Overzealous Deception. Addictive Lovers of our Life, Part 7


Imagine a 14-year-old attending church with an oversized tummy, rounder than a helium-filled balloon. She is definitely not married and her parents seem to be stand-offish. Her boyfriend has dumped her as he clearly was not the father. Who could blame him? And that girl is attending our church!

Would we be eager to greet her at the door? Would we show courtesy for this soon-to-be-mom? Would we show interest to her upcoming ordeal? Would we throw her in a baby shower? Or might it be possible that we might treat her as an outcast? Point the finger at her? Think, or worse, blurt out: "What a shame! And she dares come to our church!"

What would our reaction really be?

This is how Mary, the mother of Jesus, must have felt!

One day a drunk entered the church we were attending. During the service he rose, wavering, to his feet and began yelling out something too slurred to be understood. The people around him inadvertently moved away from the alcohol-filled air that protruded from his foul mouth. There wasn't a single eye still focussed on the preacher; no one heard what he was saying anymore, for all attention was riveted on the drunken man.

What would your first reaction have been? Would you have felt compassion? Or would you have been filled with indignation? Would you have run to him with open arms to make him feel welcome? Or would you have approached him with clenched fists, ready to show him the door?

One of the members stood up at this point and walked over to the drunken man's pew. He then did the unthinkable: He took that dirty, smelly man in his arms and gave him a hug! He then gently led him out of the sanctuary, where he sat down with him in the foyer and talked with him. He actually took the time to get to know the man! What a testimony!

Would we have done the same?

It is so easy to accuse. Not only does it make us feel superior, it also gives us a semblance of power. "Look at that scum! I am much better!"

But are we really?

"Two men went up to the Temple to pray, one a Pharisee, the other a tax man. The Pharisee posed and prayed like this: 'Oh, God, I thank you that I am not like other people - robbers, crooks, adulterers, or, heaven forbid, like this tax man. I fast twice a week and tithe on all my income.' "Meanwhile the tax man, slumped in the shadows, his face in his hands, not daring to look up, said, 'God, give mercy. Forgive me, a sinner.'" Jesus commented, "This tax man, not the other, went home made right with God. If you walk around with your nose in the air, you're going to end up flat on your face, but if you're content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself." (Luke 18:10-14 The Message)

Interesting! Jesus is quite clear that accusers and spiritual snobs do not go home justified in the eyes of our Almighty God! Rather it is the broken one who "went home made right with God".

Is it possible that the spirit of accusation can fill us with so much hatred and contempt that it robs us of our real purpose in life? How can we reach out to someone if we despise him? How can we love him if we look at him with disdain? How can we be a faithful witness if we run the other way? Can the spirit of accusation possibly become one of our illicit lovers? One of the things that steals our inner peace with God?

Jesus clearly warns us about this: "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." (Matt 7:1-2 NIV)

We are encouraged to let God's Spirit do His excellent work of convicting people of sin, and we are NOT to take this responsibility upon ourselves (See John 16:8)! Moreover the Holy Spirit does His excellent work in love! Would we do the same?

May we learn to love the way Jesus loves and leave the accusing to the fallen One: "…the accuser of our brothers…" (Rev 12:10 NIV).

"If anyone boasts, 'I love God,' and goes right on hating his brother or sister, thinking nothing of it, he is a liar. If he won't love the person he can see, how can he love the God he can't see? The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You've got to love both." (1 John 4:20-21 The Message)

"Look at that man with that long, straggly hair!"

"Hey! Why don't you go and welcome him with a hug?"

"Huh?"

Rob Chaffart

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