I ran across this article written by another blogger yesterday. I thought it was a very important and timely piece to run.
He has given us his permission to run this article so here it is:
Caught In The Middle!
“I was checking out some blogs (as is my usual custom during my sparse amount of free time) and I noticed something that caught my eye. I was visiting a specific Christian commentary site that at one time had been listed here. I check it out periodically to see what all they’re saying.
I saw one of the contributors criticizing another believer for his particular use of words, his desire to reach out to nonbelievers, and quite frankly what they were saying wasn’t very kind. What I read from people who claimed to be fellow believers was some of the most biting, condescending, seemingly hate-filled words to another believer. Another believer!
Needless to say my curiosity was piqued, so I visited the posted link to this “heretic’s” blog site. I simply wanted to see what all the commotion was about. I was very surpised that what I read actually fell pretty much in line with my own understanding of Scripture. I, too, have been frustrated at the American church for quite some time.
I’m tired of seeing people who have claimed to know the Lord Jesus act in ways that would make Him weep. Some folks are so quick to jump all over someone. It’s as though they are looking for someone to point out as a “heretic” so they can make a big deal. I’ve seen people do this in churches I’ve served over the past 15 years. I can remember those that couldn’t wait to jump all over me to “put me in my place.” I remember seeing these same people act similarly to the Pastor of my church.
I’ve seen people who, in the name of Jesus, destroy a man’s life simply to prove their own point of being correct about a situation, or to “prove” their own theological slant. I’ve seen ministries ruined, churches split, and lives turned upside down all so someone could feel vindicated or prove themself.
Now let’s take the flip side.
There are a lot of weirdos out there. On the other side of things, I’ve seen people who talk so much about loving and following Jesus–who are so in love with their own opinions–that they absolutely and completely compromise the Gospel. For whatever reason, they have tried so hard to fit in with nonbelievers that they have forgotten their First Love.
Yes, I have referenced the pastor(s) who think that by inhaling smoke from burning dead plants, or drinking liquor so toxic you could fuel a small, third-world country for a year, or using swear words so filthy that even most sailors would freak out—that they’re ACTUALLY doing something productive in the Kingdom. Uhhh. No.
I have even been sickened of my own church (at times) when we seem to solely focus on the “cool factor” and forget about the Message of Jesus Christ.
So I get it. I’m angry. I’m frustrated. I’m tired.
“Listen to me. I’m right. They’re heretics and will burn in Hell. There’s no other version of the Bible except for King James. That’s what Jesus spoke, and I won’t listen or read anything else. If you do, you’ll burn in Hell.”
“Listen to me. I’m cool. Look at all my cool crap. I’m hip. I’m with it. Those other people are just freaks. Hey bro, gotta light? Can you pass the jack daniels my way with the only version of Scripture that I read…The Message? My throat’s a little dry.”
All I can say is that I’m tired of being caught in the middle of those two groups of people. (Yes I know they were caricatures, but please understand my point here.)
The First Group
I’m tired of one group of people so bent and determined to convert everyone to their own slant of doctrine (however obscure some may be) that they forget about sharing the Message of Jesus Christ. They spend more time trying to point out the errors of everyone else to prove that what they are saying is credible. From what I’ve seen on these blogs, they appear to be bullies. Angry at everyone and everything. Notice I did NOT say that is the way they were, only that it appears that way.
After I finish reading the various comments I find myself asking, “I wonder what they would think of me. Would they like me? What would they say to me? Am I wrong? Am I right? Would anyone of these folks spend time with me of their own accord? Would they befriend me? Is this what Jesus is like?”
I’m sorry, but I wish you could sense my emotion and passion about this particular group of folks. I love them. They are my brothers and my sisters, and I see an appearance of hatefulness. (As I write this I am weeping). I don’t know that any person would love me first until they knew my particular philosophical or theological slant. The point is this: I just don’t know.
I’ve been hurt deeply by people who claim to love Jesus. They say they know Him and have experienced His grace and His mercy. They have come in contact with His holiness and have been challenged to be more like Him. Yet, I see such anger and venom against anyone who does not see it their way. Is the love of God in them? (Please see I John for the answer).
Talk all you want. Your actions will prove everything to a world dying who just needs Jesus.
The Second Group
The second group of folks really make me want to vomit on myself and on everything. I get so tired of folks who ruin the Name of Christ to be “with it” in the eyes of people who have never come to Christ. They do become like the church of Laodicea who was so in love with their crap that they were ineffective for the Kingdom.
I’ve spent time with guys who were so compromised that they fell into the exact same sinful behavior they were trying to help save others from. It’s so easy to do too. We get so caught up in the “show” that the church has become just like Hollywood on any given weekend. They focus on looking good and acting the part instead of being the person God is trying to shape them into.
Perhaps I’m going insane here, but I just find it hard to believe that you can win someone to Jesus with a joint hanging from your lips, and a glass of Zima in your hand. I know it may be hard to believe, but you can be “relevant” to folks by simply being there. Spending time with them. Being like Jesus. Being ready to share the hope you have. I should know I’ve done it all my life. It can be done, and yes without toking up with ‘em.
Remember Jesus spent time around the sinners, prostitutes, and the tax collectors. But, they either did one of two things: They left their crap and followed Jesus OR Jesus moved on. Jesus helped people change. He didn’t join in with them in their sin. He spent time around them and loved them. But if they didn’t change, He moved on.
He also was very quick to point out sin when it was present. He didn’t compromise to fit in NOR did He publically condemn people. He corrected people. He pointed out their errors. Lovingly showed them the correct way…especially those who did not know any better (and, yes, those people are VERY different from the folks he jumped all over when He cleared the temple). Remember he dealt very differently with those who did not know better (who were lost and without a shepherd) and those who did know better (the ones in the temple, the religious leaders, the Pharisees).
I don’t know about you. The world needs to hear less of my opinion, and see more of Jesus. Let us press on to know Him, become like Him, and show Him to everyone, everywhere. Talk to me until you’re blue in the face, but this is not an option for a believer. You cannot justify either one of the two groups above. We need to see more Jesus and hear less of your mouth.
So what do we do? Do we hide in a closet and never come out to see the light of day ever again? Do we ignore blatant sin or do we point it out? And if we point it out, how do we do so? Hmmm. It’s pretty interesting what Scripture has to say about things like this. I’ll post some of these passages that helps answer this question in my next post.
This post was simply to express my frustration with my “family.” I’m tired of being caught in the middle of this “issue” in my church. From what I read in Scripture (no I do not read “The Message” for your information) this is not how we are to behave towards others or towards people who do not know Jesus yet.
All I know is the very last thing Jesus shared with His disciples the night before He was crucified was this:
“When he had gone out, Jesus said, ‘Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once. Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come.’ A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.’” John 13:31-35 ESV
When do we quit pointing our fingers and start reaching people with the life changing message of Jesus Christ?”
—-written by The Phix—-