Saturday, May 9, 2009

Real life HAS to be messy

Over the last couple of years, Daniel and I have been able to question a lot of things about Christianity due to the great friends that we have come to know who believed things a little different than us (or were questioning things at the time too.) We've questioned and broken down our thoughts and beliefs on things from the trinity to if we believe you can lose your salvation. We KNOW that Christianity is more than going to church...and we know that it is about becoming more like Christ. But being or trying to be like Christ is so stinking hard! We've been fighting to rid our lives of the sin that God has revealed to us in our lives...we've renounced generational sin that has been passed down through our that those sins stop with us and that those "curses" and consequences will not be passed down to our children. We've learned more and more about spiritual warfare. We've learned about honoring God with our finances.

I think you would agree that as Christians, we spend most of our Bible reading time in the New Testament or in certain Old Testament "favorites". (Daniel, the Flood, the Exit, etc.) But as we read more and more of the Old Testament (which Jesus came to fulfill not do away with!) we've learned so much about what God really asks of us.

I've always thought (and was taught) that Sodom was destroyed because, yes, there was no one found righteous; but that their sin was homosexuality. (They wanted to rape the male angels, remember? Genesis 19: 1-5) This context is always used in sermons about homosexuality. But Daniel pointed this interesting verse out to me the other day. Here, Ezekiel is told to confront Jerusalem who has been unfaithful to God (again) And this is what Ezekiel says: (16:49)

Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. 50 They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.

Now, the "prideful" part of me will excuse myself from arrogance, I don't necessarily see myself as arrogant. (PAH!) But anyone else out there (besides me) overfed? Are you unconcerned about the things that concern God? I care about the poor and needy, but what have I DONE to help the poor and needy?

What about Isaiah 58?

6-9"This is the kind of fast day I'm after:
to break the chains of injustice,
get rid of exploitation in the workplace,
free the oppressed,
cancel debts.
What I'm interested in seeing you do is:
sharing your food with the hungry,
inviting the homeless poor into your homes,
putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad,
being available to your own families.
Do this and the lights will turn on,
and your lives will turn around at once.
Your righteousness will pave your way.
The God of glory will secure your passage.
Then when you pray, God will answer.
You'll call out for help and I'll say, 'Here I am.'

9-12"If you get rid of unfair practices,
quit blaming victims,
quit gossiping about other people's sins,
If you are generous with the hungry
and start giving yourselves to the down-and-out,
Your lives will begin to glow in the darkness,
your shadowed lives will be bathed in sunlight.
I will always show you where to go.
I'll give you a full life in the emptiest of places—
firm muscles, strong bones.
You'll be like a well-watered garden,
a gurgling spring that never runs dry.
You'll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew,
rebuild the foundations from out of your past.
You'll be known as those who can fix anything,
restore old ruins, rebuild and renovate,
make the community livable again.

When was the last time a homeless person entered your house?!? I have a hard enough time meeting their eyes when I see them, let alone give them money...and invite them into my house?!? I have children, what about safety issues??? I'm not sure that God really meant to invite them into your house...but our homes are intimate places, right? They are our safe havens in the world...or they're supposed to be anyway. So, maybe God's saying we're supposed to do more than just give them money, or more than give money/goods to organizations. Our hearts, our feelings of concern are to go beyond the extra change we've given and then our thoughts move on. We are to be part of the solution. We are to give of ourselves. It's easy to give money or goods. It's impersonal...that's why it's easy. Being personal is uncomfortable.

THAT is what following Christ, being more Christ like is all about. Yes, we can help by donating clothes and canned goods...but is that going to fix the problem??? We are to be about the Father's business. We are supposed to be making God's will being done on earth. And what is His will? (Do you really need to ask???) What is His will for those who are homeless?? What is His will for those who are hungry? Not just to feed them for today...but to do something to ensure that NO ONE will ever go hungry. Is this hard? Yes. Can we solve world hunger before Christ comes again? Probably not. BUT....BUT....we're sure supposed to be trying.

Our hands may need to get a little dirtier washing other people's feet. Our feet may not get as many pedicures because that money is paying off someone else's house debt. We may have to include those excluded and discarded people into our life plans. It's so messy. It's so uncomfortable. It's so necessary. It's so like Jesus.

You think your church is empty now? What if the evidence of fruit (of being a Christian) was required before church admittance? Man, would I be let in? Would you? Praise God, our salvation is not dependent upon our performance...but we should have evidence that we've been saved. God does ask things of His children...He has from the beginning. He admonishes those He loves and disciplines those that are His.

Chaz watches a lot of Veggie Tales. His favorite is "Gideon the Tuba Warrior" (which is great btw!) And one of my favorite lines from the movie is a conversation between Gideon and the angel sent to him.

Gideon: "Is this some kind of a pep-talk? I expected a little more 'well done, my good and faithful servant."

Angel: "If you want to hear The Lord say, 'Well done' then you'll have to do what He says!"

"The LORD God has told us

what is right

and what he demands:

"See that justice is done,

let mercy be your first concern,

and humbly obey your God."

Micah 6:8

1 comment:

karenstacy said...

Yikes! Excuse me those are my toes you are dancing upon!
I love how you always make real life real. You don't live in a house free of sin, you don't live picture perfect and you let us see where you are and how you are growing as a person and as a Christian.
I agree real life is not something you see on postcards or Chirstmas pictures.
I heard something the other day that I thought you would like cause I liked it too.
"If the Bible was a TV show, We wouldn't let our kids watch it."
How very true because the Bible shows us real life, real sin and real consequences.
Real people who were stalked to be killed, real men who stole other women, real incest and war and killing and so many other real situations .

I love your view of life
wow that was long