Sold Out to Whom?

26 03 2006

Sold Out to Whom?

Joshua 24:9-10 (NIV) 9 When Balak son of Zippor, the king of Moab, prepared to fight against Israel, he sent for Balaam son of Beor to put a curse on you. 10 But I would not listen to Balaam, so he blessed you again and again, and I delivered you out of his hand.

Yesterday I read a blog that concerned me.  It saddened me to.  We, as a Christian church, have done a very poor job of revealing God’s true character.  There are so many people who have only seen the legion of negative Christian “ambassadors” that they have come to believe that all Christians are controlling, judgmental, intolerant, and greedy.  This saddens me.

Even in my own hometown, the local independent newspaper constantly bashes the Christian right.  Organizations like Focus on the Family are giving Christians a bad name – I believe.  From where I stand, the Christian right is no longer championing God’s love for others – instead they seem to have deviated ever-so slightly to the family values agenda.

Although this is a good cause, it really has nothing to do with helping people to reconcile with God.  It is focused on people’s behavior, not their character.  From my reading of the Bible, especially the four gospels, I never see Jesus trying to change or modify people’s behavior.  He never attacks the sins of the common man or woman.  But, with that said, I must say that Jesus is not so gentle with the religious leaders of His time.

Like the writer of the blog above has pointed out, as followers of Jesus, we need to be more focused on the needs of the people.  Our mission and calling, according to Jesus commands in Matthew 28, is to help others become followers of Jesus.  This is best done through true caring and compassion for the people around us.

However, because of our ulterior motives, hidden agendas, and bait-and-switch tactics, we have created many enemies.  It is time for us to be real and authentic.

For some, it may be too late.  They may have developed a hatred so deep that they are unable to forgive the church’s indiscretions.  That saddens me.  Sometimes the very people who preach tolerance are intolerant of the intolerant.  Sometimes they don’t understand that there besides the Christian right, there is the Christian moderates (centrists), and the Christian liberals (left).

Balak was afraid of God’s people and he tried to employ Balaam to curse them.  Balaam was unable to do so because of God’s blessings.  Balaam pretended to be a man of God, but sold his soul for cash.  He looked like he was serving God, but really he was serving those who had an agenda that was not aligned with God.  Interestingly, God and His people prevailed.

Our enemy is not the person who wrote the blog (linked above), they are only pointing out the emperor’s lack of clothing.  Our enemy is the one who distracts people from God’s true character – that is a God of abundance who seeks to restore us from a life that leads to hopeless, painful, shameful, and stressful existence.  Not through arbitrary rules, punitive judgment, or coercion.  No, the God I know helps me, guides me, and leads me to live a life of hope, joy (contentment), and reality.

By drawing nearer and nearer to God, I find greater peace and purpose.  I am not afraid of the Balaks and Balaams of the world – what I am most concerned about are those who have never had the opportunity to see past these scammers to observe a God that has none of their traits.

Father God, please teach me to be a better representative of who you truly are.  I fail, I’m an idiot, I still suffer the consequences of my addictions and shame.  Continue to work with me to be more like you – unselfish, without ulterior motives, and only concerned about my life in your presence.





One response

24 04 2006

Whenever I read about Christian action groups trying to change public morality through condemnation, I remember Paul’s counsel from 1 Corinthians 5, particularly verses 12 and 13. “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside.”

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