When God says go then that’s what I do. Whether it’s audibly or in text. That’s what happened with this blog post, this very morning. And in God like fashion as always, it’s in no way what I had intended to post about when I decided last week to wake this thing up.
I do not consider myself a “writer” but I do feel that sometimes ideas/thoughts/words are meant to be shared with others when the posture of our hearts are in the right place. Yet, I feel some of us, the right speakers/typers, clam up far more than we share. I think that’s one part fear & one part due to the inevitable backlash from the “misunderstanders”.
I spoke last week to my women’s Bible group & made a statement that I meant, but never really understood how impactful until I said it aloud, to an actual group of listeners. What I said was that things changed for me the minute I totally stopped measuring myself against what people thought; totally stopped caring about the judgmental standard of man & started to solely care only about what God thinks & how I measure up against His expectations. That is THE game changer! So before I type what He led me to literally jump up off the couch, grab a pen & 7 ripped up sheets of scrap paper, and write these next words, I wanted to share something Sarah Bessey Tweeted several months ago. I look at it often & I hope those others, the speakers, the writers, whether bloggers or deeper, will remember the importance of its words; enjoy the rest of the post.
I have recently become increasingly more & more exhausted over the American Christian & the claims that people make regarding their “persecution”. I won’t get into the depth of actual persecution of Christians happening as we speak in the world, but I’d like to address something that people need to understand when they claim “persecution” instead of calling it what it really might be. I totally understand that there are plenty of people being isolated, fired, gossiped about, estranged in families, because of their belief in Christ. I understand the depth of the grief when so many have found that on fire joy for Jesus, only to have it jerked out from under you by people who think you’ve been brainwashed into a cult; get that part, however I am not talking to that situation. There’s a WHOLE ‘nother group of people who lay claim to this abuse & this is where the issue lies.
If you find yourself thinking or saying, “people don’t like me because I love Jesus” please rethink this & ask yourself, “do people not like me because I love Jesus OR do people not like me because I twist God’s word to fit my agenda VS actually living & loving like Jesus commanded? In layman’s southern girl terms, “am I sweeping my own porch before trying to sweep everyone else’s?”
We ALL, even the non believers, ALL know what the scriptures say when it comes to reminding others of how they should live/love/act/worship/obey/serve….. BUT the numbers of self proclaimed Believers are very few, when those who claim Christ, actually completely & rawly surrender their entire lives to the standards in God’s word they remind everyone else of, consistently & exhaustingly. For some reason, when it comes to actually DOING what Jesus said, that becomes “someone else’s calling” ’cause God knows my heart, God knows I’m tired, God knows I am not good at “that”, God knows those people make me uncomfortable, sound familiar? I am sure many of you have heard someone, even yourself, excuse yourself out of scripture & what God says you ARE supposed to do.
It feels to me, especially in this diseased era of social interaction, that the only things the American Christian wants to get behind is controversy. Everyone has become an internet activist, while NEVER backing up these new found passionate beliefs any farther than a post/repost. I feel like the modern Christian only takes these following things verbatim anymore, this is what the world views as THE CHURCH:
- Don’t be gay: The never ending stone throw to the gay community while stating “It’s not that I don’t like em, just don’t bring that gay stuff around me. I mean God knows my heart, he knows I’m afraid they’re ruining my country”
- Don’t get an abortion: The church needs to take a stand against abortion. YET, few few churches embrace the young teenage girl who sits on a pew alone & pregnant because she chose to not abort. Where’s the ministry that educates & goes out into the community to wrap their arms around those lost girls? Cause trust me, they are not the ones in your VBS & Awana. THEY.ARE.THE.LOST. Ask my dear friend at Solve Maternity Home in Bradenton FL
- Don’t drink or do drugs: yet being so uncomfortable & so untrustworthy of these people in your community that barely any of the churches have an outreach to the local jail or the rehab centers & hide your purse if one of “those” stumbles into church smelling like beer & stale cigarettes
- Don’t be any other denomination except ours; we’re right: I could go on all day about this, but to ANY church body that gossips about the way another church worships or serves; those who raise their hands in praise or have spiritual gifts that make you feel weird you call wrong …SHAME ON YOU! If people are not free to praise Jesus in FREEDOM in your presence, you had better fall on your knees & repent like yesterday. Just because it’s not your thing, you need never to run down the Spirit’s touch on another believer. You should be wondering why you aren’t that surrendered
- Don’t be any other political affiliation outside Tea Party/Republican: Because I guess we’ve adopted an idea that all Christians should be one party & anything or anyone outside these lines are well, supporting Satan. Please for the love of the Lord Jesus stop it. You cannot in one breath proclaim to be drenched in the love of Jesus & in the same 5 minutes, post something or say something so hate filled, so ugly, that it makes your other bros & sisters in Christ, who don’t vote like you, feel shunned & look at you like you’ve lost your mind. Cause didn’t you JUST post up or mention about praying for your enemies & stuff, now you’re mad & raging & reposting articles that are half the time even factual. Now arguments start & pot stirring begins…. because that’s super Jesusy right?
