In my quiet time this morning, my mind began to drift off to a situation that happened not so long ago that has profoundly affected how I view religion and the opposition to Christianity.
I was in a local church where there was a disagreement. This could relate to just about any church we deal with these days, but in particular this situation was directly involving me.
I young lady came to me in confidence that she was having a problem with some other members and certain attitudes within the church. Again, this is not something that’s uncommon when we deal with religion. My advice to this lady was to pray about her situation and in return I would help her pray about it. I told her that she should pray for God to give her patience and understanding with her problem.
In the course of about a week, this young lady decided to confide this same information to another person within the church who was obviously not on the same page. To make a long story short, there was a confrontation that drove a family away from God’s house and cost me their friendship because I knew the facts that had been revealed due to my personal association with the one who blew the whistle.
The situation in general is not the point of this posting at all. People leave churches every day for similar reasons. Some people will be glad to see certain people leave churches and in other situations people are heartbroken to see any of God’s children sent out from the place of refuge. There are always two sides to every story and both should always be considered in every setting.
It was very tense over the course of the next few weeks and I think people just wanted to put the situation directly behind them and not worry about it. The family found a new church and appear to be thriving in that congregation.
I think back on this and I wonder if I handled myself in the correct way. I think a lot of times we tend to remain silent in the face of confrontation just to keep our own statuses regardless of who it hurts. Then in return, people get hurt at us for not doing what we know was really the right thing to do and I failed.
I believe fully that Christians need to find a common ground instead of having so much disagreement. In my many years of being in different congregations, I have always seen at least one person wounded or have been one personally. If you think there are not enemies made directly within the house of God then you’re quite wrong.
However, God offers us a solution that can apply to every disturbing battle we find ourselves fighting. Matthew 5:44 says we should love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. Wow. You mean God didn’t promise we would never have enemies in life?
So daily you might find yourself praying about something you’ve done or something someone else has done to you and to which you feel you’ve had no avail. Why do we hang onto what doesn’t serve us anymore?
I think back to that situation in that church and how after a few weeks, a certain person came to me to break some news. I was told that a member of this family who had left our flock had a hospitalization just days after confrontation. This person in a very smug manner began to paint a picture of God’s wrath and trying to link it to the ailment.
That’s right people — You better not make a mistake or you’re gonna end up in the hospital as an example of God punishing you for your “would be” sin.
Shame on anyone who thinks that way and shame on anyone who thinks in such a way that people will get what’s coming to them. Religion is the attitude that will take you into that sort of thinking and divert you from what you really need to be doing and that is showing grace.
I pray that God never allows my heart to grow so proud that I would ever say of anyone that he or she deserved what they got because of what they did, whether it be to me or someone else.
The last time I read the story, I believe Jesus is the one who died to take care of the times in life when we mess up and fall short.
So you might be asking — What is the point here?
We are all called to show the same love that God has shown us. If you want to talk about people deserving what they have coming to them, then you need to take a quick look in the mirror and ask if you deserve death for your sin — or has that sin been forgiven by an ever present and loving savior?
People, we are missing so many things in the bible that God has commanded us to do, yet we don’t do it.
The only thing that will ever remain the same in your life is the love that God has for you. Take that love and apply it to your life and when your cup is full and running over, pay it forward.
There is much to be learned about sitting at the foot of the cross and being covered by the blood of the most selfless man who ever walked this earth. If you think hard enough about it, in essence, everything you do is really about something else — this is really about that. It’s application can be placed on the most simple of things.
God, show us how to love one another as you have loved us. We are imperfect creatures who are made perfect through grace and forgiveness.