Friday, January 31, 2014

How to Destroy the Church

Tim and I took our family to watch our nieces and nephews perform in a play last weekend at the church we attended years ago.  It was so good to see the faces of people we haven't seen for some time and to have a chance to catch up on the lives of longtime friends.

The whole experience got me to thinking.  Oftentimes when people leave one church for another, there are harsh words spoken, bitter feelings left unresolved and friendships broken.  Unkind and unnecessary jabs are thrown at every opportunity leaving wounds where once was connection.

Let me be clear - this has NOT been our experience.

While a measure of pain does come with separation, a mutual love and respect for one another has allowed Tim and I to continue in relationship with these wonderful people and I am eternally grateful for their place in my life.   That church and its people have helped form our family into who we are today and I will always pay them honor for that.  Likewise, I will also thank God for allowing Tim and I the gift of being loved well by two incredible churches within one community.   

We are blessed!

Unfortunately, this is not common within the church.

Psalm 133 talks about how there is anointing where there is unity and, sadly, the body of believers has not exemplified this well.  We poke and prod and mock and scorn the ones who choose a different path than the one we find ourselves on until we leave one another broken, bleeding and bitter against God.

God didn’t do it!  We did – yet He gets the blame!

I am so tired of seeing people bash each other over trivial things!   It’s unnecessary.  We are called to love – not fight over how to best promote Christ.   (Think about how silly that concept really is!) 

If you were the only picture of “Christianity” that this world had to offer – would anyone be interested? 

We pat ourselves on the back for our latest boycott efforts while tsk tsking over those who choose otherwise.  We praise those whose service lines up with our agendas while slandering the one who holds a different point of view.  We love on the brother who supports our ministry… then tear him to shreds when his victories raise him up and threaten to usurp our position.  (And we complain about DC??)

Do we want to experience the anointing of God?  Yes!  We all do.   But to get it means laying down our “rights”; turning off the accusations; replace disdain with acceptance and bitterness with love.  

Do others believe exactly the same way you do?  Maybe not.  Probably not. 

Are their music preference, worship times, clothing options, and outreach ideas different then yours?  Do they hold a Message Bible while yours is a 1611 KJV?   


Who cares! 

That’s between them and God – and you and God, for that matter. 

He didn’t call us to be the "sin" police.  He can handle that on His own (John 16).  He didn’t call us to uniformity - He called us to unity!    

Can we let our diversity be part of our beauty - not our destruction?

I often tell my children to stop worrying about what your brother or sister is doing.  "You worry about your own behavior," I'll say, "let me worry about theirs."

I’m pretty sure God would tell us the same thing.

Take the sword you’ve been given and use it for it’s intended purpose – to fight the enemy -not your brother or sister in Christ. Instead, extend love to those around you. 

But if your goal is to be "right", then fight on.  Your benefit will be pain, heartache and... a church that is broken apart.

1 Corinthians 13
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels,
but do not have love,
I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

If I have the gift of prophecy
and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge,
and if I have a faith that can move mountains,
but do not have love,
I am nothing.

If I give all I possess to the poor
and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,
but do not have love,
I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast,
it is not proud. 
It does not dishonor others,
it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered,
it keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 
It always protects,
always trusts,
always hopes,
always perseveres.

Love never fails.

But where there are prophecies, they will cease;
where there are tongues, they will be stilled;
where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

For we know in part and we prophesy in part,  
but when completeness comes,
what is in part disappears.

When I was a child, I talked like a child,
I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.
When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.  

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror;
then we shall see face to face.

Now I know in part;
then I shall know fully,
even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.
But the greatest of these

is love.

1 comment:

Alissa said...

Thank you so much for this post, Lynette. It exemplifies what I have been mulling over for years. (Especially the part that unity and uniformity are two different things...)