Sunday, 17 July 2011

Mean Christians?












Mean Christians. Now isn’t that an oxymoron – two impossible realities coexisting in the same space? LOL!! But they do exist. We do exist I am sad and sorry to say, but why? Well, we’ll come to that in a minute, but this is what I’ve seen and experienced: These are Christians who have the GIFTS of the Spirit (as opposed to the FRUIT of the Spirit) operating in their lives (for the gifts of God are without repentance. Romans 11:29 The Amplified Bible says it best: “For God’s gifts and His call are irrevocable. [He never withdraws them when once they are given, and He does not change His mind about those to whom He gives His grace or to whom He sends His call.]”) (also see Paul’s autobio at Galatians 1:15-16). They are very intuitive and “discerning, able to “see” things in others accurately most of the time, but the meanness in them hinders the recipients from being able to hear, see, and receive the message being delivered; usually a message of deliverance and salvation. But these types of messages must be served on silver platters of love – real love – not love with sloppy grace and no accountability for ones actions, i.e. “it’s okay, now you can return to your post” love. Real love has within it a change agent like detergent has within it chemicals to remove stains. We are those change agents.

However, we are agents of change first in our OWN lives AFTER we ourselves have received, embraced, and continue to live in that love. After we have first been washed in that detergent. What detergent? The love of God, through Jesus Christ His Son detergent. For what do we have that we have not received? Nothing. Nothing is of us. We own the rights nor the copyrights to nothing in this life, or in the kingdom of God. We can change no one, not even ourselves, but God’s love is the change agent within us – consumed by us, consummated within us, and His all-consuming love consumes us, changes us, and changes others – transforms them through the transformation we’ve experienced by contagion. (Wow, what a neverending sentence that was.) Anyhooo, it is transmitted in/through the AIR – by words (the gospel being preached and taught), by spirit/heart, bodies – physical love manifested in myriad ways. Can you say “show and tell”? And His love is transmitted through prayer.

Mean Christians. We really need to ask God to consume us with His love, “please Lord love all our deep pain and bitterness away!” It’s not all emotional, therefore many of us don’t realize we’re mean because we smile and speak to everyone we meet and see, even sometimes to people we know. J We give our money to the poor and strangers, yet we complain that the friends we loaned money to take too long to pay us back. Why can’t we just give it to our friends too? Duh! Oh, here’s an even better one: why can’t we just loan or give and not tell anyone else but the Lord? How about that one? Then we will receive our reward in heaven which is much greater than any payback we can get down here. Also, another note on that: The Bible doesn’t tell us to loan anything but to GIVE. Therefore, if we don’t have it to give away, then we don’t have it to loan. Just say “no, I don’t have it. Sorry.” That’s not being mean. That’s being real.

Mean Christians. Full of public diplomacy, but talking out of both sides of their mouths, breaking commitments because better ones come along (especially money motivated ones), betraying the confidence of those we call friends as though we own the rights to their private stories, and disclosing their identities in the telling as well. What’s up with that? Gossiping Christians are mean Christians. Which reminds me of a true story. I was having a great and funny conversation with a good friend. We laughed so hard he could not breathe. What in the world did we talk about? Ourselves. We talked about our quirks and our conversations with God as we’re trying to respond to His . . . you got it, love. Oh we had one hilarious time and before we hung up I said to him “we talked and laughed for an entire hour about God and ourselves, gheri/jheri/Jerry’s curls and the movie ‘Coming to America’ and not one word of other peoples’ business, which is none of our business anyway. Not even a movie star.” We did not reveal the secrets of others to each other for we found our lives to already be funny and worth talking about.

It’s not necessary for us to talk about and laugh about other people, or even talk about the negatives. Unless we’re going to pray for them, we have nothing worthwhile to say. All we have to do is think about ourselves – from where we’ve come, remembering all the Lord has done, the good, the bad and the ludicrous of our lives and we can have a laugh for free at no one’s expense, for we’ve already lived and produced the movie. On top of that, we can make each other’s day for in all of our life’s stories is some kind of inspiration, if for no one else but ourselves. Yes, I’m inspired by my own life and existence for I know that it could be different. It could be worse. I could be in another hot world. But for the grace of God . . .

