Friday, July 24, 2015

The Church Police

You know who they are. They are the fruit inspectors. They proudly wear their badges and march through our world and our churches proclaiming the unrighteousness of others. It's a slick trick. It moves the focus of attention from them and to others - whoever that might be. They are the Christian version of the liberal social justice workers (SJW's) that see it as their duty to save us from ourselves and the world at large.

In an article in Relavant magazine, Cara Joyner discusses why Christians should not be culture's morality police. I think she is right on in her dissection of the issue. She says, "We were never commissioned to demand that secular culture reflect biblical principles. We were commissioned to reflect biblical principles in the middle of secular culture, pointing to God’s redemptive story."

This is what it's supposed to like for us. We are not part of the world, but we live in it and our job is to plant the seeds of our truth, salting the cultural landscape and making who and what we are seem attractive to people that might be struggling in their life journey. We cannot do that by making blanket judgements and condemnations about people that are not of the faith. 

Christian, my thought is that if you cannot keep your judgements to yourself, then leave them/us alone. You are making the rest of us look bad. These people need Jesus. They do not need some morality cop beating them up.

Jesus ate with "publicans and sinners and tax collectors" on a regular basis. He had the strength of character to do this and He would also plant the seeds required to make these people question their status and their relationship with God. When I say, "strength of character", I mean he was strong enough spiritually to spend time with them and remain true to His principles. It needs to be the same with us. We must not become part of their lifestyle, but we must be part of their lives. We must be friends to them, planting seeds in their minds and salting our conversations with encouraging words about what we believe and why. There is no real place for fruit inspection of the Pharisaical variety in such conversations.     

Inside the Church at large, there is some room for fruit inspection, but again, I do not think a policing attitude is going to generate much positive response. We live in a world full of churches. Some people will just go elsewhere if they are not comfortable with the level of conversation where they are at. We need to meet these people with their issues where they are at, come along side them and try to help them see whatever it is. Bludgeoning them with judgement and condemnation will not help them. 

So, lets leave our badges at home and start by loving each other and loving our neighbors in the world. The Church will grow both spiritually and numerically this way.

I will close with the same quote from Paul that Cara used in her article.

I Timothy 1:15, 16

15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.

This is true for us as well. Let's live it.

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