Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Come As You Are

I read somewhere where a minister wrote a defence of some action he's recently taken, with the preface that this would be his last word on it.

And I thought, Doesn't the fact that he wants this to be his last word on something, make it suspect? Because when what we do is good, we won't want to hide it under a bushel - we'll want to let our light shine, that all may see our good works, and glorify our Father in heaven.

If we've found godly freedom, we'll always want to be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us.

We'll always be delighted for another opportunity to tell the liberating truth of the Gospel.

Always happy to provide things honestly in the sight of all men.

We'll never wish that we'll never have to talk about something again!

We should be happy for our actions to always be in the light - because it shows that our action was taken in God.

The wish to keep a matter out of the open, means it probably wasn't done in God.

He's on a defensive foot - rather than lovingly outreaching with truth.

Basically, he wants the discussion censored.

If someone has a different conscience to his, he's not allowing them to make it an issue for him anymore - nor for his ministry, nor for his church, nor for anyone else within his sphere of influence. He wants them to keep it to himself, from now on.

But that's now how conscience works, and he should know that. When someone has misgivings about something, he can't only have misgivings about himself doing it - he also has misgivings about anyone doing it.

If something is wrong for him, it's wrong for you too. He wouldn't only grieve if he did it - he also grieves if you do it. Not only does he wish to be preserved from it, he also wishes to save you from it. He also wishes to protect others from coming under your influence to do it. He can't help it - that's how conscience works. Conscience creates obligation - not only to oneself, but to others.

We're called to walk in love. Love doesn't only have regard for one's own conscience - but also for the consciences of others. Love would rather refrain from doing something than to offend our brother.

Nowadays churches are eager to tell people "come as you are". Their desire is that churches become safe-spaces for people who are still coming to terms with issues, issues like addiction, sexuality, and theology.

But what if your issue is that you still believe what your very same church taught you about something, just a few years ago?

Maybe even the minister who wrote this article, believed the same way they do, just a few years ago. So isn't it a bit quick for him to demonise others who still believe as he himself likely believed just a few years ago?

People need a bit more time than that. If someone needs some time, before they're ready to completely reject something their own church taught them just a few years ago, is it really fair just to demonise them for that? Label them judgmental. Religious. Divisive. Pedantic. Shut down all future discussion about it.

What about giving them some space instead. Isn't that love?

Love should be our first consideration, not our own rights - even if we are right and others are unnecessarily conscientious about something.

But the problem is: taking that approach would highlight to him that it would have been better had he not gone and done what he's done.

And that's awkward for him: because it requires considering others rather than just doing what his flesh wanted.

So rather than accept responsibility for the impact of his actions on others - it's easier to blame others for any continuing issues caused by his actions.

He probably doesn't really want to blame others either though: so the only solution is to shut it down.

The only way to really shut it down though, would be for him to refrain from doing it. Because others can't deny their consciences. But he wants to keep doing it. So all he can do is blame others for feeling the way they do, then maybe the issue will go away.

But it isn't really reasonable to expect that every church member immediately rejects what their own church taught them just a few years ago. Human beings aren't all that quick. Demanding it doesn't communicate love. And love should be the goal.

And then after all that, there's still the question of whether the action itself is right or wrong. 

No comments:

Post a Comment