Thank you, @Kevin_Hurst for your input. A situation in which someone who is already embroiled in a polygamous situation wants to become a Christian has definitely been a new one for me to think over. After my initial posts, I started to think along the same lines as Kevin and Sean @SeanO concerning the situation, that after becoming followers, these individuals would hopefully desire and need to surrender to God’s truth concerning their situation and be willing to make changes.
LaTricia @LJan, a holier-than-thou attitude doesn’t have anything to do with a Christian brother and sister correcting another with the truth of God’s Word on a matter. It has everything to do with self-righteousness, and self-righteousness comes out of pride. Self-righteousness sets its own truth, standard, and reasoning up against the the corrective truth of God’s Word for someone’s situation and judges everyone who doesn’t fall in line with that. We are called to love, but with love comes responsibility. Far from warning believers that because they, too, are sinners, they should not be correcting other believers, the Bible says quite the opposite. In Ephesians 4, it points out that part of the responsibility we have as believers is to put off lies and speak truth to one another. We are not to refrain from speaking God’s truth into someone’s situation. In both Timothy and Titus, God tells us through His Spirit-inspired author that all Scripture is useful for rebuking and correcting. Proverbs 27:5-6 makes it clear that correction, indeed, rebuke, is better from a friend than a thousand kisses from an enemy. Truth without love is brutality, but love without truth is a comforting lie that thwarts the spiritual growth of those to whom we seek to minister. We cannot minister to others if we are not willing to speak God’s truth into their situation. Prayer is definitely a part of ministering, but God’s Word does not limit us to prayer in these situations…or any situation, necessarily, for that matter. Discipleship definitely requires the Holy Spirit’s leading and a gentle but firm hand, though.
Added to this, we cannot advocate encouraging people to live in sin (and one could argue that is not what is going on, but it has become clear that it is) based on, “We are all already all messed up and in need of God’s grace, anyways.” Romans 6:1-4 makes this quite clear, saying that God’s grace is not to be used as an excuse to justify continuing to willfully live in sin. If we are in a situation that we know goes against God, we are not to reason our way out of it despite knowing God’s truth. We are to surrender to God’s Truth and make the necessary changes in order to align our lives with it. We can say the situation is complex, and because of our feelings for others, it is. However, God’s truth about the situation and the answer to it when truth is applied is not complex.
Last, when we are conversing with people, as I’ve learned in both my secular counseling classes and my spiritual care courses I’ve taken, the number one rule of thumb is not to assume how people (especially people who are reading and have not even participated) feel. It is unwise and fails to acknowledge the fact that we could not possibly know that without someone telling us. When we state that we “know” how someone feels without their telling us, that “truth” is merely coming from our perception and previous experience in dealing with this subject, and we are unfairly projecting that onto others. Furthermore, to put words in someone else’s mouth simply because we don’t like what they are telling us is twisting the truth of what is really happening. While the writer has the responsibility of clearly communicating meaning and tone, the reader has the responsibility of measuring his/her perception honestly, making sure to self-monitor for how he/she is feeling. We can only do that when we are being honest with ourselves about where we are at in our emotions and thoughts. I would advise that before responding, to take a step back, dig into the Word, and pray in the Spirit. This will help keep our conversation and responses seasoned with salt and be the examples of Christ we ought to be.
I am praying over this, and I will post a very thorough article someone wrote in to Crosswalk on polygamy in the Bible in a subsequent post. Please note that I am not recommending Crosswalk itself as a source, but the person who wrote the article seems to be fairly knowledgeable on this.
Praying over the hearts and minds of all involved in this situation.
In the peace and love of Christ,