When Christians Don’t Christian

28 01 2018

I hear from individuals regularly who want to discuss, debate or question my faith and Rock _nthe things I write about. Recently a friend told me this story with a question.

He had started going to a church in his town that he really liked. The pastor, congregation and overall attitude there made him feel comfortable and he never missed a Sunday. Then one day at work he recognized the back of a man he met at church that was talking to a group of guys in the cafeteria. He heard laughter coming from the table they sat at so decided to walk over and join in. As he drew nearer he could hear the individual talking and telling jokes that fell into the category of raunchy! Feeling a little uneasy he continued walking up until the man could see him. As soon as their eyes met there was a sober moment between them. Then the other man smirked, said hi and turned back to his buddies. My young friend turned away part in anger, part in confusion. The next Sunday he noticed this man kept a distance between the two of them but still acted in his typical nice and “holy” ways (my friend’s words, not mine). After the service the young man mentioned to the pastor he recently found out the other person worked at the same place. The pastor’s response? “Oh yes, I am so thankful he comes to our church; he really loves the Lord.”  My friend walked out of the church that day and never returned. Now his question came, “How can you say he’s a Christian or that Christianity is even so great if they allow someone like this guy to be a part of them?” Now there’s a topic on which volumes could be written, but since I’m just a blogger I’ll keep my responses short and answer to the best of my ability.

1st. Let’s say perhaps this man isn’t really a Christian; I don’t know. But maybe he comes to church because his family always went there, maybe because of his wife. Or perhaps he realizes he has problems and needs help; possibly he hopes someday he’ll overcome his weakness.  After all, wouldn’t it be better to come with problems over staying away and letting the bad-behavior grow worse? Jesus said it himself, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Mark2:17

2nd. Let’s say this guy is playing a game and figures he’ll never get caught. Billy Sunday said it this way, “Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to a garage makes you an automobile.” Just because a man hides his ways from others doesn’t mean God doesn’t know the truth. “I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.” Jeremiah 17:10. If this man is playing a game it’s a dangerous one; I pray he comes to a full understanding of God’s love before it’s too late.

3rd. To use an old adage, “Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven.” I don’t care who you are, we all make mistakes and will continue to make bad decisions in this earthly vessel we call life. That’s why Jesus came; He knows we could never make it without Him. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:31. From this perspective I get a picture of someone who struggles with something bad in their life, but that doesn’t mean God has rejected him. A Loving Father doesn’t work that way. “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.” John 3:16,17. I pray this man brings his troubles to Christ, and continues to do so. It’s like putting on muscle; if you stay at it you will get stronger. “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13.

4th. As I told my young friend, give your pastor a break! Shepherds, as I call them are some of the hardest working people I’ve ever met. They labor continuously to bring the Word of God to others as well as care for the needs of the ones God has placed before them. They have no magical way of knowing what people do all the time; they can only do what God has placed before them. “We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves.” 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13. “And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding” Jeremiah 3:15.  As I told my friend, “Pray for your pastor and be a help to him when you can; he needs you as much as you need him.”

5th I finally posed this question to my friend, “If you see what is wrong, what are you doing that is right?” It’s easy to see what someone does that’s wrong, the hard part is deciding what is right, and then doing it. I pointed out that excluding himself from the church, other believers and God didn’t right the wrong he saw in this man’s life, it pushed him away from blessings that were there for him, such as Grace, Mercy, Forgiveness, Love. Galatians 6:9 says, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Says it all, huh?

Well I got longer winded on this subject than I wanted to and I’m sure I missed other important answers to my young friend’s question. But if you’ll take another moment to read one more thought that I believe every “Traveler of the Rock Road” ought to consider; it just might make a difference when upsetting matters come your way. I’ve used it before but it’s worth repeating.

ATTITUDE by Charles Swindoll

The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company… a church… a home.

The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude… I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.

And so it is with you… we are in charge of our attitudes.

See ya next time.


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2 responses

29 01 2018
Gary Austin

John, Do you think Matthew 18:15-18 be relevant to this situation? Gary Austin

Sent from my iPhone

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29 01 2018
rockroad

I really know nothing of the man but very good point
Gary. Sad to say that in our modern times many churches are reluctant to approach biblical discipline, not wanting to offend or jump to conclusions; least that’s what I’ve been told. My young friend would have had the slightest idea on how to approach this passage. I’ve been called on twice for this purpose. The 1st was part of group of men back in Ohio who went to a wayfaring Brother who refused to listen that he was sinning. He left the area and unfortunately brought ruin to several people including his own family. The 2nd I went to a friend by myself who had left his wife and family for another woman. He was very combatant and again refused to see where he was sinning. He told me and later a group of men that it didn’t matter anyhow. He and his new wife would stay away from church for a year and then find a new one where they would welcome them with open arms. Sad part was he was completely right.
We press on my Brother and ask God to give us a strength and boldness to love each other enough to be held accountable for the sake of ourselves and the Cross.

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