Sunday, April 26, 2009

This probably won't make much sense...

So many thoughts have been going through my head and heart since I wrote the previous entry. I want to put this into practice. Making a way for those who struggle or have even fallen away to reconnect. But even since I wrote it, I too have struggled. Not with God, but with how to put something together. I so want people to stay connected and yet so many have fallen away, or don’t know where they belong, or are just plain frustrated with the “church” today. I even worry that they won’t trust my intentions, or me. A friend of mine told me that she is not even sure she believes in God. That made me mad. Not at her, but at us, believers. Here’s the thing - We were never meant to do it on our own. We were not created to be separate, but to be together. It was never supposed to be about a building or a place of worship. However, today we have turned Christianity into a religion, a set of rules. And we have made the church about a building, about how well a pastor can speak, about children’s ministry, about what “we” have to offer. And when the “stuff” fails us or the people fail us, we decide it isn’t worth it. Many even decide to no longer fellowship with other believers. Some turn away from God, deciding he cannot be that real. That’s not ok! Especially when most of the reasons for not fellowshipping any longer stems from something a person, human and not perfect, did. I have yet to hear that it was God who embezzled; God who cheated; God who manipulated; God who brainwashed; God who…fill in your reason here.
This is not to say people haven’t been hurt. This is not to say that people don’t ever have a legitimate reason to be angry. It’s just that, isn’t God worth more than that? Isn’t my reason for loving Him simply because He first loved me? I’m not trying to get preachy here. But lets just get down to it for a minute. My whole relationship with Christ is supposed to be about me loving Him. And in return for loving Him, I will then love others. In loving others, I will forgive, I will serve, I will pray and I will do all I can to become more like Christ. That is, after all, what Christian means – “little Christ.” Does that mean we simply ignore what some people have done? Does it mean we don’t tell others that a certain pastor or congregation or gathering is wrong? I don’t have an answer that everyone will like or agree with. As you read what Jesus did, there certainly were times he pointed out what the Pharisees did wrong. But that same man LOVED the one who would turn him over to the people who would crucify him! That same man washed the disciples feet while THEY argued over who was best. That same man had the ability to call down 10,000 angels to come take him back home (those angles by the way were WAITING to rescue him!). That same man asked God to forgive those who nailed him to the cross. And that same man chose God’s will over his own. That same man died for me, for you, for all of us. Why? Because he loved us seems so cliché. We’ve said it so many times that it has apparently lost its meaning. So why did he? How about a different question. Why should we STILL believe in Him? Why should we STILL obey His commands? Because He brings freedom. He brings peace. He brings joy. He brings life. But these things come at a cost. A cost that REQUIRES that I do not respond the way the world does. A cost that DEMANDS I forgive. A cost that says love your enemies. A cost that says regardless of what happens to me, I will still love the Lord, I will still follow Him, I will still look to him for all the answers because he truly is all I need.
It is not easy. It will hurt. It will require faith beyond what we know. It will not make sense. It will challenge everything we know and when we learn that, it will challenge us again. So, how do I explain this in such a way that people hear what my heart so wants to convey? Because sometimes I know what I say does not come out the way I want it to. Sometimes what I want people to understand sounds like I am preaching, and sometimes it even sounds as if I am saying to people that what they went through is no big deal and that they should get over it. But I am not. I just want people to love Jesus. I just want people to understand what my heart feels, what my mind senses. Only, I don’t always explain it well. And even as I type this and think maybe this makes sense (if only a little bit), I still know it won’t come across the way I want it to and I’m even wondering if it makes any sense at all. So why bother? I hear about people (believers) being suicidal, not fellowshipping, not believing, slandering, harboring unforgiveness, gossiping, being so angry they would like to see people fail and so much more. That is not how Jesus was. It is not how we are supposed to be either. But we are human, sinful and we will mess up. I am not asking for people to be perfect. But I am asking that we start being more like Jesus. Then maybe, just maybe we will be, …be, well, maybe be is the wrong word. Ok… then, maybe we will do what Jesus did.

1 comment:

Steve Orris said...

Awesome stuff. I used to be very involved in church. A pastor did something very wrong to me and hurt my reputation. I didn't do anything wrong but I was asked to leave. It hurt a lot. But God didn't do that to me. Then again, maybe He did.

A W Tozer said something like, "It is doubtful whether God can bless a man greatly until He has hurt him deeply." There are times God uses a refining fire to cleanse us. Until we are a perfect reflection of Jesus God will always be working on us. Are we willing to let Him?

I would never recommend not reading the Bible, but after you spend time there, read the Chronicles of Narnia. Yes the movies are great but read the books. As I was reading the one called The Horse and His Boy it started a little slow. The climax brings it all together. And just like real life, we will never understand it all until the end.

We are like clay in the hands of the Potter. We are the gold that needs refined in the fire. Life hurts. Jesus told us we will have trials. Did we not believe Him? Yet, if we have given Him our lives, why do we still want to control them as though we are in charge? Faith. Small word. Big implications. Without faith it is impossible to please God. Even if you lose faith in sinful man, never lose faith in God. Life may get hard. But remember Job. "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord."