Once the show ended, we left feeling filled with His glory and got on the bus to head back to the Park-n-Ride where we left our car.
And that’s when I crashed.
As the bus turned left from the stand, heading down Snelling Avenue, I happened to look out the window and see some… guy… (the pause is indeed me biting my tongue) holding a sign up at the people leaving the fairgrounds. The sign said “WHOREMONGERS! GOD WILL JUDGE YOU!”
And here’s where the irony sets in. This guy is standing there, showing everyone the antithesis of what Jesus died for in God’s name. He’s not showing love, he’s not reaching lost souls, he’s hardening hearts against all of Christianity and Christ. He’s creating a roadblock for the Word in a world that’s already resistant to it. In what twisted plan does a sign like that do anyone any good?
Leviticus 19:18 Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord
So, my first reaction was to add a wrong to his wrong: I wanted to get off the bus, grab the sign and whack him in the head with it. Admittedly, that was no more Christian than his misguided attempt to change the world and thankfully I immediately felt convicted for even entertaining such a thought. Thank you for nudging me back in line, Father.
I’m seriously considering going back up there tonight, armed with some real scripture, to discuss this guy’s course of action and see if I can lead him to a path that honors God. Let’s face it, 95% of the world is lost right now, and we don’t need people on God’s side scaring off any of them who might be curious. No wonder most American’s say “Hypocrite” when they’re asked what they think of Christians. Jesus is Love, not slandering people and telling them God is going to get them. He’s not some spiritual boogie-man, He’s the originator of love.
Let’s say you’re a young person, somewhat curious about Jesus, but still lost. You’re out for a night of fun with friends and a certain female you like, and you leave the Fair (essentially a family oriented place, although beer is rampant), right into some guy telling you “God will judge you” odds are, you’re perception of Christianity, Jesus, God and anything else Jesus died for will drop rapidly on the “cool scale”. And, it’s also a good bet you won’t feel loved by God
So, while this guy may think his sign is somehow helping our Lord, it’s doing far more harm than good. Optimistically, maybe one person saw that and felt convicted enough to change their life. However, the pragmatic view is that potentially hundreds if not thousands of other people were driven further from Christ.
On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
He answered: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
So this brings me to the question, how do we heal the sick in our own camp? Everywhere we turn there are “Christians” doing everything from waving angry signs to committing far worse atrocities at the global level. They’re perverting the gospel and allowing the evil one to ruin our witness to the world by influencing their actions.
As a fiction writer, I know the most compelling villains are the ones who believe they’re doing the right thing. So, how do we, as God’ children, combat these villains in our own midst?
It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.
It’s easy to say we should go to them and speak the truth in love. But talk is cheap, in this case, talking about talking to them is cheap. Actually talking to them isn’t. In either case, prayer is powerful.
I’d like to ask that today, you pray for the villains in our midst. That they turn back to the true gospel, dispelling their erroneous notions and cleansing their vessels so that the Holy Spirit might guide their hands when they write signs, or speak publicly, post on the internet or otherwise gain the attention of the world around them. If one soul is forever lost because of signs like this, it’s one too many.
As expressed by Mercy Me and Jeremy Camp, Your love for us is perfect, infinite and without a catch. You love us no matter what. And for that, we’re eternally grateful.
I admit I don’t always reciprocate that love, nor do I always let it shine through to those around me. My first reaction last night was not one of love, as it should have been. Please forgive me for ever trying to make myself the last stop on the road of Grace you pave every day.
Sadly, there are those among us who fail to grasp that “love the Lord” and “love your neighbor” are the most important of all the commandments. Please hear our prayers that all people, including ourselves might come under conviction and learn to “Love Well” everywhere, everyday, from this one to the last one here on Earth.
We beg these things of You, in Your Son’s precious name.