The word of God was meant to be taken l.i.t.e.r.a.l.l.y. by those who have ACCEPTED & BELIEVE Jesus Christ. Please understand. Lean in & bend your ear, people who do not know Jesus, who are confused, who are lost, DO NOT get nor care about your loud freaking voice against their lifestyle. They’d actually like some love. Imagine that. Since it’s just about all that Jesus spoke about.
If you truly truly believe God’s word to be true, all of it, and if you believe in discipling the lost world through friendship, then the next time you get ready to fire out your electronic or verbal stones, read 1 Corinthians 9-13 & apply it. And because I am a giver I will be glad to post that scripture for you, just so I know that you’ve read it now at least once & can’t say you’ve never seen it:
From our old pal in Christ, Paul, bold emphasis mine:
“When I wrote to you before, I told you not to associate with people who indulge in sexual sin. But I wasn’t talking about unbelievers who indulge in sexual sin, or are greedy, or cheat people, or worship idols. You would have to leave this world to avoid people like that. I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer, yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people. Don’t even eat with such people.
It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning. God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, “You must remove the evil person from among you.”
Say what? Paul who refers to himself over & over & over in the New Testament that he pretty much penned in its entirety, as a slave to Jesus, says it’s NOT his place to judge those outside the church? Well, well church guess what? If it’s good enough for the apostle then what are people doing? If believers took everything in Matthew Chapters 5-7, every thing that Jesus said in THE Sermon and applied those things that he preached to just their individual life; look at what would change. You see Christ’s guideline for believers is not just clear- It’s defined, laid out, discerned. Clear as crystal, believers. This is what HE said & every word HE meant. He was not addressing the non believer, He was addressing those who say they follow Him. Once we all as a church realize we are ALL called to “eat at the table” with those the world claims as the least, you’ll see God take back His rightful place as the head of the churches all over this country. You’ll see the shift.
You may think your job is to post crafty FB & Twitter updates or articles that show other’s ugliness. Or list verse after verse after verse that cover the hot topic sins. I mean isn’t it proving how good you’re being at portraying an obedient little faithful God fearing servant, measured on showing how rotten everyone else is? Show me that verse please. What’s happening when people self diagnose themselves as ambassadors for this behavior, shows those around you a twinge of hate. A dab of anger. But see, like the Pharisee, the Sadducee, there’s blindness. The groups in the Bible that Jesus found the core of intolerance with; the hypocrite, the legalist, this is what His church has turned into….all the while claiming this acting & reacting is what God says to do. Well, flip back to Matthew & flip back to the verse above. THE WORLD is not YOURS to JUDGE.
The world needs believers who take the 1st 2 commandments & base their entire being on them. Most however, absolutely have no idea how. And most do not care to truly learn. This is why the Christian home is falling apart. The Christian home is enslaved to divorce, adultery, depression addiction, child neglect, selfish children, idols cast towards materialism, worry, anxiety, low self esteem, selfishness…..I mean look, if I didn’t have Christ & maybe I wanted to find about Him, I would NOT want the Jesus y’all claim to have. Your lives are a wreck….where’s your Jesus? But hey, you’re gay & you’re getting an abortion & you’re voting Democrat, so YOU’RE the problem, you lost sinner who’s destroying the world! -_- Reread that & simmer in it. When the average Christian home blends completely in with any other home in the U.S. y’all best get up & have a come back to Jesus meeting. It’s not the world destroying the church. The church is destroying the church. The church as a whole is not going out to be the salt & the light, the hands & the feet. Just because your church does a fundraiser for “the poor” during Christmas & Easter, does not make you a missional church.
