Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Piety

Above:
All of the girls together, plus an extra - our friend, Suzanne


Tonight at our ladies' Bible study/prayer group, we found ourselves discussing a chapter out of an old book that we had read. The book talked about the need for young women to cultivate piety in their lives.

Hmmm... Piety. That's kind of an old-fashioned word. What does that mean? we all wondered.

So, we pulled out Webster's 1828 dictionary. I found a lot of food for thought.

Piety 1.) Piety in principle, is a compound of veneration or reverence of the Supreme Being and love of His character, or veneration accompanied with love; and piety in practice, is the exercise of these affections in obedience to His will and devotion to his service. 2.) Reverence of parents or friends, accompanied with affection and devotion to their honor and happiness. Piety is the only proper and adequate relief of decaying man.

"...love of His character..."

I thought back to a recent visit with my friend who I was trying to explain something to. I knew that she doesn't believe what I do. I was trying to explain a Biblical doctrine to her that she had asked about. She is someone who has always had a very negative view of God, and is finally taking baby steps towards recognizing that God is God and He is good, and he deserves her respect and love whether or not she likes everything that He does. These concepts seem so hard for her to grasp. She seems so easily offended by the hard truths of the Bible, and yet little by little, I see her mind opening to truth, even hard truth, a tiny bit at a time.

So, I explained the part she had asked about. I carefully avoided getting into another related subject, knowing that it probably wouldn't go over well if I told it to her like it is. She would need the "mild" version or would need to wait for another day to hear all of those hard truths... so I didn't even go down that trail with her.

But, I stopped myself this evening. I should have a love of God's character. If I LOVE God's character, why would I cringe to tell her everything of God's character? Why would I think that perhaps she wasn't ready for all of this just yet?

Somehow I believed that my human character could better portray the Truth than the way GOD said it?

I stand convicted.

I must love God's character enough to tell it like it is unabashedly not just to most, but even to my most sensitive friends.

God's character is good, through and through. There is no reason to hold any of it back.

It's GOOD. I should LOVE it! If I love it, I will find it strange if other people find it offensive.

3 comments:

wisewomanhalley said...

Oh Mary, I LOVE this! Piety..I never knew what that word meant before, but what a beautiful meaning it has! The conversation you had with your friend, and your struggle to find the "mild" version of the Truth -- I must say I do that all the time. Especially with my family, and very much so with my mother. I am constantly torn between my desire to "move forward" in my efforts to "win her over" for Christ, and my conviction that I am called to stand bold and unashamed before the world in defense of the Hope that I have in Him. But if I truly have a LOVE of His character, and believe everyday that it is entirely goodness, there is no reason, as you say, that I should not boast in the whole of His being. Thank you for a fresh outlook on such an important concept! :)

Emily said...

"If I love it, I will find it strange if other people find it offensive."

Amen and amen! So well said. It is amazing to me how many things we do and believe to be the basics of Christianity that absolutely stun an unbeliever (you wear skirts ALL the time?) :) . Should this not embolden us to witness, as most people will question what are the very fundamentals of our Christianity-- things that should be easy for us to answer?

Thanks for the reminder of piety... a lovely and under-used word!

Anonymous said...

My husband was bold and unashamed when he showed me the Lord. I ended up chasing him around a house throwing rocks! I'm not even kidding. I was so hurt and offended. I just hated him. But that darn guy kept being right. I didn't want him to be right, but when I saw the truth I could never pretend any more that I saw something different. I really wanted the truth. I was determined to follow the truth no matter what, but I sure hadn't expected it to be Christianity. And I never expected it to be so hard.

Some things will offend and hurt others no matter how nicely you say them. So the question is really if you will say them at all. I am so glad that my husband DID say the things he did. It certainly took some guts.

Krista