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Such Contradictions

Surely it is not just Christians that have to deal with the constant barrage of criticism from each other… surely it is just human nature to be so critical of anyone who is earnestly and honestly just trying to do what they feel like they’re suppose to be doing - Yes, that is it - it is NOT unique to the Christian community to be so judgemental… I think I know what it is.

The apparent truth is this: EVERYONE* despises and rejects anyone who is trying to hear and do the will of the Father with their lives.  It doesn’t matter if they are Christians, atheists, of other religions, or pre-believers - the enemy, the accuser of the bretheren, the prince of the air does everything he can to distort our communications, whisper in our ears, and divide us.  Whether it is marriages, denominations, friendships, or the Bride of Christ as a whole, I believe it is one of the main focus points of the enemy: divide, divide, divide.

I hate throwing around terms, especially when they apply to people, like “spiritual” - but, let me quote a scripture as a part of the asterik note on “EVERYONE” above. 

“But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corithians 2:14)

Often this “everyone” includes many in the church, because they do not take the time to spiritually discern the actions, attitudes, statements, missions, etc, of their fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord.  And, like in the previous article, we too often feel like the main call the Lord has called us personally to focus on is somehow what ALL believers should be focused on, and we fail to see that the Body has many members, and that each must do its own, differing part. (1 Corinthians 12)   We erroneously end up thinking that all believers must be “balanced” in their priorities, giftings, and focii, instead of embracing the glorious diversity of gifts and wirings the Father purposed in His Body so that we could grow up together by what every joint supplies into Christ who is the one true Head. (Ephesians 4)

This also extends beyond callings and giftings and into simple practicalities.  Let’s look at the difficult example of an intercessory missionary.  There are many varieties of callings under this one head, but, let’s look at a musician who has felt the call to focus their time in the place of prayer and worship to help others cultivate a life of prayer, get grounded and familiar with the Scriptures, and connect to the thoughts, will, and emotions of the Lord.  And, for this example, they feel led to soley raise support by which to live.  And, for this example, they feel led to record and distribute some of the songs they have been given.

Many in the church would criticise them for living solely on support, and would quote a scripture or two out of Second Thessalonians out of context like, “if you don’t work you don’t eat.”  These folks would insist that the person should at very least be bivocational and working a “real job”.  These same people might be fine with a “pastor” of a church being full-time, but somehow overlook the office of teacher, evangelist, prophet, apostle, or just a believer being obedient to the Lord - who is not just sitting around, but devoting their life to the Lord and to the equipping of the saints.

So, the same intercessory missionary feels led to record and release an audio CD.  Well, now people will begin quoting scriptures like “use the gospel for their profit” or something about not selling things in the temple.  They forget all about the criticism from above, and that “a workman is worth his wage”, and that the musicians, the engineers, the graphic artists, and lots of people put a lot of time into the producing, recording, and distributing of the CD.

Seriously, it’s like they can’t win… we can’t be “beyond reproach” from everyone - especially not if you’re trying to do what the Father is telling you.  Jesus tells us that this will be the case in John 15:14-24.  If we are trying to be about the Father’s business, they will hate us, just like they hated Jesus.  But, there is no better place to be than in the will of the Father.  Be found faithful in Him to the end.  By found blameless in Him.  Be beyond reproach in life and doctrine according to HIM - not according to “them”.  Being beyond reproach doesn’t mean being beyond scrutiny or attack - it means that, when it comes down to righteous scriptural logos and discerning rhema, you are doing all that you can do to be obedient to the Lord.

This same concept could be applied to so many different things, but let me give you one other thing.  Take a prayer gathering, for example.  If you try to just gather people in the place of prayer, people will accuse you of trying to “be a church” and will be fearful of allowing their members to come, for fear that you may end up stealing them away and forming a congregation - even if you clearly state that everyone who comes should be plugged into a local church, and that it is not the intention of this gathering to become “a congregation” - and your actually praying for the congregations and ministries in the area to be strengthened and encouraged.

But, at the same time, the same gathering could be criticized for not doing enough evangelism, being in a ministry bubble, or not doing some other works - spiritual or practical.  They don’t want the gathering to “be a church”, but they turn around and expect them to do all of works of a local congregation, otherwise they aren’t balanced enough.

Although we haven’t (to our faces) actually experienced ANY of the above criticisms yet, I was remembering some stories from other folks in similar ministries, and some of the attacks and criticisms they’d received from other believers - and it just breaks my heart, and encourages me to be vigilant in prayer.  The Lord has specifically asked me to try my best to live up to the call that Paul gave Timothy, to “be beyond reproach in both life and doctrine, so that both myself and my listeners might be saved.”  To some, this call would be deadly.  They might be too much of a man-pleaser, or too much of a “I could care less what you think, non-conforming rebel.”  But, just like almost everything else in my life, I have somehow avoided too much of either, all without being (too) luke warm (at times).  :)

Read the Word, Listen to the Lord, Ask of the Lord, Seek a Multitude of Council, Go Back to the Word again, Walk in the Light, and Do His Will - then let the accusations fall where they may.  Be graced in the seeking, and blessed in the doing!


Comment from Debra
Time: May 24, 2010, 9:13 am

I agree with this writer and the concerns. I am having a hard time stepping out cuz of criticism from the non believers as well as the church and the non believers actually seem less cruel and more open. They are getting unified - ex. 12-step program where there is love and acceptance under any god you want. But Christians aren’t loving and accepting other Christians who may look different, think different, arent perfect or whatever. When will we stop killing our young and crucifying ourselves (in the wrong way) and start building up one another instead of being jealous and scared and critical of one another?

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