Day 10: Continued…
We judged the shiny cars lining the parking lots of the mega churches. We judged the Sunday school good looks of the upper middle class and their hands unsoiled with anything as unsavory as the destitute, the impoverished, the minorities, the populations that have never heard the name Jesus. And Satan seized upon this bitterness and choked out the next 9 years of our lives.
Because as imperfect as the churches were, we weren’t any better off without one.
The breaking down of bitterness and strongholds held rigid against American church didn’t come from a return to another country. It didn’t come from finding our people, the ones that understood all of our views and held them in the same way.
What began the breaking was a plea for help and a response from an imperfect church.
My parents had gone on a car trip to Colorado and on the journey had encountered car troubles which stranded them. Financially unable to afford the repairs they reached out to a friend. She contacted her church and they helped my parents during that time.
It was then that they started attending church.
I could draw rainbows and hearts and tell you that this church met all of their needs, the worship was heartfelt and meaningful, the preaching powerful , the congregation unified and glorifying God in all they did but that wouldn’t be the truth.
This church was flawed. As flawed as any church. The preaching was mediocre, the congregation made up of the same old sinners, the world view skewed just a bit from our perch.
What was different? My parents realization that God was calling them to commit. That for them to attend wasn’t about Sunday service or getting all their needs met. It wasn’t about finding all the right people you click with or the words that inspire you week after week.
It was about obedience.
Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt-every situation you believe to be the will of God - Jim Elliot
They believed that it was the will of God to put aside their bitterness and commit to this broken church, and in doing so comes the next chapter. The point where my brother and I came to salvation, not through this church, but through the crushing of bondage and bitterness against the church.
The path to releasing the judgements, of which I am still letting go.
It’s one thing to count the cost when you see the reward of lives redeemed, the lost found, and another when the reward seems hidden and what little light remains seems to flicker with sinful souls sitting comfortably in their Sunday best. When the reward of God’s glory seems hidden.
How hard it is to be light when dim is easy like a lullaby, and souls so close to slumber?
It’s a lot easier to go it alone. It’s a lot easier to cut ties with things that don’t make sense.
It’s the harder path to make peace with those you believe aren’t doing the will of the God they proclaim while still engaging them as brothers.
It’s a lot harder to speak the truth in love.
It’s a lot harder to risk the wrath of mediocrity, and still speak soft grace. Not cheap grace which requires nothing, but costly grace which amounts to everything.
It’s a harder path to walk in humility and allow your heart to be searched and burned raw in the process lest there be any wicked thing lurking.
It’s harder to ask God to reveal his glory in places that require us to engage with those we would rather judge.