June 9, 2009

Measuring Motives

I am continuing to read the letters of Jonathan Edwards in A Sweet Flame. My thoughts in this post come from a letter to Elnathan Whitman, a cousin of Edwards. It is advice to a fellow pastor on how to react to someone who left their church to attend another (now that never happens anymore).

Edwards counsels calmly and wisely, telling Whitman to consider that the person may have been led to such action by God, or at least that they firmly believe to be so led. Edwards counsels Whitman to examine the motives of another without anger before acting. And even in cases whereby the motives do not appear to be of Godly will, but of a more personal selfishness, Edwards counsels wisdom and restraint.

Edwards gives the biblical example of Paul. In his writings to the Corinthians, Paul is dealing with many who were mislead or misguided by false teaching, who were blinding themselves by listening to evils, who were causing strife and division. Yet Paul looks to treat with gentleness and exhortation, not anger and revenge.

What good advice to measure motives, to reflect on the will of God before acting in ways that may well lead to regret; for they may not reflect the glory of God and His kingdom.

Edwards would have us be more concerned with the Creator than with our neighbors. If our lives, our very thoughts are God centered, all else will flow as it should, as God wills.

And let me measure others as I wish my motives to be measured by the Lord.

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