Tribes and Troubles Part 2
2 weeks ago we discussed the benefits of living in a tribe. This week we go over the greatest danger of them.
One Very Real Danger
Despite the great benefits derived from being part of a tribe, there can be some dangers, dangers that can tear what should be a unified people, apart. The largest danger comes from ourselves and our approach to the differences we have with others. Remember there are 3 things that come from 2 or more gathering together: View 1, View 2, and the unadulterated truth? Once our eyes are open to the truth of Torah some of us feel upset or hurt that we have been deceived or blind for so long. Yet we grip firmly to the new understanding, gripping it like steel trap that’s been sprung and we don’t want to let go or even consider the possibility that our new understanding could be wrong, or needs tweaked. In fact, we strive to surround ourselves with like-minded people, a tribe of our own. Unfortunately, even simple aspects of being part of a tribe, such as the lingo, or jargon used can be a negative both inside and outside of the tribe. Sometimes we unintentionally begin to become close-minded on some topics, even elitist feeling what we know is right and everyone else needs to realize it.
This is reinforced because of the tribe we’ve put ourselves in, using language (jargon) that only those of the tribe will understand, and not compromise that language for the benefit of those who do not yet know the language. Instead of speaking in terms someone new may understand, we force our language on them (after all they are trying to join our tribe so they need to shape up or leave right!?!). It’s so easy for us to say to ourselves, “I know what’s right”; we’ve been wrong for so long that we begin feeling like we must only say what we believe to be 100% correct. It’s at this point that we begin to become elitist, unwelcoming, and yes, even unloving toward others who don’t believe the way we do. What started out with the great intentions of sharing the truth with the world begins to get lost in bigoted discussions, sardonic remarks, and a bashing of those who are where we once were. Worse yet, we begin judging even more harshly those who should be in our tribe, but have a slightly different perspective or understanding. While it’s unlikely this is ever our intention starting out, it’s an easy trap to fall into.
Jargon and Our Opinions
Using the jargon with those outside of the tribe can lead to confusion and miscommunication for those we are trying to “educate”; ultimately it could turn them away from the truth. The heart and attitude with which we interact with those outside of the tribe, especially with regard to the jargon, is of great importance as it can be so easy for us to become arrogant or prideful, a feeling of superiority one may feel from “knowing the Hebrew” we believe we have versus what they have. Whether you speak Hebrew or don’t is immaterial in relation to our salvation. We must be careful not to let language become a stick with which we beat others into submission to our understanding.
The same is true when speaking with others inside the tribe but who have a differing opinion on a topic, the jargon, or pronunciation. We can easily get caught up in debates about genealogies, dialect, spellings, and pronunciations of words in the Hebrew and Greek. Having the “correct” Hebrew, Greek, or Aramaic pronunciations seems to have become a point of great contention within our tribe of Hebrew Roots. There are great discussions and arguments had based on the pronunciation or spelling of terms such as the name of the Creator, His Son, or other words such as ekklesia, pleroo, or qahal. There are many opinions, beliefs, and perspectives on the subject, and it is indeed worth studying. However, these things should not be used to create division within the body. We are warned about such things 3 times, Titus 3:9, 1 Timothy 1:4, and 2 Timothy 2:14. Like we said last week, it’s likely we all have something correct and something incorrect, these shouldn’t be points of division or offense. If we all agree salvation comes by grace through faith in HaMashiach, then there isn’t a reason to divide over lesser things that are of no eternal value.
While having a language helps join us together, tells us who is in the tribe…we need to be careful we don’t let that language separate us. The Leader of the Tribe is the one who created the language, we need to not bicker over our personal preferences on how it should be said. YHWH made the tribes, literally….if we are working to live our lives according to the tribe He already created, then we need to stop using language as an excuse to separate or become elitist. It’s ultimately not about us, but about Him. What light are we being to the world when we fight among ourselves about the pronunciation of a word and show ourselves not to be open to learning, but stubborn in what we think we already know. Indeed, we need to have a firm foundation and faith in the Word, but what is our foundation made out of, our faith in the pronunciation of a word or phrase, or in the Word made flesh who showed us how to live?
Please don’t misunderstand us, we are not saying to discard the usage of Hebrew names, phrases, and understandings. We are simply issuing a warning that we need to be careful how we use them and the attitude that can be assumed when we do. We need to communicate with others at the level where they can understand, otherwise there is no value to it just as Paul warned about speaking in tongues without interpretation. There is no value to the body if they do not understand what is being said.
We do believe it is very important to study the Hebrew language as one is able to, and learn about the culture and idioms of the day and time in which the Scripture was written. Without having an understanding of the Hebrew language and culture of the day, much can be missed in the wording and interpretation of the Scripture. Again, we are not saying that learning and teaching others proper names and phrases in Hebrew is wrong, but rather we need to do it with the correct attitude and heart. One’s use or lack of use of a Hebrew name or phrase should not be a reason for division within the body. What matters more is the understanding of the names and phrases, what they represent, and what they mean. Whether one says Yahweh, Yehovah, Jehovah, or Yahuah should not be a reason to break fellowship in the body nor cause one to feel superior to another because they may have a better grasp of the language or pronunciations. These are what we are warning about. There is a place and a need for understanding of the Hebrew and of where others are in their walk along this journey.
Being part of a tribe, or any community is something we tend to crave as humans; we were designed to interact and learn from one another, sharing our experiences. A lot can be gained from working and living together, we get the opportunity to see our Creator in action and see how He orchestrates events in peoples’ lives to accomplish His will. When we let our flesh get in the way, we can turn what was meant for good, into something less desirable. If we approach our lives, and those around us with the wrong attitude we can quickly break down bonds we are meant to have and can create division in what should be a cohesive whole. Using something as simple as words we can tear down another person, crushing their dreams and renting holes in their spirit. As “awakened” individuals after receiving an understanding of Torah we have a great to desire to share this “new” truth with others. How we approach others with this knowledge can have eternal consequences for them. What’s more important, to say every word correctly, or for someone to have their eyes opened using terms they understand? Is iron sharpening iron when words are thrust at others like a sword to prove their point is right or when two come together in solid discussion and study testing everything to the Word?