my wife.  I gave Him the birth of our firstborn.  In fact, I surrendered my entire future to Him. And I finished the time on my knees weeping in wonder and with a sense of relief.  From then on it would be “God and God alone.”

* * * * *
This message, this truth, this reality is the very foundation needed by every Christian to live the life of fullness and purpose intended by God for them after they receive Christ as their Savior and Lord.  The former has to do with life after death and the latter has to do with life now!

As fortunate as we are to have encouragements and reminders like this from Major Thomas, Charles Stanley, Charles Swindoll and many other authors, we need to remember that the message they share is from the ultimate Author and Perfecter of our lives.  Even the reason for others before us (or contemporaneously with us) to share in written form their experiences is found in the Bible itself:

“These things happened to them (referring to the nation of Israel) as examples and were written down as warnings to us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come.  So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall.  No temptation has seized you except what is common to man.  And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand under it.”  (1 Cor 10:11-13) NIV

In Hebrews chapter 11 alone (sometimes referred to as the Halls of Faith), we are given example after example of people who through their acknowledgement, faith and acceptance of God as the sovereign force in their lives were used in mighty ways by God.

Charles Stanley and Charles Swindoll summarize their awesome discovery of letting God be sovereign in their lives (essentially, to “Quit Pushing the Car!”) with these words:

I discovered that it was not my responsibility to strive for anything.  My part was to submit my life to God and allow Him to live His life through me. – Charles Stanley

I believe that not until we embrace God’s sovereignty will we have the ability to reason our way through life theologically.  Until then, we will be too important in the plan.  Man’s opinion will be too significant to us.  And we will churn and wrestle and struggle our way through our Christian lives trying too hard to please people rather than living it relieved and relaxed in God’s plan. – Charles Swindoll

Have a great week!  (and to my family, love Dad)

Bob Alderman

Orig writing 12/20/06 – blog posting 03/16/17

PERMISSIONS:  You are permitted to reproduce and distribute electronic or hardcopies of this article in its entirety provided you do not alter it in any way, do not charge a fee to others to receive it beyond your cost of reproduction, and do not make more than fifty physical copies without prior written permission from Robert E. Alderman, Jr.  All republications of the article in full or in part, whether in a hardcopy or electronic format, must include this statement:  Reproduced with permission from Robert E. Alderman, Jr., 661.904.7751, thegreatestlaw@gmail.com,  www.BobsPEARS.com

The Reason for P.E.A.R.s ©

P.E.A.R.s™ Periodic Encouragement And Reminders

The Reason for P.E.A.R.S ©
by
Robert E. Alderman, Jr.

Every week as I put together a P.E.A.R., it is my hope that someone, somewhere, somehow will be motivated, encouraged or reminded by its words of the special place and service intended for them in God’s plan for this world and eternity.

I never know how that might happen or what the exact results or cause and effect might be. I leave that up to God and just try to share as best I can the extraordinary, amazing, often unbelievable and incomprehensible reality of the purpose and fulfillment God offers to each of us – if we become willing to seek and grow closer to Him.

If you’ve never (or perhaps at least not for a long time) paused to consider your relationship with God and why you’re here, the comments from several authors may provide a wonderful insight for you. But before sharing their thoughts, there are three questions I would like you to consider:

1. Do you know how truly unique and important you are to God?

2. Have you ever wondered what He intended for your life?

3. Would you like to become more fulfilled in whatever days or years you have left?

As you reflect on those questions (not just now, but repeatedly in the coming days), the following words may become especially meaningful to you:

“The Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren:

We don’t realize how truly unique each of us is. DNA molecules can unite in an infinite number of ways. The number is 10 to the 2,400,000,000th power. That number is the likelihood that you’d ever find anyone just like you. If you were to write that number with each zero being one inch wide, you’d need a sheet of paper 37,000 miles long.

“The On Purpose Business” by Kevin W. McCarthy:

Our “spiritual DNA” [if you will] provides the “purpose…from which our vision and missions sprout. From a divine perspective, purpose is God’s will for your life. Purpose is infinite and eternal.

“The Dream Giver” by Bruce Wilkinson:

Like the generic code that describes your unique passions and abilities, your Big Dream has been woven into your being from birth.

“Half Time – from success to significance” by Bob Buford:

I believe God created us the way we are and enabled us to live the way we do for a purpose.

“Wild at Heart” by John Eldredge

God set the heart within every man and in doing so offers him an invitation: come and live out what I meant you to be.

There is no one who can replace you in your life, in the arena you’ve been called to. If you leave your place in the line, it will remain empty. No one else can be who you were meant to be.

Don’t ask how. How is never the right question. How is a faithless question. How is God’s department. He is asking you what. What is written on your heart? What makes you come alive?

“Don’t Waste Your Life” by John Piper

What Christ offers: doubly belonging to God, and being able to do what you were made for.

Desire that your life count for something great! Long for your life to have eternal significance. Don’t coast through life without a passion.

Whatever you do, find the God-centered, Christ-exalting, Bible-saturated passion of your life, and find your way to say it and live for it and die for it. And you will make a difference that lasts.

“Success God’s Way” by Charles Stanley

You were no less chosen for the plans and purposes He has for your life than Moses and Joseph were chosen by God. God did not create you and then scratch His head and say, now I wonder what I can do with this person. No, He created you to be and to do very specific things in your life.

“Disciples are made not born” by Walter A. Henrichsen

Are you laboring to build the Kingdom of God or are you building your own little kingdom?

At your death will you be able to say to God that you did the work he had for you to do?

* * * *

The last two authors (Stanley and Henrichsen) provide, I believe, a good summary of these excerpts when they say:

Encourage others to find and pursue their specific calling” – “…for you’ve not done anything until you’ve changed the lives of men.

I want to close with one of my favorite verses from the Bible as I believe it summarizes God’s perspective and desire as expressed by the above authors:

For the eyes of the Lord search back and forth throughout the whole earth, looking for people whose hearts are perfect toward Him, so that He can show His great power in helping them.”      2 Chron. 16:9 – Living Bible

May that become a realization to you personally and a goal to which you will dedicate your life.

Have a great week!

Bob Alderman – (and to my family, Love Dad)

PERMISSIONS:  You are permitted to reproduce and distribute electronic or hardcopies of this article in its entirety provided you do not alter it in any way, do not charge a fee to others to receive it beyond your cost of reproduction, and do not make more than fifty physical copies without prior written permission from Robert E. Alderman, Jr..  All republications of the article in full or in part, whether in a hardcopy or electronic format, must include this statement:  Reproduced with permission from Robert E. Alderman, Jr., 661.904.7751, thegreatestlaw@gmail.com,  www.BobsPEARS.com