Christians cannot love these neighbors & take hold of the 2nd commandment because most have no idea how to love themselves. Not one thing about themselves. Ok maybe you like your hair or your smile, but when I see what other people post about themselves or say about themselves, it breaks my heart for how God must feel because He designed you. To be honest if I am your “neighbor” & some of you are called to love me as yourself, y’all can go on ahead & pass me over please & thank you. I don’t wanna be loved like that. Nor does anyone else who you’re called to care about. The church has got to pull it together with this stuff. Cliques, pride, gossip, scale covered eyes, glitz, glamour, self seeking behavior….it’s ALL taken up residency inside the American church & its ministries & you’re crazy if you convince yourself otherwise. The church says it “believes”, the non believing world says “it doesn’t” & for thousands of churches, those 2 statements are the only distinction between the believers & the non. Even scripture addresses this:
My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people over others? For example, suppose someone comes into your meeting dressed in fancy clothes and expensive jewelry, and another comes in who is poor and dressed in dirty clothes. If you give special attention and a good seat to the rich person, but you say to the poor one, “You can stand over there, or else sit on the floor”—well, doesn’t this discrimination show that your judgments are guided by evil motives?
Yes indeed, it is good when you obey the royal law as found in the Scriptures: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you favor some people over others, you are committing a sin. You are guilty of breaking the law. For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws
You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?
One thing I’ve learned over the past 4 1/2 years- when my eyes are on Jesus, when my feet are planted on the narrow path, when I realize God has called me to love people & build friendships with everyone, then I know I never ever have to worry about compromising my beliefs. You see I hear constantly, “how can you be friends with so & so, while standing on your belief?” “how do you not feel as if you’re condoning someone’s sin?” You see when you’re obedient to God & His spirit & His love rules over & through you, you don’t give it a 2nd thought. I don’t owe anyone in the church any explanation for having all of our gay friends over for dinner. I don’t owe anyone in the church an explanation of why I loved having those crack addicts in the homeless community sit right next to our family every Sunday in church. I don’t owe any American an explanation when I post up sponsorship info about the starving, oppressed kids in the world, I am trying to help save. When you FEAR loving people for ANY reason, you’ve allowed Satan to whisper lies into your ears & you’ve adopted those lies as truth. It’s hardened the church & people in our communities are suffering. This was not & is not God’s plan or purpose. He did not send His son to die for the church to turn their face to what is going on in every rural town, all the way to the largest city.
When you serve for the feeling it gives YOU. When you serve because you can’t wait to post up & advertise what a giver you are. When you serve because you think you’ll be recognized by people who do the slow clap & head nod for you….. you’ve missed it. When it’s more comfy to write a check instead of physically reaching out…you’ve missed it. Sacrifice is just that. It isn’t inside a comfort zone. It costs something. It cost God a lot, it cost Jesus everything.
If your church groups are hosting the same people, saving the saved, same faces, same food events….and you aren’t seeing growth & change except when the lifelong members kids, kids, kids, have kids, then y’all need to take a seat & figure out what’s going on. If there’s virtually no year round community servicing, somebody better start praying & assembling teams. God doesn’t grow for His kingdom, where His will isn’t present. No one should ever feel out of place in your church because of their clothes or bank accounts or pasts.
I challenge you to comb the Bible…for time purposes, just comb & research the New Testament for how many times the word LOVE is mentioned & commanded. Whether you use Young’s Literal translation, KJV, The Message or you parallel with Strong’s Concordance, research LOVE, whether agape or phileo for those deep in the Greek/Hebrew. And once you realize what God means by love. Why it’s the 2 most important commandments. Why it’s pounded into every book in the NT, then examine yourself and ask God why is it that He calls us believers to such a standard of love & inside yourself you have so much fear, resistance, prejudice, & disgust against so many people & people groups….and ask yourself, “where is Jesus in that?”