As a pastor I deal with lots of diverse personalities, backgrounds and perspectives on Christian life. I hear various and widely polarized views of God, politics and the role of the church in our modern culture. I’ve seen painful issues blow up from minor misunderstandings to a church split, based on a single personal offense.
It’s tragic when we allow ourselves to be manipulated, nudged into fueling turmoil and rumors without all the facts.
We forget of our mortal enemy and his mastery of getting us to think the worst of the other. Subtle demonic encouragement that urges us to assume ill intent from a fellow brother or sister.
We can easily get caught in a ‘knee-jerk’ rush to judgement and say things that we regret.
Let’s be careful to recognize the unrestrained flood of emotion that can ‘mysteriously’ show up in our days.
It clouds minds and hearts and overshadows all the good and true things of our Christian communities. In those dark moments, very few of us have all of our facts sorted out and lined up before we throw down on our fellow Christian. Let’s pull back to Christ before we give in to the temptation to spew whatever we’re feeling all over every one else.
Let’s be careful to not presume the worst, but to have the courage to ask for the facts.
Let’s choose to trust the Christ in each other and not to use each other to simply “affirm” our views. Let’s give up on the option we can hold in reserve, the plan B to simply walk away if our views are ever rejected. We have to deny the lies that whisper….”we’re not wanted” and re- focus on the redemption of God in our hearts, trusting He does the same in others. We can’t keep simply leaving communities of faith when we get hurt, grinding our teeth and nursing grudges, simmering with bitter resentment that can slow boil for decades.
The problem is… what we ‘feel’ isn’t usually true and if other people are involved in our lives…. we will get hurt eventually. An unavoidable reality of a fallen world.
The truth is we are all already wounded, scared and angry. We cautiously visit churches, convinced we’ll be rejected before we ever enter the doors… self-sabotaging and primed for defensive measures. Please understand….I get it. I’ve done it. I know how to live frustrated and wary, cynical in my mental isolation.
We need to learn to take a moment to slow things down and really-truly ask our God to show us where HE wants us to belong. Where are we called to plug- into a community of faith? Not where we feel the most ‘fed’ or the most ‘comfortable’ or where people all agree with me.
Ask Him to reveal the things in your life that are uniquely ‘yours’ to resolve. Ask Jesus to come. Invite Him to touch your heart and heal the broken spaces, the old issues and fears, frustrations and pains that need to be brought to His healing cross.
Wouldn’t it be great if we moved from a Co-Dependent faith that seeks to find only those who agree with us… to a genuine relationship with God in a community of faith that’s bound by covenant of love and shared mission ?
Saints, parents and friends, we must push forward through the turbulence of community life, we have to choose to forgive and grow up together into Christ, mature and stable, able to discern between good and evil.
Paul says it so much better…
Ephesians 4:11-16 ESV (Biblegateway)
“11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers,12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
Love you all, Pastor B.