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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Hit & Run Evangelism

I have started and stalled at least 2 other posts in the past weeks.

I have SO MUCH and NOTHING on my mind and I can't seem to get it together enough to present those thoughts in one coherent, non-offending post.

Just know that going in.

I can't promise this will be non-offending, but it's on my heart.

Nothing spurs a good, passionate blog post for me quite like Facebook.

I hate Facebook.

I love Facebook.

Tonight, I want to address something that is so prevalent. Something that most, if not all, of us have done or do on a regular basis. Myself included, unfortunately.

Why is it that we feel so absolutely free to spew condemnation onto others?

Why do we feel so comfortable tearing others down as we look down on them from our ivory towers?

Do we really think we can bully someone into Heaven?

How many sinners did Jesus back-hand into repentance?

He was stern at times, and forceful at others, but always Just. And I cut Him a great deal of slack since He was the son of God and all. And perfect.

That's the key. He was perfect.

Not like John Q. Public who casts his pearls of wisdom from behind his laptop screen.

Or Susie Q who lashes out with her daggers of scripture from her iPad.

I have a reeeeeeal problem with those kinds of "Christians".

In my opinion, those are the very people that the "lost sinners" avoid. And the very reason "Christians" get labeled with names like Hate Groups and bigots.

You know that saying "Don't judge another man until you've walked a mile in his moccasins"?

I want to scream that from the rooftop.

One especially annoying sentiment in posts I've come across in multiple locations is about marriage.

Marriage is a covenant.

No doubt.

And it is a decision, not a feeling.

Got it.

However, when you post or preach things about marriage vows and referencing divorce in such a way that you cast judgment over those who have been divorced, it can have a really awful effect.

Speaking God's Truth is one thing,

Speaking God's Truth while looking down your nose at your audience is quite another.

How many testimonies are silenced and how many journeys of repentance and healing are smothered by harsh words and rebuke that's given out of line, out of context, and out of relationship?

How many souls are won to God by sanctimonious, self-serving opinions attached to a scripture?

And this isn't just about comments/posts about marriage.

Anything.

Anything that is said with an air of "I'm so glad I'm not committing this heinous sin and you'll surely burn in hell for it" will never win souls. Never.

I don't typically believe in using 'always' or 'never', but in this case, I believe I'm right.

Is divorce wrong?

Absolutely. 100%.

God hates divorce.

The Bible is clear on that. (Malachi 2:16)

But I take this very personally because I have been divorced.

Twice.

And you can imagine how proud I am of that bit of trivia.

For the longest time, I tried to hide that from everyone who didn't know my past.

I was embarrassed.

I felt like I couldn't be taken seriously if people knew I was a divorcee.

Because "good" Christians don't have big sins.

"Good" Christians only sin in ways like saying "damn", watching 'R' rated movies, or not tithing 10%.

"Real" Christians have never had affairs, been divorced, had an abortion, struggled with sexual identity, killed someone, had sex before marriage, stolen something, gotten pregnant outside of marriage, been to prison..."

We draw a line in the sand as to who we think is "good enough" to be invited to Christ's table.

Nowhere is that written in the Word...No...we have taken it upon ourselves to add that in as a footnote.

And just in case someone is daft enough to think they could be accepted into Christ's fold, we make sure they understand what they can and cannot have done to qualify.

We stand up on Sunday with our hands raised in the air, praising God with the very fingers that type status updates and Tweets that make it very clear that WE are in the clear, but woe to you who don't toe the line.

And it makes me sick.

It makes me sick for so many reasons.

One, because I have been there--the one on the receiving end of those barbs-- and two for being the one thinking those same things, all the while polishing my halo.

How many people will we chase away from the Pearly Gates because they don't measure up to the same impossible standards that we ourselves don't measure up to?

How many testimonies will we silence because they are too "damaging" to the cause and could make the rest of us "Christians" look bad?

How many souls are we chaining to hell because we tell them they will never be good enough?

It angers me and I feel my blood pressure rising.

I have so many skeletons in my closet.

So many.

Some I've blogged about and some I still hold tightly to myself.

One of those skeletons that was shoved back in my closet--one I had not told ANYONE in 18 years...I shared with a friend just this past week. I confessed. And do you know how my friend responded?

She loved me anyway.

She didn't cheer and champion my sin. She didn't scowl and tell me how awful I was. Neither did she blow it off like it was no big deal. But she loved me. And she reminded me that I am forgiven.

I promise you if that conversation had gone any other way, I would have started building a wall up between myself and her and myself and God.

And any good that could come of my sin (like ministering to another who has experienced what I have) and the way I have asked for forgiveness (and received it) would have been silenced. Gone.

Instead, I would have been filled with shame. And shame is not a tool of God. Shame is very clearly a tool of satan.

Let's look at Paul in the Bible...Paul was a Christian killer. He spurred on the stoning of Stephen (the first martyr) among many others. He took great pride in his work.

But he also became one of the most (if not the most) prolific champions of the faith. Jesus forgave him. It didn't matter what he had done. He was made new. And it wasn't as if he stopped sinning after he met Jesus on the road to Damascus. He's human. He even admitted in Romans 7:15 that he struggled with doing the exact opposite of what he wanted to and knew he should do. And that was AFTER he became a Christian.

So I am more aware now. Something God has really been working on in me is judgment and how I am so free with it.

2 Corinthians 10:5 says to "take captive every thought" and make it "obedient to Christ."

I'm exhausted at the end of the day at the thoughts that run amok. The thoughts of how fat that girl is or how ugly that guy is...what a bad mom she is and what a rude guy he is...

Yes. It's a cancer.

So I am inviting you to take captive every thought. I encourage you to think before you speak, especially when it comes to speaking about sin. As I will.

None of us are good enough. Nor will we ever be. We have only one thing to boast about.

1 Corinthians 1:31: "Therefore, as the Scriptures say, 'If you want to boast, boast only about the LORD.'"

Let's not be the ones who kick the guy trying to limp over the finish line.


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