Bisous Bisous!! Hee hee, but just before you arrived I dogged you to a stranger (someone you didn’t know) because you were late for our rendezvous. That’s witchcraft. Ick and ew as Buffy would say. Mean Christians. Well, enough of that.

Why are Christians mean? Because when we received Jesus Christ we were not immediately and continuously bathed and marinated and soaked in His love until the texture and “flavor” of our characters were transformed by His. We were “raised” by other mean Christians who were our examples of Christians. Religious and legalistic Christians, like the Pharisees – full of traditions and rituals, knowing all the scriptures, church doctrines, on every board in the church, never missing a service, keeping all the floors and pews clean etc. are mean Christians. Religion does not make happy Christians. But a relationship with Jesus Christ living His life in and through us, off the cross and out of the tomb mind you will make us full of joy and more laughter, even when times are not so funny. Many of us got saved like this: took a shower, not with a washcloth or loofah but rubbed on the soap by hand, not turning off the water first, so really soap and dirt never made contact. We barely dried off, so that the towel could have done the job the soap missed, put on clean underwear (I won’t say more about that) and beautiful clothing on top. And don’t forget the expensive perfume, no not cologne. Then we went out with our gifted and talented selves and were told we could and should start evangelizing the world because Jesus has saved us from a living hell etc. But we still don’t KNOW Jesus. We just met Him, shook His hand (actually the pastor’s hand and those who gave us the right hand of fellowship for joining the church of other mean Christians), picked up a Bible, some Gospel tracts and a microphone and off we went in the name of the Lord out into the wild blue yonder! Yippee! PTL and God is good all the time and all those other Christianized and zealot clich├ęs we’re covered in like post-its on a cork board. Whew. J

But inside of us remained the remains of the “old creature”. You know what happens to dead things? They rot and give off toxins and poison the environment around them. This is why we have cementaries (you caught that didn’t you) . . . because it is not healthy and safe for the dead to live among the living. Hmmmmm. Five m’s that time. (Yes, I did mean to NOT say “the living among the dead”. Things that make you go hmmm.) There must be a healthy separation for no one builds a house in a cemetery. (No typos that time.) J That’s why Jesus rose from the dead after three days in the tomb. It was impossible for Him to live with the dead. (Just one reason of course, from my book.)

It takes time to know Jesus, hence it takes time to become like Him. It takes time to be transformed from a mean person to a gentle person. To “BE” means to manifest, to “become” in reality and normality (I make up some words as I go along) from the inside out. Not just a smile and a hug and a “praise the Lord I’m wonderfully blessed and highly flavored!” NO! So, “if any man/woman BE IN Christ he/she is a New creature. Old things have passed away, behold ALL things have/are/do become new.” (II Corinthians 5:17) [emphasis mine] This verse is two-fold. In one fold it’s talking about our position in Christ in the Kingdom of God. This is an immediate change when we receive Christ into our lives. We’ve made a move from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of Light. The second fold describes the process of becoming new, becoming Christ-like first in our spirit, and soul, and then our actions. It goes something like this, from the “AllntheJeans World Book of some living, learning and understanding”:

Once a person not only receives Christ into her heart, but in turn surrenders her entire self to Him – Spirit, soul and body (and goes on to spend time daily learning what that means and then learning how to apply it first to herself), Jesus lives inside of her, living His life through her, changing her from the inside out to reflect His character of love through her. Old ways of thinking, talking, behaving, spending money, time, energies, etc. die away, maybe little by little and others right away, but they do die because they Have passed away (positionally at the kingdom exchange toll booth, and by faith), and therefore must and will manifest in reality that faith. ALL things are NEW as she is IN Christ covered by His blood, washed in the water of His Word, purified by the fire of His LOVE which burns away all malice, bitterness, wrath, gossiping, etc. (Titus 3:2-6) as Paul also teaches from the mouth of Jesus the Christ. (Remember the Damascus Road - Acts 9:1-9). Oh yeah, Paul - Saul was a mean Pharisee and he had to spend years in the desert alone being changed by Jesus the Christ before God could trust him to the baby church born just after Christ’s resurrection. (Acts 7:58; 8:1, 3; Galatians 1:15-24) He was full of RELIGION. (Galatians 1:13-14) Moses also was a mean Egyptian Hebrew/Hebrew Egyptian and he had to spend 40 years in the desert being melted so he could be gentle like a shepherd to lead Israel to the Promised Land. Just to name a few.

