Sunday, September 29, 2013

This Generation.4

"How can I describe this generation? 

They are like children sitting in the market place, 
        calling to their friends: 
"We have played merrily on our flutes; 
but you would not dance, or sing. 
We have played a dirge; 
but you have refused to be sad."

John, the forerunner, came and lived among you in great austerity. Everyone said: 
"He must be possessed of a demon."

Now the Son of Man has come to you, enjoying life, and you say: 
"He is a drunkard and a glutton, 
and the friend of sinners!"

With such brilliance you justify your own inconsistency." 
--Jesus

A pastor friend once observed, "This is a great job...if it weren't for people!" I often wonder if Jesus ever felt that way.

fick·le
ˈfikəl/
adjective
  1. 1.
    changing frequently, esp. as regards one's loyalties, interests, or affection.
    "Web patrons are a notoriously fickle lot, bouncing from one site to another on a whim"


My pastor friend recently resigned after twenty-five years at the same church.

About a year after closing down and selling our church building in 2007, I asked my wife if there was anything she missed about "church life."  "Not that I can think of," was her heartfelt reply.  While in ministry we had endured much criticism, divisiveness, slander and pain.  No amount of bible teaching on unity, love, service, "one-anothering", or walking in the Spirit can take the place of simple obedience!

One of the most consistent areas of disobedience I find in the church is the refusal to confront an offender and thus resolve conflict.  Instead, the wounded goes to others to salve their hurt by justifying their cowardice in a crowd.

Jesus gave a simple formula for resolving conflict:
  1. If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you

    and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.
  2. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses.
  3. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.
Which is the greater sin: the momentary hurt -whether intentional or inadvertent - incurred at the hand of another human or our refusal to "win our brother or sister?"  Which is more like Jesus: to lay down our hesitation for a chance to strengthen the bonds of love or to rationalize our fears at the altar of self-will?

Choose wisely.