How the rest of the world observes Christians? When they read a blog post about Bible versions, dresses vs. pants, elders or congregational rule, modesty, movies, or the flaws in different ministries, do they go, “Wow… ” and if so, why?
Do they see hearts so in love with the Lord that we want to please Him with all of our being… or do they see people who miss the essence of what– or rather Whom– they claim to believe?
I bet this seems kind of odd after my recent “Dear Young Person” rant. After all, I was pretty harsh. I know I was. Sometimes, you have to “turn over the moneychanger tables” and other times you have to back off and remind a brother to “go and sin no more.” Christians have a horrible reputation of “shooting their own”. “Friendly fire” is common in churches and Christian circles. The sad thing is, because of that, true sin is often overlooked, excused, or practically encouraged under the guise of “love”. It isn’t loving to watch someone drink poison. It isn’t loving to let someone destroy themselves.
Do you remember when you were a kid? Maybe it was the time you started to lie about who broke Mom’s vase and then ‘fessed up. Mom said, “I’m just glad you told me the truth. I’ll clean it up. Just be careful on your way to the kitchen.” You deserved some kind of consequence and all you got was forgiveness. Why? Because Mom saw that you were penitent and that you chose not to compound an accident with a wrong. That’s what Christians should do when their brother sins against them. It’s the right thing to do.
If the sister is in continual sin, it does her no good for you to pretend like it’s all ok, or worse, justify it. “I know you just trashed your husband’s reputation all over Facebook, but he really did blow it and you were just venting.” Gulp.
Sometimes I wonder what would happen, if Christians quit trying to live up to a set of rules and started just immersing themselves in the Bible. I mean really FEED on it. Make it such a part of our lives that we feel hungry– starving even– without it. And then… just because I like to be radical… live it. Not rules, not regulations, not a check list of ‘to-dos’, not even a “WWJD” kind of Charles Sheldonesque thing… Just that when you’re ready to fire off a stinging reply to someone who unjustly blasts you, instead you remember to “see that no one repays another with evil for evil , but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people.” You don’t do it because it’s another “godly discipline” but rather from an outflow of what you’ve been infusing into your heart. In other words, you got slapped on one cheek and instead of raising your hand to retaliate, you opted not to (which leaves you open to further attack hence, the other cheek thing).
- Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord;
Abide in Him always, and feed on His Word.
Make friends of God’s children, help those who are weak,
Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.
- Take time to be holy, the world rushes on;
Spend much time in secret, with Jesus alone.
By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be;
Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.
- Take time to be holy, let Him be thy Guide;
And run not before Him, whatever betide.
In joy or in sorrow, still follow the Lord,
And, looking to Jesus, still trust in His Word.
- Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul,
Each thought and each motive beneath His control.
Thus led by His Spirit to fountains of love,
Thou soon shalt be fitted for service above.