Maybe you are a Moses or a Saul turned Paul. But it still takes time to be transformed for old habits die hard, and those we’ve had since childhood, or that were passed on to us through our DNA, genes, lineage, ancestral lines etc. parental and familial “show and tell” examples and models; and those we fell in love with and addicted to, and those we did that affected no one else so we were never brought on the carpet concerning them for they were “nobody’s business if I did”, those “habits” that society says are legal and okay so it must be alright for a Christian to do too, for after all we are IN this world J and how can we have a testimony if we never did anything? Hmmm, I think you get the picture. It takes the rest of our lives to be like Jesus, but that’s still no excuse for Christians to remain mean for the entire journey.

The process of this Christian Love-walk with God doesn’t and did not happen and start “in the shower” on the first day that God entered our heart/life. (Then again, maybe for some readers that is where you met the Lord. I wasn’t there after all. My bad. J) Therefore we need to spend some quiet time with Him letting Him LOVE us clean. Outside of and away from our boisterous and energized church services, pretty clothes and makeup. We cannot live in church; we ARE the church. We must live in the world which is why we need as much personal time with Christ as possible. Sometimes love will feel and be like warm oil being massaged into the aching shoulders, neck and back. Other times love will feel like a loofah instead or a pumice stone. Love may sometimes feel and smell like rose petals and silk after a grueling day. At other times it may feel like a bone being broken so it may be reset for proper growth. Maybe at times love will feel and be like a sharp knife trimming away some meat with the fat because there’s no other way to get it all out – the infection, the bad and unwanted parts.

When patients are being treated with chemotherapy or radiation for cancer, some healthy cells and tissue die along with the cancerous ones. Depending on the complexity of our personalities i.e. hard-headed, hard-hearted, hot-tempered, hot-headed, stubborn and rebellious, deceived and blind to our own faults, etc. God sometimes has to extract some of our “good” as His love lovingly removes the cancerous mean cells from our personalities. But Isaiah 64:6 says that “ ALL our righteousness (our best deeds of rightness and justice) is as filthy rags.” [Amplified Bible] {emphasis mine} So it matters not how good we think we are, God knows better than us that and if we are mean, and why we are mean.

What do we do? Let’s submit and subject ourselves to, marinate, submerge and swim in God’s love for us so much until we don’t even recognize ourselves, and all we see, hear, feel and know is Jesus-love. WWJD. That’s what HE did! He was so convinced of His Father’s love for Him, He found it easy to love you and me all the way to Calvary. We must let His love massage our heart’s pains and wounds and the bruises in our souls until healing sets in and we are made whole. Let us learn to believe in His love and acceptance of us no matter what kind of childhood or adulthood we may or may not have experienced. Let’s not just memorize and quote and pray His Word, but let’s taste Him (“oh taste and see that the Lord is good”), ingest Him, digest Him, consume Him and let Him by His love consume us to the point that His nature becomes real in us. This is not mindless, silly, stupid, out-of-their-minds Christianity. No, this is an intelligent, wise, knowledgeable, relationship with God. This is kingdom living. This is the way God has designed for us to become loving, patient and kind like Himself, for God is love. (I Corinthians 13:4-8, 13) It’s time for us to make the phrase “Mean Christians” an oxymoron.

Peace.

Some more good reading to marinate in:

  • Ephesians 4:31-32
  • Colossians 3:8-10
  • I Peter 2:1
  • Isaiah 53