ugly children

Posted: April 16th, 2014 | Filed under: life | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

With all of this name calling and finger pointing and scripture touting, this is how you can tell the difference: One accuses their brothers and sisters and the other loves them. One demands righteousness and the other reminds them of it. One flares up against and the other stoops down to support.

I read something in my facebook feed that made me freeze up. I’m very selective with my facebook friends, so I actually know or, at least, really respect those on my “friends” list. I’m telling you this because I’m about to quote someone that I know and respect, then I’ll tell you why I think they’re wrong. I could have just commented on the status update, but I haven’t written to you in a while and I want to start a conversation.

Here is the status update:

There is a new movement toward transparency about sin in many circles of the church. While this can be good, it is also leading to a tendency to hold up our sin as a badge of honor, never even trying to overcome it – becoming identified by it in fact.

It has gotten to the point that those with open unrepentant sin believe they are the future of the church while those without it are viewed as Pharisees. While we all have sin, none of us are excused from attempting to overcome.

Unrighteousness has become the new (self)righteousness.

Beware Isaiah 5:20

I can appreciate personal opinions, and sharing fears or observations. Knowing this friend, it may even be a founded issue to take up. I am, though, extremely protective of the one who messed up. I can’t stay quiet where they are concerned even if the words were not meant for them. I can’t help but feel reprimanded, even if the words were not meant for me.

The comments got more explicit as one commenter put it, “wallowing in our brokenness.” Another commenter said, “Self-pitying group therapy. VOMIT!” They get uglier and more shrill as the comments go on.

I don’t support picking a fight where the people at the center are too fragile to survive any more hits. Clueless remarks that could literally scream condemnation into the core of another person’s eternal existence need a response.

The original post used a scripture, so I’ll use that scripture to support my argument.

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!– Isaiah 5:20 ESV

This scripture, within the context of the facebook post, is a death blow to the one who is working through his or her sin and trying to find Jesus through the chaos. Being able to state your sin in an actual church is only a temporary spot, like a toddler finding his legs. It’s a way to take the power away from the spiritual accuser as the person becomes desensitized to the accusation.

The reason that it’s important to become desensitized is because all of hell is trying to convince the person that she is done for. That what they did has caused God to withdraw the sacrifice and condemn them to eternal damnation. If they can call their own failures into the light, they lose their power. These people are in transition. Calling a “special needs class” a “retard class” would make you a monster. Calling a recovery group, of any kind, a group for “self-pity” or “brokenness wallowing” makes you a mouthpiece for the accuser.

The scripture within the context of the rest of the Bible is a literal God-send to the one who is working through his or her sin and trying to find Jesus in the chaos.

“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil…” What is evil? (Use the cross reference scriptures to trace the contextual meaning.) It is turning justice to “bitter fruit” and “casting righteousness down to earth” (Amos 5:7; 6:12). “Bitter fruit” is “poison” (Deut 29:18). “Casting righteousness down to earth” is trying to turn it into something “man-made”.

Beware lest there be among you a root bearing poisonous and bitter fruit…-Deuteronomy 29:18 ESV

Who is a root bearing poisonous and bitter fruit?? (All I’m doing is using the cross reference scriptures.)

See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled…– Hebrews 12:15 ESV

Do you see it yet? I’ll continue….

What does it mean to “fail to obtain the grace of God”?

You fail to believe that “it is finished” and you fail to rest (Hebrews 4:1). You receive the grace of God in vain (2 Corinthians 6:1).

You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace.-Galatians 5;4 ESV

“…who put darkenss for light and light for darkness…” This part is talking about your eyes, or your “lamps” (Matthew 6:22… keep following the cross reference scriptures. That’s where I’m getting this.). It is taking something that is good and making it bad (Matthew 20: 15). It’s taking a gift and turning it into something to withhold to someone weaker than you. Like grace. That’s what we’re talking about here. Deutoronomy 15:9 (another cross reference scripture) talks about praising God for the release and then sneering at the one next to you who needs what you have and not sharing with him. Yeah… we’re still talking about grace.

You make someone’s agony your justice and shove your receipt for grace in their face. “…bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.”

Beware Isaiah 5:20.

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!– Isaiah 5:20 ESV

Get it right and stop hurting people while they’re trying to heal.



5 Comments on “ugly children”

  1. 1 StephenT said at 5:11 am on April 17th, 2014:

    " 'Casting righteousness down to earth' is trying to turn it into something 'man-made'. " … love it!. His righteousness is not man-made.

    Once again you have reminded us, with much insight, that it is about "finding Jesus in the chaos". Thank you.

    I listened to Bryan Chapell's sermon from Sunday, and your post reminded me of part of it:

    "I think sometimes people believe it is the role of a preacher to help people be convinced that their sin needs forgiveness. I actually don't think that's the case. I don't think those in whom the Holy Spirit is working need to be convinced that they are guilty. We know that. We need to be convinced that the wounds of Christ were made for our sin to fit there. So that the guilt we have is not upon us, but as we turn to Christ in faith, our sin is on Him so that we could be free of it now and forever."

    Hearing him say it gives better expression to the words I think. A 2 minute snippet is here:

    My recent post What we need to be convinced of

  2. 2 serenawoods said at 6:26 am on April 17th, 2014:

    Love that quote. 🙂 I'll check that out later.

  3. 3 Dawn said at 10:11 am on April 17th, 2014:

    Interesting, as always 🙂

  4. 4 Missy said at 2:28 pm on April 17th, 2014:

    I'm just starting to read your blog and have every intention of reading your book. I do agree with what you are saying here, but I have to say I can also understand the point of the original comment. Sometimes, to others, our sin stands out more than the Grace that God has given us, depending on how it is shared. I try to be careful when sharing my testimony simply because of that, I don't want God's Grace overshadowed. I love the story in Luke chapter 7 where the sinful woman washes Jesus’ feet. I have felt so moved by Jesus’ gentleness with a woman who must have felt such shame and embarrassment, as I also have. He accepted her as she was and because of her faith she was forgiven and sent in peace. The details of my sins are no longer what define me; those things don’t hold value anymore. I am who He says I am, His.

  5. 5 JeanD said at 2:40 pm on December 1st, 2014:

    Hi Missy, I would like to add that your comment demonstrates a healthy and not inappropriate approach to 'sharing'. However, what I am finding in the church is that you have to be 'through' your sin/pain/healing or at least well on the path before you're allowed to share or be included in grace. 12 Step programs, testimones, that's all great. But what if you aren't there yet? What if you need a safe place right in the middle of it all? That's where I think Serena's post is exceptionally relevant. The church has sent a message that you have to wallow through it all on your own and when you break through, THEN you're allowed your 'testimony' of forgiveness and grace. THEN you can reach out and be accepted and loved and supported. No one, at any point in their journey, either a Believer or otherwise, should be turned away for reaching out. And why else would most people be sharing their story except to be asking for someone to walk with them?

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