Monday, October 11, 2010

Correction Is Tough For All Parties

Hello Everyone,

I hope that you all are having a good day thus far.  I am doing pretty good this fine Monday.  You know, since last Friday I had been planning to start replaying a study in which I did back in August through September of 2007 on evil in the world.  I was ready to get started this morning, when the Holy Spirit gave me another topic to do. Seeing that I want to be obedient I will relinquish my day to Him and try again tomorrow (providing I do not get another topic to do *lol*).

Today, I want to talk about something that many people say about all religions, although you probably already know my thoughts about lumping Christianity together into religion (see It's History, Not Just a Religion).  My point of view is from that of a Christian and my concern surrounds the recent comments that I have seen/heard as of late.  The one that has struck a nerve with me is the idea that people who believe in God have no brains of their own.  To go one step further, some believe many use religion as a way to control people and to line their pockets with money.  My issue with these beliefs is that people who do not know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, read and hear these comments and believe them.  As with anything else it the world, it is easier to spread the bad news than it is the good news, because most people have an appetite for what's wrong with the world instead of what's right with it.

In a time where it seems many Pastors are being outed for doing what they preach against or for being accused of criminal acts, it is not hard to understand why people believe what they believe.  In many ways, it is the truth.  There is no other way to sugar coat it.  There are people out there who have no other intention other than to manipulate people into believing certain aspects of the Word of God so that it may benefit them financially.  I can speak, because I have experienced this myself.  The problem is that many Christians would adamantly deny the claims above which I have stated without providing adequate reasoning for their position.  Thus, we fail at reaching the non-Christian.

The first step for many Christians is accept the fact that we a major image problem.  It does not help the fact that we have a few bad apples out there ruining for the bunch.  I equate the Christian hurdles for carrying out the Great Commission (see Matthew 28:16-20) to the same problem that a company has when the have a major issue.  Let's look at this example with the airlines..

An Air Plane Crash  - It is not an every day occurrence, but every once in a while an will airplane crash.  The very moment that one does, we hear it every where.  Every news network covers it constantly and images are everywhere on the web.  You cannot get away from it.  People look for someone to blame for the accident and an investigation is started to find exactly what happened.  By now, we know how this plays out in the media.  The problem that the airlines have is that they could take a hit in ticket sales because of the accident.  People remember seeing the broken tail fin with the airline's logo on it or the smoldering wreckage which is only identifiable by the little black box found (which the media does a great job of letting you know which airlines it was).  What we fail to keep in mind that there are thousands of flights that occur daily.  Look at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, IL.  According to Wikipedia, "In 2008, the airport had 881,566 aircraft operations, an average of 2,409 per day...O'Hare International Airport is the third busiest airport in the world with 64,397,782 passengers passing through the airport in 2009, a -9.07% change from 2008."  What I highlighted is one day's worth of operations for one airport.  Think of how many planes that are flying over your head as we speak.  You never hear about them, but you hear about the one that goes down.  It's a pure PR nightmare for the airlines industry, specifically the company that experienced the accident.

I know I went a little in depth on the airlines example, but I wanted to drive in the point.  There are many bad pastors, ministry leaders, etc. out there.  In the same breath, every Sunday there are a ton of good people doing the right things for the Kingdom of God according to scripture.  You never hear about them though.  You only hear about the folks who "crash and burn" on the world stage as being hypocrites and blasphemers. 

There use to be a saying that talked about a man's word being his bond.  I took this to mean that what someone spoke to you is what they meant.  Not only did they mean it, but you could count on them to follow through on their words with action.  Today, all people can be misleading and this does not exclude someone in ministry.  They are still people and they make mistakes, no matter in how high of esteem you hold them.  The Word of God tells us to

(15)"Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. (16) By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? (17) Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. - Matthew 7:15-17

Yes, many things can be misused to mislead people for malcontent.  It is not just with religion, but with companies, non-profits, and the list could be a mile long.  It is up to us to decide whether or not the tree we are eating from is yielding bad fruit. 

For Christians.

We have work to do.  Yes there are bad blotches against us, but that just means we have to work extra hard reach those flooded with misinformation.  This means that if you are the sheep of a shepherd in wolf's clothing, then it is your responsibility to not subject yourself to manipulation.  James 1:22-25 says,

(22) Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. (23) Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror (24) and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. (25) But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.

I understand that people are loyal to their Pastor and church.  Some will quickly quote you Psalm 105:15, which says, "Do not touch my anointed ones; do my prophets no harm."  That is fine. You do not have to touch those who are in leadership, but you do have a responsibility in identifying if you are eating good or bad fruit (there goes Matthew 7:15-17 again).  If you are eating bad fruit, leave and find good fruit.  Your loyalty is not to a person, building or location, but to Jesus Christ. 

For Non-Christians.

For those who are seeking out the existence of God, do not be mislead or become frustrated by what you see and/or hear.  There are Christians out there doing the right thing and you can know that by how they live their lives.  I encourage you to give Jesus a try and taste and see that He is good.  I have said it before an I will say it again.  You cannot say something is bad if you have never experienced it. 

I hope this has helped someone today.  If I have misrepresented the Word of God I will quickly apologize and correct any errors.  If you are a Christian and this offended you then I make no apology to you.  I stand by what I mean and I mean what I say.  It could be that the Holy Spirit has alerted you that there is some work to do on your part.  Proverbs 13:13-18 says,

(13) He who scorns instruction will pay for it, but he who respects a command is rewarded. (14) The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, turning a man from the snares of death. (15) Good understanding wins favor, but the way of the unfaithful is hard. (16) Every prudent man acts out of knowledge, but a fool exposes his folly. (17) A wicked messenger falls into trouble, but a trustworthy envoy brings healing. (18) He who ignores discipline comes to poverty and shame,  but whoever heeds correction is honored.

As teachers and students of Christ, it is not our job to make everyone happy, but to make sure the Gospel goes forth unhindered, unaltered, and unblemished.

Be blessed and I hope you all have a great Monday!


Antoine E. Hall


"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says." - James 1:22
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