Previous studies in this program lead to understanding that God assigns individual responsibilities to people based on creating every person to represent him in human interactions with others. He assigns individual responsibilities regarding positive reputation, i.e., visibility of human value; care and diligence, i.e., in a call to compassion; appreciation; peace; humility; protection of civil rights; and individual responsibilities regarding faith and human effort. We provide a condensed discussion of the responsibilities to better understand the human implications of Christ teaching regarding final judgment: that God will accept into his kingdom those, and only those, that perform their individual responsibilities in human interactions and relationships.
We learned in the preceding bible study (Individual Responsibility for Positive Human Interaction: Continuous Living) that God will accept into his kingdom those he judges as people that perform their individual responsibilities in human interactions and relationships. In contrast, he will not accept those he judges as people that decline their individual responsibilities. Also, we know that God assigns individual responsibilities based on creating every person to represent him in human interactions with others. This bible study provides a condensed discussion of the individual responsibilities based on previous studies in this program.
We discuss the individual responsibilities regarding positive reputation, i.e., visibility of human value; care and diligence, i.e., in a call to compassion; appreciation; peace; humility; protection of civil rights; and individual responsibilities regarding faith and human effort.
We discuss each of these aspects of the individual responsibilities in enough details to understand the human implications of Christ teaching regarding final judgment: that God will accept into his kingdom those that perform their individual responsibilities in human interactions and relationships; but will not accept those that decline the responsibilities; based on how he sees a person at the time. A more-detailed discussion of each aspect of the individual responsibilities is available at the Banking Blessings Ministry website under Individual Responsibility Series.
We discuss Christ teaching and explanation by Paul to understand that every person is individually responsible to seek a path to peace in every situation. Focus on the aspects that depend on you, irrespective of what others do or fail to do. To illustrate finding path to peace, Jesus paid the temple tax despite acknowledging unfair implementation of the tax law. Also, Paul recommended circumcision of Timothy despite a church ruling that circumcision of Gentile believers was not necessary. Other examples include Daniel negotiating a compromise diet of vegetables and water to avoid violating his relationship with God while obedient to King Nebuchadnezzar; and a city clerk in Ephesus that diffused a developing riot instigated by craftsmen concerned about their business shrinking because of growing acceptance of Paul’s message.
This bible study discusses the individual responsibility for peace based on Christ teaching in the Sermon on the Mount and an explanation by Paul in his letter to Romans. Christ message declares God’s promise of blessing and binary classification of people based on performing the individual responsibility for peace: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” [Matthew 5:9]. Further, Apostle Paul explains the individual responsibility for peace by advising every person to seek a path to peace in every situation, focus on aspects that depend on you, irrespective of what others do or fail to do.
Both Christ and Paul also provide examples for finding a path to peace by avoiding battles that do not have to be fought even if they appear justified. Jesus illustrated this strategy for peace by paying the temple tax after acknowledging potential grounds for objection based on unfair implementation of the tax law. He paid the tax “…so that we may not cause offense…” [Matthew 17:27] to avoid potential issues that could distract people from his mission. In his illustration of the peace strategy, Paul recommended circumcision of Timothy (Acts 16:3) despite a church ruling that circumcision of Gentile believers was not necessary. He recommended the circumcision to forestall potential arguments that could distract people from his message.
Additionally, we discuss two examples of finding a path to peace through conflict resolution. One example comes from Daniel, regarding his negotiating a compromise diet to substitute unacceptable diet decreed by King Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 1:8–16). The other example comes from Ephesus, where a city clerk diffused a riot instigated by craftsmen that were opposed to Paul’s message. The craftsmen saw their business of making shrines for idol worship was shrinking because of the growing acceptance of Paul’s message (Acts 19:23–41).
Based on Christ teaching in the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard, we learn that God assigns individual responsibility to every person in every situation. Find your responsibility to understand God’s purpose for you in a given situation. Focus on performing your individual responsibility, irrespective of what others do or fail to do. He judges every person individually, independent of his judgment of other people.
We discuss Christ teaching in the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard, to understand that God assigns individual responsibility to every person in every situation. Also, he judges a person based on their performance of the individual responsibility. Furthermore, his judgment of a person is independent of his judgment of others, irrespective of what others do or fail to do. He rewards each person for performing their individual responsibility and his reward for a person is independent of his reward for others.
Christ teaching in the parable (Matthew 20:1–16) uses a hypothetical event of a landowner hiring several workers for one day’s work in his vineyard. At the core of the teaching is the fact that the landowner expectation of each worker was different depending on the time of day he hired the worker. This fact conveys an aspect of human relationship with God: that God’s expectation of each person in a given event is independent and could differ from his expectation of others. Furthermore, he judges each person individually and independent of what others do or fail to do.
