Study on the Queries: 3-4

Christian Relationships

3. As followers of Jesus Christ do you love and respect one another? Do you thoughtfully consider the differing viewpoints of others as an opportunity for deeper understanding within the Christian fellowship? When conflicts arise, are you prompt to make a sincere effort to resolve them in a spirit of understanding and love that avoids divisiveness in the Meeting? How are you careful to maintain the good reputation of others?

Home and Family

4. Do you make your home a place of hospitality, friendliness,peace, and Christian fellowship? Do you consistently read the Bible? Do you read Christian devotional literature in your home, giving time for reverent meditation and prayer? Do you set a Christian example before your children and live in a way that promotes the sanctity and health of marriage and family life? Are you sensitive and do you minister to the needs of single people, single parent families; merged families and extended families? How do you provide instruction to your children for their spiritual lives; in educational, moral, and social issues of the day?

Lesson can be found here: q3-4

My answer for the third and fourth Query:

3.  We do very poorly.  We are divisive and careless in our discussions — so eager to be right that we often speak before listening.  Our conflicts destroy relationships, and are not resolved.  This has recently lead to a break in fellowship.  All too often, we are careless about the reputation of others.  Our first thought, when speaking in anger, is not one that cares for the reputation of another person.  We have sinned in thought, word, and action and can at this point only confess this sin to God — and pray that Jesus helps us do better in the future.

4. There is evidence of hospitality in the meeting and among the members.  Biblical knowledge shows that people do read — people seem aware enough of devotional literature to suggest that it is also read.  Children show that the adults have given care to train them well — their best behavior is good behavior.  The meeting does much to minister to the needs of others, especially the poor outside of the meeting.    It is giving the children a moral framework, likely stronger than the one received by the adults.

I do not answer this way to be harsh to my meeting — the third query is not one that we expect to follow — it asks us to be better than we are. Putting aside time for Bible reading is easy — controlling the tongue when angry is very hard.  The thing is, we do better when we try.  Learning to control our tongue the next time we are angry, and recognizing the value of the relationships that were damaged the last time can go a long ways to helping us become better.

Another issue with the 3rd query is that it recognizes failure, but not (as the 4th query does) success.  There are many causes of anger, and many chances to speak when we are not our best selves.  If we control our speech and our behavior all but one of these times, we still have not lived up to it.  If we miss reading our bible one day — but read it the other days, we still are being deliberate about scriptural studies.  The good news about the third Query is that the Greek word translated “Repent” means to re-think.  As we answer the 3rd Query, we repent what we did wrong that time in the all too recent past, and pray for the strength to do better the next time we are in that situation.

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