“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever is alive shall be free from the burden of sin and guilt for the sake of Love, Peace and Joy.” What a beautiful passage of scripture found in the book of, um… well, if it’s not in the Bible, it should be, because Christ was all about love, and he’d never want anyone to feel any pain or guilt about the sin in their lives, right? He suffered and died a brutal death so that everyone can live like heaven or hell, it doesn’t really matter because his main focus was to bring peace at all costs, right? He gave his life as a ransom so that we didn’t have to have such difficult conversations as to what is and is not sin, right? He spilled his blood so that people everywhere, wouldn’t feel condemned about anything, right?
“Therefore, go into all the nations and let them know just how horrible they are, bringing conviction to their damned-to-hell souls, for this is God’s loving plan for these despicable dogs, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, but only if they’ve raised their hands, walked down to the alter, or have recited the sinners prayer.” Another great passage of scripture not found in the bible. After all, we’re called to enter into endless debates with the world as to how worldly it is, right? It’s the responsibility of God’s people to to make sure that the Holy Spirit is doing his job in bringing conviction, and filling in for him when He may be on a coffee break, right? It’s our job to clearly make sure the whole world hates us, because after all Jesus said they would, right?
Why does it seem so hard for the community of Christ to find a proper balance of the teachings of Jesus. Lately it looks like many Christ followers land on an extreme, inaccurate view of the truth. I’ve read many posts, blogs and articles in recent days particularly speaking to the Dynasty Destiny, leaving me saddened and shaking my head; and I’m talking about those written & posted by well meaning Christians. Anytime a hot topic enters the mainstream media, (whether it be homosexuality, the legalization of marijuana, or tolerance in general) the christian community goes berserk, emotionally spewing their not-so well conceived ideas as to what the correct “Christian” response should be. All the while, the world sits back and watches the show of religious mayhem being played out before their eyes.
Have you ever seen one of those life-interrupting, BREAKING NEWS car chases? We all know there is no more important news story than some idiot attempting to evade police on a high speed pursuit. I don’t know about you, but I’m glued to my TV when one comes on. In my circle of friends, we will all text and alert one another of such news. I wish there were a downloadable phone app to alert me. Why in the world would news stations broadcast such nonsense on local television? Because like me, apparently many, many others can’t live without them. The excitement, the adrenaline, the controversy. Not a complete parallel, but similarly when a Phil Robertson interview makes BREAKING NEWS, or the interview with the CEO of Chick-Fil-A becomes BREAKING NEWS, people (especially the Christian community) become emotionally invested and consumed in conversations that perpetuate ignorance, mocks biblical truth, and cheapens Christ’s grace.
Much of the ignorance stems from the various forms of tradition and practices of today’s church. Many church goers no longer know how to think for themselves, not allowing their hearts and minds be led by the Holy Spirit, because they have been given colored lenses to see the world through, which lends itself to a potential unhealthy reality from its roots. A simple example of this would be the way the traditional church sees “worship”. Most would understand it to be event that happens every Sunday in preparation of the main event… the preaching of God’s word. (Though most wouldn’t phrase it in this way). I would dare challenge anyone to show me various places where this is the form and purpose of worship, instead of it being ones (or a group’s) expression of their salvation story being lived out, through music (praise), conversation, acts of service, and as Rom. 12 phrases it, “offering your bodies as a living sacrifice”. There are many, many more examples, but I will let the Holy Spirit awaken more imaginative awareness to you heart and mind.
We mock Biblical truth, and ultimately the Holy Spirit, when we attempt to “pick up where he left off”. I believe we too often assume the role of the Holy Spirit with other Christians and/or those those who don’t even hold to any of the same beliefs. We can find ourselves spending endless hours trying to convince the world that they act worldly. Wow, how profound we are. Seems to me to be a poor use of time. I’m in no way advocating avoiding difficult conversations about sin and death, but instead embracing them and entrust those conversation to the leading of the Holy Spirit. If I walk into a public arena and proceed to inform everyone that they’re all sinners, even pointing out their specific sin; first, do you think I’m stating anything they don’t know; and even if they don’t know it and are in denial or blind to it, do you think the response will be a favorable one (or does it not matter, because you’re simply called to proclaim truth). How ignorant… Secondly, how much more “Christlike” would it be to get personal with whoever the Spirit is leading you to, and begin a personal conversation getting to know who they are (as opposed to simply identifying “what” they are), and actually spend time loving them. Eh, that’s too much work, imagine if I actually had a genuine, respectful conversation with all those I encounter. I don’t want to be THAT Christlike. It’s much easier to just vomit biblical wisdom in the face of lost sinners.
On the contrary, we cheapen grace when we attempt to love without the leading of the Holy Spirit. Just because some Christians lack a spiritual pyloric sphincter, vomiting without regulation, doesn’t mean we should jump the fence and almost advocate for those being vomited on. Yes, it seems like some strong retribution should be made to these poor innocent sinners on behalf of our disgusting “brothers & sister”. And just because I may be completely offended and embarrassed by my fellow “Christian” for their vomit problems, doesn’t mean I should begin making excuses for all or any sin, even advocating on their behalf. Similar to the one with the sphincter issues, throwing mass pronouncement of sin; compromise should not be made with pardons being handed out like candy. Instead, lets also begin personal & truthfully loving conversations, getting to know who these individuals are and spend time loving them (also, as opposed to simply focusing on “what” they are labeled as).
We cannot be a community of Clanging Symbols, but nor do we have the freedom to compromise; The greatest of these is LOVE, yet sin is still sin.
So, again, it’s a matter of submitting to the Holy Spirit, ensuring we “live a life of Love worthy of the Truth to which we have been called”. This is in reference to the Apostle Paul’s language in Ephesians 4. The word translated “worthy” is AXIOM meaning “in balance” with, likened to the center mechanism of a seesaw. Lets seek truth (which will keep us balanced) and speak it in love.