Sunday, September 2, 2007

Sunday: The Lord's Day: Learning not to Judge

Growing up with a mother who works at a large church, I have experienced all the politics that go on behind the scenes. Yes, you heard me right. Even churches often act like businesses with the politics of the haves and the have-nots. No one and nothing comes without flaws.

Romans 3:23For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Should strife and earthly conflicts take place inside the church? No! After all, we are supposed to shine as a light to the world. But we cannot completely avoid these things. The key comes in doing your best to follow Christ’s example and praying regularly for the church community. We cannot help messing up here and there. We are human and messing up comes with human nature. However, we know that Christ redeems us and forgives us for the things we do wrong. He also admonishes us against allowing what we witness to control how we act and think.

More than once, I have allowed my own feelings to take over and control my actions and thoughts. I became bitter towards those involved in the politics of the church and wanted to rebel. God still had a thing or two to teach me. I tried continually to respect authority and keep a healthy attitude about things. Then the other day, I read something that changed my outlook forever. I read Philippians 1:15-18, mentioned in Max Lucado’s book, “Every Day Deserves a Chance.”

Philippians 1:15-18 It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.
Before I go any further, I have to give you a little background from my experience with prejudice. One time, my church discovered that a pastor there had covered up an old sin. The elders offered him counseling and a probationary period in a lower position, but he refused. Although he seemed to have repented of the original offense, his pride kept him from taking his lumps. Instead, he quit and started a new, competing church. Many in the congregation split off to follow him.

At first, I hated the man. I believed such a man should not pastor a church. I failed to realize that God can bring good out of the bad. Although the politics continue in both his church and my church, the important thing is the fact that Christ is preached. Does that make what he did right? No! But it does mean that Christ is now preached to more people!

When Paul wrote Philippians, he was in prison. He had experienced prison and worse in the past and, now, supposed brethren were doing things just to hurt him. He did not let the trials and persecution get him down. He knew God was in control and that God was using him to preach the gospel. He knew that the important thing was that Christ was preached.

In verse 15, Paul mentions that there are some who preach the gospel only for their own gain and with the wrong motives, but in verse 18 he says,

What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached, and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.
No matter what the politics are behind the scenes, I should rejoice that Christ is preached. Let God judge; I am here to be a light to the world.

1 comment:

Poorhouse Dad said...

A very important lesson, not to let flawed men come between us and our righteous God. Thank you for posting it.