How would you define a social yoke?
A yoke in agriculture is an implement devised to join two or more animals for the purpose of combined strength in pulling or ploughing. This term, when transferred to the human sphere, denotes a combination of persons or parties who join in an association of united aim, action, or anticipated advantage. In such a contract. where individual freedom of choice and conscience is suspended, Scripture forbids the uniting of believer and unbeliever, whether in a religious, commercial, political, matrimonial, or social context (2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1).
Specifically, a social yoke is where persons join together for the improvement of society. These yokes may be for purposes of charity, philanthropy, recreation, or entertainment. Working for an employer cannot be considered such a yoke since the parties are not on an equal basis. The employee supplies the work, the employer the wages. This arrangement in itself does not compromise his Christian principles. Similarly, 1 Corinthians 10:27-31, with caution, allows the believer to accept or extend an invitation to a meal with an unbeliever. However, becoming a member of a sports team, dramatic society; social club, or secret group such as Freemasonry contravenes Scripture. Also, such alliances are spiritually detrimental to those who contract them and, by reason of the compromise with worldliness necessarily involved, do not enhance the effectiveness of gospel testimony.
What should a believer do when others speak against fellow believers ?
Believers often discuss assembly activities and therefore the Christians involved. As always, the fear of God should govern our tongues at such times. Romans 16 shows us the sweetness of Paul’s spirit; his remarks express appreciation for assembly saints and their labors for God. Appreciate God’s grace seen in others (Acts 11:23). “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves” (Phil 2:3).
Malicious conversation against fellow saints, particularly overseers, is unacceptable (Eph 4:30-32). A response upholding these believers may silence such criticism. At the least, you can express your disagreement by silence or a quiet suggestion that we “speak not evil one of another” (James 4:11). In addition, privately express your concern to the offender in an inoffensive way that encourages submission.
Deliberate malice to blemish the character of another believer is very serious. Those speaking against others require shepherd visitation (1 Thessalonians 5:14). Failure to respond to such shepherding invites the extreme, sad discipline of excommunication as a railer (1 Cor 5:11).
How could I add spiritual profit to social gatherings?
If social gatherings of believers are to have spiritual impact, both exercise and discernment will be needed. Right motives are not sufficient. The Perfect Servant knew “how to speak a word in season to him that is weary (Isaiah 50:4). The right word in the right manner and at the right time is critical; therefore, certain things need to be avoided and others pursued. Avoiddemeaning others, trying to correct or impress your audience, or embarrassing someone by putting him on the spot for a response. Many will enjoy a spiritual discussion more if they don’t feel pressured to contribute. Avoid speaking about others.
In our social gatherings, we enjoy friendship: sharing our mutual interests and also sharing ourselves. In fellowship, we share Christ. The Word of God and the person of Christ are the source and subject of our fellowship. Read the Bible together. Make this a regular feature of your time with others so it doesn’t appear strained or contrived. Make the conversation relevant rather than sermonic. Run the risk of exposing your own needs (and thus your weaknesses) by asking for spiritual help. Using personal experiences from work, school, or the community can foster conversation. Underline in everyone’s mind what is scriptural.
How can a believer appropriately turn discussions to some thing more scriptural?
The Word of God has volumes to say about our conversation. It is to be always with grace, seasoned with salt (Colossians 4:6), trustworthy, wholesome, characterized by love, and free of corruption. (Ephesians 4:29-32). The Lord hears our conversation. He can take delight in it, (Malachi 3:16) or be grieved by it (Nurnbers 12:1-10).
Sometimes it is possible to steer a conversation toward profitable subjects by sincere questions. Rather than assuming a superior air or endeavoring to pontificate on his own chosen lines of thought, a believer can ask for the opinion of those he is speaking with. This allows the others to enter into a dialogue without an embarrassing rebuke and follows James’ wise counsel: “Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak” (James 1:19). Our supreme example is our Lord Jesus Who, at the age of twelve, was found in the temple, “sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers.” What marvelous grace that He Who knew all things should, consistent with His age, be asking them questions as well as answering when they inquired!