I’ve been working on this topic for quite a few weeks now, trying to present a hard truth without sounding like “you guys better shape up or else” or coming across like I’ve got it all together and y’all need to catch up.
You see, the reason is that I DON’T have it ‘all together’ – not by a long shot, and I need to ‘shape up’ at LEAST as much as everyone else in the Church and most likely more so.
So, I’ve written this post in the form of an open letter to Curly. Read it carefully and prayerfully (especially pray for me) and apply it to yourself if appropriate. Hopefully, some of it will make you examine your own life, and some of it will make you want to be at least a little more gracious to your fellow followers of Christ. Some of it might make you angry; if so, ask yourself why.
I’ve been reading John’s first letter, and it seems to hold the answer to the question you’ve been asking recently:
“Why is our country chaotic, disunifiied, and descending into more blatant sin and debauchery and the Church ineffectual in helping our leaders and the general populace to see their need for Christ?”
John writes about how those who practice a lifestyle of sin are not, no matter what they profess, children of God because those who trust in Christ will not live a lifestyle of sin and self-service, but will practice righteousness. In chapter three, John very clearly states how we can tell if we are practicing righteousness.
He writes, “By this the children of God and the children of the devil are evident: everyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, namely, the one who does not love is brother. For this is the message the you have heard from the beginning: that we should love one another”. He goes on to state that “if anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar.”
Notice that John isn’t talking about love for ‘the world’ or for ‘everyone’ or ‘sinners’ – he is talking about how we show our love for each other.
So, Curly, how are you loving your siblings in Christ? I know that you try to attend church services and WoF meetings and events as much as possible, and try to help out with projects and problems that your brothers and sisters have that you have the skills and abilities to deal with…
… but that’s nothing more than you would be expected to do if you were a member of ANY club or organization. What about Jesus’ statement “by this everyone will know that your are my disciples – if you have love for one another?” coupled with John’s advice that we must love each other not with just words, but in deed and in truth?
Are you showing your love for your God and His children in such a way that nonbelievers notice? I firmly believe that one of (if not THE) main reasons our society has so radically marginalized our faith and has become so hostile to our Savior is because the overwhelming majority of us who call ourselves Christians treat each other EXACTLY the same way non-Christians treat their “family, friends, and neighbors”.
Curly, if you are going to call yourself a ‘Warrior’, you should be faithfully following AT LEAST this MINIMAL command. So, are you?
Here are a few questions to think about.
Are you faithfully and regularly praying for the specific needs (both spiritual and physical) of your Christian siblings?
Are you asking God to show you if there is anything you can do to help meet those needs – and then doing it?
Are you making a conscious effort to present your brothers and sisters in a positive light, and not gossip about them?
Are you willing to help them overcome the sin in their lives with love, compassion, and as much privacy as possible in accordance with Biblical guidelines – and allow them to do the same for you?
Are you willing to help out brothers in financial need even if it inconveniences you (do you REALLY need that custom seat?)
What about time? Are you prepared to give up projects or even holidays to help your brother out?
Well, I hope you get the idea. Here’s another thing to think on, Curly:
The reason most non-Christians see the Christian faith as a joke is because most of us treat it as a game that we can play at our convenience rather than the most important thing ever. If God truly loves us sacrificially and has instructed us to model that love to each other and the world, then don’t be surprised when ‘the world’ dismisses us as deluded, hypocritical, and irrelevant when we fail to do so.