We discuss the parable to understand the message. Also, we discuss a passage from Paul’s letter to the Romans, where he applies the principle to describe the individual responsibility for peace.
The people of Israel chose Saul to be king through election-by-lot. Some people supported the choice, others opposed, while several just accepted. Saul declared for peace and invited the people to unite under his leadership. The events illustrate government is for all irrespective of support for the election result, opposition against, or acceptance without complaint. Samuel assembled the people thereafter to reconfirm Saul as king and celebrate the process of choosing their own ruler.
We conclude a two-part study on the formation of government based on biblical accounts of making Saul first king of Israel. The first part of the study (Call to Rulership—Saul Anointed King) led to understanding that God selects a ruler for a people but also allows them freedom to choose their ruler. In the case of Israel and Saul, the choice of the people aligned with the choice of God. The current study focuses on the people choosing Saul and confirming him king not knowing God selected him prior to the election.
After his anointing, Saul was introduced to the people through an event that presented him as special and placed his name on several minds among the people of Israel. Thereafter, Samuel invited the people to assemble at Mizpah to choose a ruler. They chose Saul through a process of direct democracy. However, though the choice was clear and unambiguous, there was lack of unanimity: some people supported Saul but others did not. Furthermore, some of the people that did not support him expressed strong disappointment with the election result.
Therefore, the outcome of choosing a ruler caused a division among the people. We discuss an event that brought the disagreement to the surface and provided Saul an opportunity to address the division. He declared for peace and invited the people through his deed to unite under his leadership. Thereafter, Samuel assembled them again to install the new king and celebrate the process of choosing their own ruler.
This is the second of a two-part discussion of the Christian basis for and approach to mediation. The first part focused on the city clerk in Ephesus defusing a mob by understanding the facts of their grievance and using the facts to lead them to realize that the gathering was unnecessary and could violate the anti-riot ordinance. We learned from the event that a key aspect of mediation is to assess the facts and use them to guide the disputants to a peaceful understanding. Also, a mediation should identify the available options for ending the dispute and potential consequences of continuing with it.
In this final installment of the discussion, we examine two cases that highlight potential difficulties with assessing the facts and presenting them to the disputants. In a case mediated by Solomon, there was no independent witness to verify conflicting accounts of the facts by the disputants. In contrast, the facts were clearly identified at the outset for the second case; however, the mediator needed special communication strategy to present the facts to the disputant in a way that defined a path to resolution. The cases help illustrate special skills that a mediator may need in searching for an acceptable resolution of a conflict.
You may have at times needed to mediate in a dispute between two parties, calm down a crowd, or help an individual resolve an internal conflict. The bible provides guidance on conducting mediation, through several successful examples. We discuss a few of the examples to understand what they did and from them learn how to prepare for, and the approach to conducting, a mediation.
The first example comes from a city clerk defusing a mob in Ephesus during Paul’s mission with Silas. A large crowd had gathered in the city theater and threatened to riot. The city clerk calmed and dispersed the crowd by explaining the facts in a way to convince them the riot was not necessary. We will also look at King Solomon’s mediation of a dispute between two ladies over a baby and commander Joab helping King David resolve an internal dispute between David the father and David the king. We use these examples to learn the Christian basis for, and approach to, mediation. The study is presented in two sessions. This session focuses on using the Scriptures (e.g., Christ’s teaching on seeking peace and Paul’s letters to the Romans and Galatians) to understand the city clerk’s successful mediation in Ephesus.
We discuss an approach to settling family dispute through unrelenting commitment to peace. The discussion focuses on interactions between Jacob and Esau while Jacob was on his way back to Canaan from Paddan Aram. He sent emissaries to Esau, conveying to him a message of humility, desire for peace, and description of progress that occurred in his life during the previous twenty years.
The bible provides practical guidance on settling family disputes. In this first of a two-part study, we learn about family dispute settlement, roles of the Council of Relatives, and the importance of sharing food, based on interactions between Jacob and Laban during Jacob’s departure from Paddan Aram. When Laban was informed that Jacob left with his household and belongings without telling him, he gathered his relatives and pursued Jacob, caught up with him at Gilead, and confronted him the next day in the presence of their relatives. The interaction that followed illustrates that the best approach to settling a family dispute is to make peace without necessarily digging for the truth, setup mechanisms for preventing future disputes, and invite God to witness and honor the settlement.
Apostle Paul in Galatians 5:22-23 describes the image of God (fruits of the spirit) as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. This list describes how people feel about you when you interact with them or they observe your interactions with other people. Your attitude conveys the image of God if you come across as attentive with an intent to understand other people’s feelings and needs; you are truthful and your statements are based on your best understanding; you don’t suddenly explode into anger; people don’t have to be perfect in interacting with you, because you will reasonably grant them another chance if they make a mistake.