Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Spiritual Meanies

I was reading a political blog and the topic of evangelical Christians came up. The writer, who presumably was not a believer, wailed about how so many people who call themselves Christians do lots of things... but the one thing that they don’t do is follow the teachings of Jesus.

I stopped and thought about that. We do so many things in His name except the one thing that He said would be a sign of our being connected to Him.

I give you a new commandment: that you should love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too should love one another. By this shall all [men] know that you are My disciples, if you love one another [if you keep on showing love among yourselves].

John 13:34-25 [AMP]

That made me think both of my lack of love... and of experiences from spiritual meanies that I have encountered over the years...

You know the type. They look as if they have been baptized in pickle juice. They frown and scowl. They never offer positive encouragement but, rather, are quick with the put-downs and condemnation.

Look at that whore on the street corner...

Why, that ugly old drunk needs to go somewhere and sober up...

Those kids with the tattoos and the BB’s through their noses oughta be ashamed, walking around looking like that.

I have experienced people wagging their finger at me to point out some (real or percieved) sin in my life. Hey pal, how about praying that we all are stronger in our walk?

Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend [to show rage or worthy purpose].

Proverbs 27:17 [AMP]

I remember as an undergrad in Washington DC, I got through college by the skin of my financial teeth. But I trusted God and He provided. Granted, I never received enough salary or stipend to maintain a bank account, so I cashed each check I received. In DC at that time, liquor stores were authorized by the District to cash checks. Granted, a lot of poor people would go in with some sort of subsistence check and come out with an arm full of booze... but some people were mostly honest in that regard.

Well, a sister in Christ confronted me after church with her finger pointed in my face.

“A-ha!” she exclaimed. “You’re supposed to be a CHRISTIAN! But I saw you go into the liquor store!”

I asked, “Did you also see me exit the store?”

“Yes,” she replied.

“Was I carrying any liquor?” I asked.

She realized that I was not. I explained that I simply cashed my ROTC stipend. And she went away sorrowful... because she didn’t have occasion to accuse her brother.

Whoa! Don’t you think maybe she might have gone to her prayer closet and said, “Father, I don’t know if my brother has sin in his life... or if there is some problem that has taken his eyes off of You and made him seek the bottle. In any instance, I just pray his strength in the name of Jesus.”

But, in reality, how often do we ever do that? Most of the time, we are quick to judge, and then thank God that we are not as bad a sinner as the other guy. Whoa! Are we so self-righteous that we don’t realize that we are all saved by grace... and were it not for God’s grace we would all be a disgrace?

Let’s not be Christian meanies. Let’s not act like self-righteous weenies. But let us be quick to intercede for each other and (most importantly) love one another with humble spirits and godly fear.

Two men went up into the temple [enclosure] to pray, the one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee took his stand ostentatiously and began to pray thus before and with himself: God, I thank You that I am not like the rest of men--extortioners (robbers), swindlers [unrighteous in heart and life], adulterers--or even like this tax collector here. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I gain. But the tax collector, [merely] standing at a distance, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but kept striking his breast, saying, O God, be favorable (be gracious, be merciful) to me, the especially wicked sinner that I am! I tell you, this man went down to his home justified (forgiven and made upright and in right standing with God), rather than the other man; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.

Luke 18:10-14 [AMP]


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