Jumping to Conclusions
I. Joshua 22:9-34
A. While we all wish to do what is right, at times our actions or our statements may mislead others who see us.
B. The 2 ½ tribes on the east side of the Jordan wanted a memorial to remind both their descendants and the descendants on the west side of the Jordan that they were Israelites who worshiped God. They feared that the natural border of the Jordan would cause the people to separate over time.
C. The other tribes assumed these eastern tribes had set up an altar to replace the worship of God at the tabernacle. They prepared for war.
D. However, before attacking, they sent delegates from each tribe to find out why this altar was built.
E. When they heard the truth, they were embarrassed and thankful they had not attacked first and asked questions later.
II. When we interact with others, offenses will come
A. Not that we want to offend, but we are limited creatures.
1. We do not see everything. We do not know all.
2. We are used to filling in the gaps in our knowledge by making assumptions.
3. But too often we take our assumptions as fact – especially if we had been making the assumption for quite a while.
B. Nathaniel assumed nothing good could come from a miserable, small town such as Nazareth - John 1:46
C. Some people seem to have their minds predisposed to oppose everything a person says or does.
1. A single word is interpreted as harm - Isa 29:20-21
2. They have a morbid interest in disputes over words and controversial questions - I Tim 6:3-5
3. Some will find fault in the smallest thing a person does, not seeing the grave problems in their own lives. - Matt 7:1-5
III. Brethren, we must not be faultfinders.
A. Yes, others have problems, but before we go to help them in theirs, we must first clean up our own lives.
B. Gal 6:1 - We go with gentleness, not to put down but to restore them to their proper position.
C. Pr. 17:9 - With love, we try to limit the impact of a brother or sister’s sin. Too many want to broadcast them as broadly as possible.
1. When fault is taken, we strive to straighten it out with the minimal involvement of others - Matthew 18:15-20
2. Love covers sins, not to hide them unresolved, but to fix them with as little embarrassment to the sinner as possible - I Peter 4:8
IV. It wouldn’t harm us to have a little thicker skins as well
A. Instead of assuming the worse, why are we not assuming the best of our brothers and sisters?
B. Sometimes the problem is that a brother or sister needs a chance to grow - Romans 15:1
1. Perhaps this is the opportunity God has given you to gently lead a new Christian into greater maturity.
2. Perhaps if a younger, weaker Christian has a problem, the proper response is to remove the point of contention - Romans 14:13
C. It is the idea of being tenderhearted (sympathetic) to one another - Eph 4:31-32
1. We were told by our Lord to be peacemakers, not troublemakers - Matthew 5:9
2. We need to follow after the things that make for peace - Rom 14:19
3. We need to clothe ourselves with compassion - Col. 3:12-15
D. Do not assume the worse, but the best of each other - I Pet 3:8-11
V. How better can we end this lesson than with the words of Paul - Phil 2:1-4