I find myself today just so troubled in my spirit that I can’t even write what I want to preach Sunday. I sit and stare at the computer and the desk and the walls and the backs of my hands. I just really want to get up and walk away. That’s probably what will happen in the end.
There have been things happen that I cannot reveal and won’t because I promised. I have been so disappointed in some people I thought I could trust. I have been hurt deeply by people who I thought were my friends or at the very least acquaintances. Oh well–such is human nature. We put on so much facade. We play so many games with each other that we can’t get to the real truth and to real forgiveness and real ability to move past it. So sad!
I must say that I’m not totally innocent in the things said to me. I have been guilty of allowing my temper cause me to write things in a public forum that have hurt others. For that I’m deeply regretful and have asked the offended parties to forgive me. Though words of forgiveness have been exchanged, I fear that the pain is greater than our forget-ability. So we continue on, struggling to walk past each other without thinking about the things that were said. It’s so hard. I’m trying and failing and trying and succeeding and trying and failing again.
I wonder sometimes if it’s human nature as I said or our refusal to accept our position as children of God. Maybe it’s some of both. We have a sin nature–I know that from my own failures and inadequacies. We have a “bent” toward doing selfish things. We like to make ourselves look good and feel good so much that we will lie to each other and mask the depth of real feelings to the point that when they do come out, the come out as pain and usually lash out to hurt others. That’s just not the Christian way–or is it??
American Christianity in my opinion has become so watered down that we stress out at even the Bible when it convicts us. Shouldn’t we stretch toward it and reach out for the One who made us and follow His will for our lives? We Americans feel as though the world revolves around us and this spills over into our “Christianity.”
Have we lost the ability to speak spiritual things into one another’s lives? Listen to Paul’s words in Colossians 2: 20-23 NCV, “Since you died with Christ and were made free from the ruling spirits of the world, why do you act as if you still belong to this world by following rules like these: “Don’t handle this,” “Don’t taste that,” “Don’t even touch that thing”? These rules refer to earthly things that are gone as soon as they are used. They are only human commands and teachings. They seem to be wise, but they are only part of a human religion. They make people pretend not to be proud and make them punish their bodies, but they do not really control the evil desires of the sinful self.”
When is the last time you heard anyone in every-day life talk like this? When was the last time someone stopped you in the hallway at church or anywhere for that matter and said, “Let’s stop pretending to be humble by letting people think we are religious and start really loving one another!” I mean this text lets me know that when I “go to church” and I “do my Christian duty” I must ask myself the question, “Am I doing this because it’s a part of who I am or is it a part of the religion to which I belong?” Obeying religious rules only makes you religious–not a Jesus follower!
When is the last time someone stopped you and said, “I’m so glad that Christ died and took us away from the clutches of the ruler of this world. We are free from sin!! We are not guilty and we did nothing to earn it! Hallelujah!!!?” People have stopped talking that way.
The real tragedy is that we are losing the ability to see Jesus! We are losing out commitment to the mission He left us with–to make disciples. O, we’re proud of little Johnny because he can talk at an early age. We’re proud of Suzy because she made the team. We’re so excited when our favorite team wins and deeply disturbed when they lose! We are anxious if we don’t get the clothes we want or toy we want or girl/boy we want! We are disobedient to our parents, haters of the good things in life and lovers of everything that is evil! We’ve become self centered and act like two year olds who don’t get their food quickly enough. We have become so biblically illiterate that we couldn’t tell you if Hezekiah is a king, a book of the Bible, or the name on a pack of Hebrew cigarettes.
When are we going to be more proud of our children when they serve a homeless person food? Why not encourage the kids looking forward to bucking the system and deciding to serve the world rather than pursuing the American dream? Why not teach our children the word of God AT LEAST as equally as we teach them to hit a ball or catch a fish or pursuer a career?
My cry is GOD HELP ME! GOD HELP US!! We need to cry out like David of old,
“Create in me a pure heart, God,
and make my spirit right again.
Do not send me away from you
or take your Holy Spirit away from me.
Give me back the joy of your salvation.
Keep me strong by giving me a willing spirit.” Psalm 51:10-12