Jesus invitation was and is today, “Come to Me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
This month I’m writing about a time when the church I was attending was in a period of unrest. A time when Satan had planted the seeds of discontent, lies, distrust, all ending in what has become quite common in many Christian Churches today as – ‘a split’.
My purpose is not to tell tales or who did what to whom, but to show how Jesus can take things that are broken, teach lessons to those who will listen, and bring about healing along with the wisdom to recognize future Satanic workings among us before they become a volcanic eruption rending apart the body of Christ.
My story begins with a Associate Pastor who was working hard with teens and young adults to teach them how much Jesus loves them. Finally after months of working, in particular with one young man, he finally got him to “try” church. How joyful! One could just imagine his happiness at finally getting the young man to come, just as he was, to learn more about Jesus. However, as the old saying goes. . .“There’s many a slip betwixt the cup and the lips”.
As the young man was about to walk into the Sanctuary a well meaning man greeted him with “Please take off your toque as you are entering into the house of the Lord”. The young man was so embarrassed that afterwards he told the youth Pastor that he would never darken the door of a church again!
Isn’t this the time that one should ask – WWJD – What Would Jesus Do? Unfortunately that thought never even crossed my mind. I’ll tell you what I did cross my mind though – I got on my high horse and I wrote an article about hats in church and went on to explain how women wore hats or scarfs, Jews wore kippah or yarmuke type hats and on and on I went. Of course, instead of helping the gentleman in question to see the error of his ways I incensed and alienated him along with those in our church who agreed with him.
So what happened next? I soon found myself sitting down with some poor Deacons that had inherited the problem I had thrust upon them. If that wasn’t bad enough the poor fellow writer I was also featuring in that issue, was dragged into this meeting as well. Unfortunately for him, he was in my opinion corner as he too had written quite a humorous article on the same topic.
They say (don’t ask me who ‘they’ are) but the saying goes that “hindsight is 100%”, with which I have come to totally agree. Looking back, this was just one of many ready to explode problems the Deacons were handling at the time. I marvel at the great job they did to keep the lid on with their wise, kind, and biblically based handling of the situation at the time.
We (my colleague and I) ended up each writing a letter of apology to this man, but unfortunately it did not quell the anger or unforgiving attitude, or pride, nor the foothold that our church members had opened up to Satan’s lies and tactics in his glee to destroy.
I know my article was just a part of the ongoing festering in our midst and not the last straw, but I am sure of one thing, my actions had grieved the Holy Spirit and created more problems for our Pastor and Deacons to handle when they were already on overload.
What did I learn through this difficult time? Humility and forgiveness come to mind, but more than that, the words I write can hurt or they can heal. It’s a tough call between using my saltiness for good or being salt in an open wound.
The Deacons today, as they were back then, are caring godly men who strive to do God’s will to keep His peace in a diverse congregation of people. We sometimes make their job harder thinking we are doing WJWD – (What Jesus Would Do), but not really listening to what He is telling us to do, such as using honey instead of vinegar to bring about peace.
Jesus has taught me some difficult lessons about judging and my judgemental attitude. I have no doubt this applies as well to the gentleman who thought he was doing a righteous act by ‘teaching’ this young man the holiness of God’s sanctuary, instead of the holiness of God. Our loving God does not judge by our apparel but by our hearts.
Can Jesus do without my help? Certainly, but He wants me to work with Him not against Him, while letting Him do what only He can do, which is to save sinners from an eternity in hell.
We must remember that this is a spiritual battle being fought for our souls, between evil demons vs. good angels and Satan vs. Michael the Arch angel. Jesus allows Satan to give us a choice but always remember that –
Jesus Won The War Over 2000 Years Ago!