25 01 2022

Have you ever found yourself needing real help and direction, but you were afraid to ask anyone for assistance because you didn’t want to appear stupid? Have you ever been stuck in a study where asking questions wasn’t championed but actually looked down upon? Have you ever battled nagging disbelief, despairing doubts and distinct discouragement but had nowhere to turn to bare the matters of your soul because everyone else looked down at you with those obnoxious superior stares? Have you ever not agreed with the conclusion of the masses but still couldn’t muster the courage to make the crowd one less crowded? You are not alone. And it’s wrong that so much of our culture tries to squeeze us into a mold that we weren’t divinely manufactured to become.  

Billy Joel once sang, “Honesty is such a lonely word, everyone is so untrue. Honesty is hardly ever heard and mostly what I need you.” But does telling the truth have to be such a painful exercise that it causes so many to lose the importance of the fact that grace should walk with it hand in hand? If a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down, why is there so much castor oil in the house? If we are supposed to chew our food 24 times before we swallow, why is there so much shoving substance down one another’s throats going on? And there is nothing worse than when we chicken out of doing it right by getting it oh so wrong!

I am a Christian and I love Jesus with all of my heart. I can’t deny the fact that I am a Pastor. Still I am far from what I want to be. I make many mistakes and am so hard on myself that I never have to worry about ignoring the counsel of others. I just wish our world was better at the way we treat this pool of humanity. It is not a cesspool. It is God’s river of life.

I am not one who has ever been motivated by intimidation and bullying. Threats have only instigated matters and never made them better. Talking down to me has never raised me up but only left me hung out to dry. This pandemic has more often than not brought out the best of who we are. There is too much self-righteousness when humility is in order. There are those who puff out their platitudes with the pride of a peacock when patience might better serve the situation. When we need to be on the look out to protect not only the health but the integrity of those we rub shoulders with, too often we are just rubbing our neighbor’s noses in it. Beating the broken while they are already hurting is too cruel and far from cool and it needs to stop!

Unfortunately, I have seen this bad behavior practiced in the church over and over again throughout the years. Preachers using scare tactics to try to guilt the lost sinners into heaven. Believers choosing outer symbols to prove an inner spirituality that simply isn’t there. Those who claim that because they use the King James Bible, that makes them so much holier than the NIV crowd. Those who chime that you can’t really be a devoted disciple if you listen to that kind of music. The population that seems to believe that the more they wear clothes that are out of style is what puts them a mile ahead of others in the wardrobe of the saints. How about those who just because they don’t participate in sports on Sundays believe that this puts them on a higher plane of consecration than those who sweat on the Sabbath. Nonsense! People try to pick and choose the battles they know they can win so that their sense of self-worth rises when they are surrounded by like minded individuals. God says that holiness is better defined not by the things we don’t do but by allowing His power to transform us into those who look and move like Jesus.

Shaming people is just plain sin. I grew up within a religious system where adults spun guilt like an artist worked the paints. There was more yelling than encouragement. Punishment that lacked discipline was dealt out like a blackjack dealer laid down the cards. It painted a picture of a God who was always mad and enjoying every opportunity He had to squash us down. I tried so hard to do it right and the only times I drew attention was when I got it wrong. I respect the boundaries and I know that there is a right and wrong way to do things but love is a much better environment to grow and excel in than one of judgment and condemnation.

The Bible tells us that God loved us while we were yet sinners. He knows we aren’t perfect. Why would we need Him in the first place if we could ace the test without a Teacher? Most of you are like me and know the areas where we fall short. Most of you are like me and don’t deny the fact that we all need a Savior and not more sarcastic smart remarks from self-appointed superstars. I thought the call on Christians is to share their faith is such the manner that others want to jump in. When did it become a contest to see if we can call people on all the reasons that they should stay out. I want you to come. The truth is that I came to Jesus just as I was and only the Lord can and still does transform me from the jerk I can be. The longer I serve Him, the more I realize that there isn’t an ounce of me that deserves any kindness and yet just when I think that heaven is about to slug me, heaven hugs me. Why can’t we treat one another with a little more patience, understanding, love and respect?

I guess we can blame our bad behavior on the pandemic. Human beings were not created to have to function so tied up and in a prison of isolation from one another. I know it is far from the atmosphere that I like to breathe the air in. Speaking of, I did get vaccinated while I was being radiated for my cancer. I battle all 365 days a year both sinus and allergy issues where breathing without my mouth and nose covered is tough enough. I adhere to the times when I must wear a mask for the good of all. But before someone jumps down the throat of another because their expertise wearing a face covering far outshines all others, why not stop and ask a question or two and treat your fellow man and woman as you would want to be treated. Bullying is not a fruit of the Spirit. Shaming is not a sacrament. But loving and serving your brother and sister is just what the Great Physician of humanity ordered.    



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: