We don’t have to live like this

It makes me deeply sad, broken-hearted even, to see how the church in all it’s various constituent parts, treats people in and outside it’s ranks.  In my devotional time, I’m presently reading in Jeremiah, which, I’m certain, is influencing my present deep sadness over the state of God’s people.  To be certain, there is much good being done by some of Christ’s followers, but we will all look like hypocrites to those yet outside the body while we in the church still

  • treat some sins differently than others, and none of them with grace, mercy and hope (I mean, seriously, what if we treated gluttony in the same way as homosexuality? I bet churches would be empty).
  • treat each other poorly by failing to be present for each other in times of need, even when that’s uncomfortable.
  • judge a person’s salvation based on their politics or stance on issues, as though God isn’t sovereign and our temporal choices will change His eternal victory.
  • subvert the clear mandate of God’s message to us – to love one another as He loves us, and go share that news with others – in order to advance any other agenda or set of behavioral rules.
  • value the material things of this world, personally and in our congregations, while other human beings go without the most basic of needs.
  • outwardly display no difference in our lives from those who don’t know Christ (and I don’t mean music, clothing and entertainment!).
  • neglect to see the whole message of God’s Word, choosing instead to obsess over small bits and use them as weapons to fight among ourselves.
  • expect the institutions of government to do our mission for us while we fight over rules, carpet, buildings, and more… how are we citizens of another Kingdom if we do that?

The stirrings of a broken-heart, longing for God’s Kingdom to come, for His will to be done here among us.  As broken as we are, there is good news!  We don’t have to live like this! Grace, mercy and forgiveness are ever available; His strength and truth ever available to mend us and lift us out of the muck.  We can change the world for the better!

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7 Responses to “We don’t have to live like this”

  1. Sara
    November 13, 2008 at 11:17 am #

    AMEN!!

    Awesome post. Thanks Patti.

  2. Bradley Buhro
    November 13, 2008 at 1:29 pm #

    Beautifully put. I especially like your fourth bullet — we neglect to love one another, as He loves us. I think that we, like Luke’s expert in the law, spend too much time trying to figure out who is part of “one another” and who is a part of “them,” rather than just loving. Thanks for pointing that out.

  3. Barb
    November 13, 2008 at 3:21 pm #

    Great points, Patti. I couldn’t agree with you more. Thanks for stating what a lot of us are thinking.

  4. patti
    November 14, 2008 at 1:14 pm #

    Thanks for the comments!

    Brad, that “as” gets me every time. I’ve spent years on the implications of that one word! AS = fully known, while yet in sin, and enough to be my sacrifice… a few of the implications of that 2-letter word. Incredible. The other half of that constant wondering on my part is “love” – it’s easy to come up with what it doesn’t mean, but what does it mean, really? :)

    Barb, I wonder how many really are thinking about this great hypocrisy, how many are going along… but you knew I wondered that already!

  5. Dwain Rogers
    November 15, 2008 at 3:00 am #

    Here, here! I agree, and sad to say, guilty as charged as I’m sure most of us are at some point or another. The last 5 years of ministry and church hurt have taught me a lot about my own intolerance and hypocrisy. It has also made me a lot more conscience of, and sensitive to how badly churches and we as Christians treat each other, much less those lost and seeking. I am reminded, as I was sharing with my Sunday School class last Sunday, of the Prayer of St. Francis. I think he had reached the same conclusions that you have about this issue. I ponder on this a lot, probably to the point of obsession, but still I can’t for the life of me understand why and where it all went so terribly wrong in our churches. This ain’t a new thing. What would happen if we loved with the love of Christ? I can only imagine…

  6. Tre Lawrence
    November 16, 2008 at 4:12 pm #

    Awesome, introspective post… I am linking this (and the following one)on my blog.

  7. Todd Porter
    November 16, 2008 at 4:49 pm #

    Patti, Amen! Not much more can be said by me.

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