Midnight has come and gone here in the CST, but I just can't stop. I made myself a headband, ironed some pillow shams, organized some papers, and unloaded the dishwasher.
Do have those days where you mull something over all day long, and whatever you're doing--sewing, check, ironing, check, organizing, check, unloading, check--that thought is constantly hoisting itself up over the windowsill and plopping onto your mind's floor?
I came across two things on the internet today that have sat down and stayed with me.
1) This video on Jon Acuff's blog, Stuff Christians Like. It's a famous atheist's reaction to being given a Bible, and it's not what you're expecting. I love the part where he says, "How much do you have to hate me to not proselytize me?" I've nearly cried thinking of those words a couple times today. This man had a five minute encounter with the love of Christ, and although I don't think he believes in Christ (yet!), there was something about that exchange that gripped him. The love of God is gripping, people. Do we believe that? Who have we thought too far gone for Love to reach? No.one.is.out.of.reach. We speak; He saves. And yet we think we have the hard part...
Go watch the video and see if it doesn't change the way you think about sharing Christ.
2) The second thing was mournful for me. It just plain made me sad. While catching up on a blog I sometimes read, I found a post in which the author lambasted a popular Christian pastor. The issue of disagreement was poverty and how we as Christians are called to live in light of the world's extreme poverty. The post and the following comments were angry and sometimes, biting. Does poverty hurt the heart of God? Absolutely. But it is not the only thing that hurts His heart...
Aaron and I had a chance to have a great conversation about the issue, and out of that and some quiet time thinking tonight, I have a few concrete thoughts.
- When we identify a problem in the church, we have to honestly ask: "How am I a part of this?" The temptation is to find someone else who is worse than us and then write off our own sin. Regarding poverty, we want to sidle a glance over at those rich people, you know, the ones with SUVs and mansions and huge bank accounts, and say, "Well, that's not me. I must be more on track with Jesus than they are." We're probably less on track, actually. Aaron and I live in a small house, but I struggle with materialism on a daily basis. I need the Holy Spirit to continually convict me of my sins of greed and idolatry. My heart can be just as messy or more messy than the millionaire's.
- Others' sin should grieve us, not make us feel better about ourselves. When we do see sin in others' lives, it should hurt our hearts! Judgment breeds when we see another's sin and use it to congratulate ourselves on our good behavior.
- In a disagreement with a believer, address the issue instead of attacking the man. We will disagree on doctrinal issues. When you look at the two millennia of church history, that's pretty much a given. But at the end of the day, that person with whom you've come to a theological roadblock is still your brother or sister.
- In all things, love. No doctrine or practice is more important than love. Paul makes that pretty clear in the beginning of 1st Corinthians 13. Maybe you're right. And yet you win that battle and lose the only one that really matters.
It keeps me up late, but I love wrestling through stuff like this. At the end of theological struggles, my mantra is: It's all about Him. It's all about Him, and we are not the leading actors in this play.