Robert Cleaver Chapman tried his best to be forgotten, but God intervened on our behalf.
An unusually humble man, Chapman would have been pleased if you haven’t heard of him — and most Christians haven’t. And he would have likely protested my drawing your attention to him here. But I’m doing it anyway because I know you’ll be the richer for knowing him. And I doubt he minds now, having lived in heaven for nearly 120 years.
One of the great rediscoveries of the Reformation — especially of Martin Luther — was that the word of God comes to us in the form of a book, the Bible. Luther grasped this powerful fact: God preserves the experience of salvation and holiness from generation to generation by means of a book of revelation, not a bishop in Rome.
Words must be chosen carefully, along with the tone we use and our very presentation. Our words have the power to hurt and wound or heal others. Scripture is replete with admonitions to be extremely careful with our speech.
Solomon advises: “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.” (Proverbs 16:24)
That said, is it every appropriate to “say it like it is?” Is there a time when we can safely and respectfully speak bold truth? Is there a time when we should stand firm, speak surely and even sternly? I think so.
Corrie Ten Boom: April 15, 1892 – April 15, 1983
Corrie (Cornelia) ten Boom is one of my heroes of the faith. She was the daughter of a Dutch watchmaker living in Holland during WWII. She and her family hid Jews in their home to protect them from being sent to the prison camps. One day the Nazi officers arrested Corrie and her family for hiding Jewish people in their home and they were sent to prison. Corrie and her sister Betsie were eventually sent to the Ravensbruck death camp. Corrie is the only one of her family that survived, and her story is written in her book called The Hiding Place.
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:20).
God is faithful. He can use all circumstances for His glory. Let’s take a brief look at the life of Joseph (Genesis 37–50). Joseph was a man of integrity who did right in the eyes of the Lord, yet he faced hardship, betrayal, and temptation. As a young man, he was less than humble a few times with his ten older brothers. Okay. Straight up, he actually came across as a puffed up little braggart. His bragging fed the jealously of Joseph’s brothers because he was clearly their father’s favorite child. Now granted, Joseph threw gasoline on the fire of this jealousy when he bragged about the dreams God had given him, and may have deserved a good smack upside his head for being so insensitive, but imagine...
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