Are You Hard Boiled, Or Soft & Runny?

by Graham Pockett

Scripture quoted is from the NIV Bible, not because it is ‘best’ but because it is in modern English. If in doubt, please read the quotations in various translations. You might like to read Why I Quote The NIV Bible.

Doctrine is the driving force behind many different Christian groups and sects. They read the Word and highlight certain sections to focus their beliefs on, enjoying the "truth" they see in that portion of the Gospel.

However, I see doctrine like the shell of an egg. Each Christian group has marked out its own territory and staked its claim to that part of the truth. They defend their doctrine to the bitter end, attempting to prove to others that they, and they alone, have found the Truth in the Bible.

Alas, what many Christian groups miss is the core of that egg, the core teachings of Jesus, the yolk and white of the egg. This is the real substance, the reason for the shell.

Jesus highlighted two major things – to love one another and to forgive your enemy. In the Lord's Prayer, He said:

"Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors." [Matthew 6:12 NIV]

A couple of verses later He repeated this by saying:

"For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." [Matthew 6:14-15 NIV]

Could Jesus have said it any clearer than that? He did not say: "forgive your enemy if he is sorry and apologizes to you". No, Jesus told us simply to forgive – no strings, no "ifs" and "buts". He also told us that if we did not forgive our enemies then God would not forgive us. Period.

Has someone hurt you and never been forgiven? Maybe you intend to forgive someone when it "feels right", or when it doesn't hurt as much as it does now.

Forgiveness is not a feeling but an action. You need to forgive the drunk driver who kills your brother, or the rapist who attacks your daughter, now – even if they never show any remorse.

Forgiveness may not heal them, but it will definitely heal you!

 

When our shell gets attacked it will break because doctrinal shells are brittle and do not flex.

It isn't a matter of waiting until the hurt has abated, it isn't a matter of waiting until you feel that it is "right with God" for you to forgive them. Forgiveness is an action of the head, not the heart. Remember what Jesus said:

"...if you do NOT forgive men their sins, your Father will NOT forgive your sins." (emphasis added)

God will not forgive you unless you forgive others? Scary stuff.

The other core teaching of Jesus, closely allied to forgiveness, was that we should love our neighbor. When asked which were the most important Commandments, Jesus said:

"'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." [Matthew 22:37-40 NIV]

In Romans 13:9, while talking about how Christians should behave, Paul says:

The commandments, "Do not commit adultery," "Do not murder," "Do not steal," "Do not covet," and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself." [NIV]

Do you love your neighbor? Do you love the kid who drives past your door at 3am with his stereo playing at full volume? Do you love the owner of the dog who allows it to mess on your lawn and then doesn't clean it up? Forgiveness and love aren't just about the big things, but also about the little things too.

Maybe the only saving factor is that while Jesus told us to love and forgive our neighbors, He didn't say that we had to like them...

Paul sums up nicely how Christians should behave. In Philippians 2:3-7 he said:

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. [NIV]

Unfortunately, it seems to me the more emphatic some Christians are about their doctrines, the less they are about the core teachings of Jesus.

 

Now back to our egg and the title of this article.

Unless we have the core teachings of Jesus firmly in our heart we are like a raw egg – we have a hard outer shell but the inside is soft and runny. When our shell gets attacked – as it most certainly will, Satan will see to that – it will break because doctrinal shells are brittle and do not flex.

When that happens the soft inner parts of the egg – the yolk and white of our core beliefs – will simply run away and we will be left holding the shards of an empty shell. Our faith will be as shattered as our doctrines. I believe that this is a major factor in the high number of people who, after accepting Jesus as their Savior, backslide and fall away.

However, if we concentrate on the core teachings of Jesus we will be like a hard boiled egg. You can remove the shell from a hard boiled egg but the real substance, the yolk and white, will remain intact. To Christians who concentrate on the core teachings of Jesus, the hard outer doctrinal shell ceases to be of any significant importance.

Unfortunately, it seems to me the more emphatic some Christians are about their doctrines, the less they are about the core teachings of Jesus.

Those doctrinally-motivated Christians might have staked a claim to a small portion of the eggshell of faith but, unless they are hard-boiled believers in the core truths that Jesus taught, their doctrine is just a brittle shard.

If we have the core teachings deep in our heart and in our actions then nothing else really matters because we have opened ourselves to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Remember, Jesus teaches forgiveness and love, while Satan teaches intolerance and hate.

Which one are you following?

I pray you have found this article interesting and I would be pleased to read any comments you may have. However, my workload is such that I may not be able to respond to all mail. Address any comments to Graham Pockett.

Get a copy of this article in ASCII text format either zipped (hard_boiled.zip – 4kB) or as a normal text document (hard_boiled.txt – 7kB). Please note that this article is copyright and may not be reproduced without written permission (given freely for Christian purposes). Often it is better to simply link directly to this page!

All of Graham’s Christian writings (see below) can be download as a set of archived text files GrahamsWriting.zip (you will need an unzipping tool – like the free Stuffit Expander Windows or Stuffit Expander Mac – to extract the separate documents from this archive).

 

This article was featured in the February 2004 issue of Australia's Alive Magazine.

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Graham’s Christian writing:
"Graham Pockett doesn't mince any words, but he writes with a kind heart. If you have questions about such things as "once saved, always saved", or why so many different ideas can come from the same scripture, or how much what we see and do affects us as spiritual beings, you'll find much to think about here."  from This Christian Life
Graham Pockett
Download these articles:
GrahamsWriting.zip
  • The Key To Heaven  (an analogy about commitment)
  • I Am A Cynic; Therefore I Am A Christian
  • Evolution – a statistical question mark?
  • “Once Saved Always Saved” – a dangerous delusion?
  • Who is my Neighbor? – featuring "The Parable of the Good Muslim"
  • Bashing The Bible – misusing & abusing Scripture
  • Two Billion Doctrines – the strange religion called Christianity
  • Does God Ever Change His Mind? – Calvin would turn in his grave!
  • New Wine In An Old Skin – the problem of legalism in the church today
  • Are You Hard Boiled, Or Soft & Runny? – doctrines are like an egg shell
  • The Bible is an "iffy" book – a look at the conditional promises of God
  • Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up? – what did Jesus really look like?
  • The Truth Will Set You Free! – the Holy Tarantula???
  • Growing the Seed of Faith – so it doesn't wither and die
  • We Don't See The Clean, Just The Dirt – judgement and forgiveness
  • Why I Quote The NIV Bible – is it an heretical Bible?
  • "Omissions" from the NIV Bible – a look at 17 missing verses
  • Do You Believe In Miracles? – you do when they happen to you!
  • “Why Didn’t God Answer My Prayer For A Miracle?” – my response
  • Christian Concepts – the cavern of life  (an analogy)
  • Christian Concepts – the three crosses  (an analogy)
  • Christian Concepts – we are what we eat
  • Christian Concepts – when are we saved?  (an analogy)
  • Christian Concepts – when we are saved, part 1  ...part 2


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    © Graham Pockett
    Last Updated: Tuesday, January 03, 2017