Please forgive the creative hiatus, public school resumed this week and there was much to do. I’m back.
Let’s talk about offense.
No, not the thing that Tom Sawyer had to whitewash. Let’s talk about people who are supposed to love us, but hurt our feelings, instead. It is possible that church is one of the last bastions of true pretense left in western society. All in all, we are an angry world and we’re ready to tell somebody off in a heartbeat. I am usually a very nice, very patient person. Last week at a school function, though, I was on the verge of being ‘ugly’. For those of you north of I-40 and west of Texas, that means ‘rude’. It was over one hundred degrees outside, and hovering somewhere around ninety, inside. As usual, we were filling out forms, writing checks and standing in unbearably slow lines. If you ask me, the whole thing was ugly. But in church we take the good with the bad, smiling and saying, “That’s ok,” or, “just kidding”. Later on, we rip them to shreds with our spouse at the dinner table in front of the kiddies, or hang them out to dry at a candle party.
We won’t take any guff from the outside world, but in church, oh, we’ll take it and hand it out, too. My sons and I were looking at a website called something like, ‘angry car notes’. It was filled with pictures of notes left on car windshields by other drivers. Wow, the hostility. And also, I might add, the creativity. But if we really want to hurt someone in church, just try to infringe on what they consider to be their spot, or niche. Let the fur fly. Why are we so insecure in Abba’s house? Is God not big enough to hug everybody? Why do we feel the need to force others into doing or seeing things from our own selfish perspective? Is God not big enough to run the show? Why are we so intent on correcting everybody? We tell ourselves that it’s for their good and welfare. Whatever. Who’s welfare are we really worried about?
Jesus said to love. Love God and love each other. That’s all. That’s it. Trust me, He knows it’s hard. Do what you do for love or else what you do is dead. That doesn’t mean that you lose points on your star chart. It means that it will be barren and unproductive. There’s just no more time for that. Love produces. Love works. What we call love is sometimes just selfishness and insecurity in disguise.
Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them. 1John 2:9-11
If someone hurts you, talk to them. Don’t stab them in the back, don’t accuse them before the brothers. Our enemy’s got that job covered. And for cripes sake, let’s stop taking things so personally. Abba is merciful and His children are like Him. We need to know where we are going. It’s time to turn on the Light.