Monday, March 19, 2012
This morning I am trying to sort out some very convicting thoughts. Recently it has been impressed on me that there are people out there that we might assume do not have a place in the family of God simply because they are not doing what we would be doing if we were (are) serving God. This distinction can come up as close as criticizing others in our church who are not reaching out in the same way we are (teaching children, leading youth, feeding the hungry, or leaving for a foreign land), to someone as far flung from our lives as rock star Bono of U2 living his life in a world we would shudder to be involved in.
I was stunned to find that Bono has a rock solid faith in the truth of Christ as we know it and he backs it up without apology in a very Apologetics way. Contrary to how it sounds, Apologetics is not a way to apologize for believing, it is a way to state the facts about what is to be believed and Bono does that very well in any interview he gives.
This weekend’s great surprise was this quote from a different source: Alice Cooper. Yes, that evil, sinful guy that we all find repulsive. This is what he says: “Drinking beer is easy. Trashing your hotel room is easy. But being a Christian, that’s a tough call. That’s rebellion.” Amazing! When, how, where… something to look into, here.
But let’s go back closer to home. I truly feel called to minister to women. I have a heart for women that won’t stop beating. As God grows me I find myself seeking out women who seem to be lonely and/or hurting in some way and I can’t seem to stop myself from offering friendship. I also seek out women who can balance my life and keep me accountable, but lonely women are on the top of my list. Yet some who do not know me well, express regrets that I am not teaching young children. I love children. And I love to spend time with them in situations where I am not the only one present. But my heart seeks out women who are hurting in some way. And I save my energy for reaching out to them, maybe helping them and then letting them go when they are ready to move on. Believe it or not that takes a lot of energy. Now, if I could just always be a blessing instead of a stumbling block; that would be a true miracle.
As we look at others and their service to God we can be extremely critical. If it doesn’t fit our agenda, it couldn’t be right. I want to cry every time I hear someone make a remark that some other servant of God could not possibly be a real Christian because they go to the wrong church. It breaks my heart that we can be so shallow as to think that Jesus cannot bring His children home to Him if they are not in the right church. God can reach His children ANYWHERE that they happen to be. And He can use them so long as they surrender their hearts and go where He leads them to go. As I often say, ‘there are Christians in ‘that’ church, too.’ God knows who is and who is not and He controls who comes to Him and who does not.
I think we can be forgiven for thinking that Alice Cooper never had a God thought in his life, but we are straining the boundaries when we think that God could not possibility put thoughts in Alice Cooper’s head that would bring him home to his Savior. Shame on us for having such little faith in God’s amazing outreach.
May we give God credit where credit is due and stop assuming that we are the only true Christians in the world. Let us step back in love and make room for difference without apologizing for what we believe or how we live our own lives for Him. May we love without but’s, and share without hesitation, strengthening our own faith, while building the faith of others. And may we leave the selection of souls to God, and God alone. Amen