Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Could it be me?

Could it be me?
Max Lucado shares this story in his book "Facing Your Giants":
In a concentration camp, a guard announced a shovel was missing. Screaming at the men, he kept insisting someone had stolen it.  He shouldered his rifle, ready to kill one prisoner at a time until a confession was made. As the story continues, a Scottish soldier broke ranks, stood stiffly at attention, and said, “I did it.”  The guard killed the man. As they returned to camp, the shovels were counted. The guard had made a mistake.  No shovel was missing after all.
Now Max was using this story to illustrate Jesus taking the blame for our sins, but I want to approach it from another angle.  The angle of the guard. The guard thought someone stole the shovel and all along it wasn't missing. We are guilty many times of blaming others for our shortcomings or mistakes.  Sort of like us blaming your spouse for moving your keys when we lose them only to find them in our coat pocket or blaming your kids for forgetting to turn off a light, when it was you  who forgot.

There are dying and divided churches all over this country full over well-meaning people who won't let go of control or reigns of the leadership in the church, or not so well-meaning christians who hinder, hurts, or hold the church back with their legalism, traditions, set in the ways mentality, and they fight and resist any changes because they think those things hurt the church, when in reality, they are the ones who are hurting the church by their refusal to move aside, let go, or cooperate.
Whether it's well meaning or not, is not the issue, good intentions and bad intentions still end up with the same result when the are wrong or based on selfishness, stubbornness, ignorance, or controlling ways.  I can do the wrong thing with the best of intentions and it's still wrong. I can do something the same way for 40 years and have been doing it wrong 40 years, or I can do something that works for awhile, but eventually it stops working and it needs fixed or change, but I refuse and cause more damage, sort of like driving on a car with bald tires for months after they should have been replaced until you finally end up wrecking your car or having a blow-out that cause damage to your vehicle.
We have to take a good hard, honest , & sincere look at ourselves and ask ourselves some difficult questions:  Am I holding the church hostage when I don't get my way? Am I keeping the church from growing by not allowing new people to serve? Am I hurting the church by continuing to lead when I'm not long willing, able, or equipped to lead?  Am I hindering the the church from growing by being rude, selfish, or judgmental of others and running them off from the church?  Could it be me when I keep blaming others or making excuses to why the church isn't growing or healthy?
So many times we are so self-unaware, even with good intentions we still be doing the wrong things.  We want to live in the past, hold onto the past, or worship our preferences and traditions over God working and moving in our church and lives.  If we are part of the problem, we need to realize that we are and either change our attitude, our hearts, our vision, our motives, or our ways or we need to be mature enough to be willing to follow others or simply move out of the way so others can do what God has  called them to do. There also may be cases where we need to repent and ask for forgiveness for hindering, hurting, or holding God's church back.
When you have to fight to maintain control, or get your way, or go behind the scenes to make things happen in order to get your way or keep control whether in a job, on a team, in a relationship, and especially in a church, it's just plan wrong, and even more I think it's sin.  
I've always heard if you think everyone else around you is crazy and your the only sane person, chances are you are the crazy one.  Same goes for church, when you think other people are always the problem or blame in the church for it not growing or reaching it's potential, chances are you may be part of the problem.   So you need to change or get out of the way so that God can move and work in His people  to build His kingdom of reaching the lost and helping members grow and mature in their faith(making disciples).   Changes isn't wrong, keeping up with times isn't a sin, and trying new things of doing things a different way isn't evil as long as it's biblical and about obeying God.
How great could our local churches be, if good leaders would lead, bad leaders would resign and let good leaders lead, if certain people didn't try to run the church and instead let God do the running, it's His job anyway, and just were a willing servant ready to serve.  How much could a church accomplish in the local community if the members all worked together to help the church and not hurt it, to hold up one another instead of holding the church hostage so they can continue to have control, or if they moved out of the way or moved to an attitude of serving others and God instead of hindering the work that God was trying to do their in their local body?   
Remember in the OT when King David had an affair with Bathsheba and then she got pregnant and David had her husband Uriah killed so that he could cover it up? And God sent Nathan to confront David and this is what Nathan said to David:
2 Samuel 12:4-6(NIV)“Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.”David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this must die! He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.”Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man!
David was angered at the story and the treatment of the people in the story, until He realized Nathan was talking about Him and He did the same thing as the rich man in the story.  We like David need to repent of our sins, accept responsibility for our actions and attitudes and change our hearts so that we can serve God not ourselves. Don't be the reason the church is dying, dwindling, dividing, or damaged.  Help it! Love it! Support it! Care for it.  

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