Category: Character

Don’t tune out the Message because of an imperfect Messenger

A couple weeks ago during chapel service at the Bible College where I’m an instructor, I came close to missing out on a word from God, all because of my superficial assessment of the messenger. I realized that time constraints were at least partly to blame for what I felt was a slip-shod presentation. After all, the man had barely twelve minutes to present a teaching that would have been difficult to follow had he been allotted much more than that. Unfortunately the man’s hand-out didn’t help matters much, for it was complicated, disjointed and even contained some reference errors. Though I didn’t vocalize my critical assessment of the teaching, I did so in my mind.

Yet barely five days later in a totally different setting, one of the men in our prayer group began to expound on the same subject, using the same three verses that made up the heart of the earlier message. To paraphrase Ephesians 1:3-5, “The Christian exists in a relation of rest, selected by God before the world was created, to be sacred, physically pure, morally blameless as a saint, adopted as His son.” This is my identity in Christ.

God got my attention. Over the next couple of days I found myself delving through the man’s handout as well as the deep recesses of my memory where I had shelved his utterances. I ultimately concluded that his teaching constituted an amazing revelation of truth. I’m so glad that God is omni-patient and omni-merciful with the likes of me. When I miss what He sends my way via one source, He doesn’t just leave me hanging out there to dry – but provides an alternate source to confirm and bring clarity to the message.

How often do we tune out a potentially important message because, even before the messenger speaks, we place a presumptive value on what’s likely to come out of their mouth based on something we think we know or have heard others tell us about the messenger, or just because we have a hard time identifying with him or her? I think we do it a lot more than we’re willing to admit, and much more than we even recognize. An elder in a church might opine that the young visiting minister doesn’t have the maturity to teach him anything; while the young congregant may be just as biased against a senior, “whose time has passed him by” and isn’t hip to the latest methods and gadgets.

If we truly believe God’s Word, we have to acknowledge that at times He’s used donkeys, plants and even inanimate objects to get His people’s attention and reveal knowledge. He can surely use the least of us to communicate to His Church, regardless of our individual failings. But only those who are open will receive that truth and become His voice to convey that truth to those within our own sphere of influence.

Iron sharpens Iron

Most Saturday mornings I join fifteen to twenty-five other men in our church lobby to share what’s going on in each of our lives and to uplift our brothers.  We encourage each other, provide God’s counsel and share God’s solutions to the natural challenges we each face. None of us ever know what to expect when we enter that room at 7:00 am; but experience has taught us that over the next hour and a half each of us will receive one or more words of wisdom that will be apropos to our unique life situation.

This week was no different. As we talked in general about relationship issues, an elder gentleman reminded us that in especially close relationships (husband to wife, parent to child, even good friend to good friend), when we perceive a problem, the human tendency is to want to “teach” the other. This is usually not a good idea! For words of admonishment to loved-ones are often less effective and potentially more combative than simply demonstrating by one’s own life the lesson we hope to convey. I found this word though simple, to be invaluable.

Something in the make-up of women seems to make it natural for them to form and maintain close bonds with other women that allow them to expose their frailties and concerns about life and its challenges and to ask for guidance. But men need those special bonds with other men as well. We need a trusted core of like-minded brothers with whom we can share our trials and seek and obtain good counsel and to whom we are accountable for our actions. Wise old Solomon clearly understood this principle when he said: “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.”

Some in this community of encouragers and advisors have been serving this need for twenty-four years now. It might seem like it takes a lot of commitment to show up at 7:00 am on the only morning that many men have to sleep in. However, to me personally, it’s been not only well worth the cost, but it’s been a necessity. I encourage every man I talk with to join us. If you’re not a part of such a community you need to join one. And if you don’t know of one in your area, you need to form one.

Resolutions for 2016 and beyond

New Years Resolutions   I’ve never been a beginning-of-the-New-Year resolution-maker. I’ve always felt you ought to do what you ought to do and not have to resolve each new year to become the person you should have been in the first place. But in these my sunset years perhaps there are some substantive attitudes and behaviors worth resolving to adhere to, not just for 2016 but for a lifetime. Therefore I welcome my friends and family to challenge me should I allow to lapse or sway from any of those listed below.

  1. I will use my time wisely. I will not “spend” it – rather I will “invest” it where it will produce the greatest fruit.
  2. I will seek direction from and be guided by the One who knows me and my unique needs and talents and Who is able and willing to do so.
  3. I will stay true to the Word of God and remain confident in His Promises. I will not be swayed by any of the multitude of cultural, political or religious forces that surround and tug at me.
  4. I will use my words to lift up and not deflate. We all need to be reminded occasionally that we are not failures simply because we have failed – we are only failures if we give up.
  5. I will encourage others to seek a God-solution to their problems, questions and needs.
  6. I will strive to shine a spotlight on the enemy: his finesse and subtlety, his deceptive tactics and his destructive nature.

Some important Biblical lessons I’ll bet you haven’t given much thought to – Truth #1

     Matthew 11-28 Jesus used many different styles to teach the people, but the parable seemed to be His favorite. And yet, when asked by His disciples why he used parables His strange response was: “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.” Then He quoted a prophesy of Isaiah that says essentially the same thing. In other words, there is knowledge and wisdom hidden in the Scriptures that is hidden to those who have no interest in knowing the truth; and yet to any and everyone who is serious about discovering truth and who seeks it out through study, research, prayer and meditation, it will be opened up to them.

Over the next few weeks my blog is going to touch upon a few such “not so obvious” truths – things that most of you probably haven’t given much thought to. Yet this is knowledge and wisdom that is critical if you are to become the complete person God intended for you and if you are to be used by Him to your full potential.

This week’s hidden truth I entitle:

Don’t be the person God orders “Step aside! You’re interfering with My work.”

Every faithful attendee of a Bible believing church is familiar with the story of Jesus’ meeting with the woman at the well. They would be able to recite how Jesus, in passing through Samaria, saw this woman, approached her and used the occasion of asking for a drink of water to introduce her to His concept of eternal life. They’d also be familiar with how He cleverly yet compassionately revealed and convicted her about her immoral lifestyle and led her to recognize Jesus as both a prophet and as her Messiah. And of course they’d know that she was so moved that she began to proselytize others, inviting many from her city to meet this man who told her so much about herself and of God’s love for her.

But I’ll bet few would give much thought to the first thing Jesus did, before He even entered the city or approached the woman. He sent His disciples into the city, under the guise “to buy food.” Jesus knew the hearts of His disciples were still filled with pride, self-righteousness, judge-mentalism and discrimination toward the Samaritan people. The disciples were good men who were intimately involved in Jesus’ ministry; men who Jesus sent out to heal the sick and cast out demons; men who even could be seen baptizing people in Judea just one day earlier. Yet Jesus perceived the above character flaws as detrimental to His ministry of inner healing and deliverance.

This should get your attention. If you’re not willing to cross religious, racial, social, cultural, and gender divides to meet people where they’re at, you’re pretty limited in what God can do with you and your ministry. And since His mission is to reach the world, He’ll have to do a large chunk of it without you.

Do you really want to be left on the outside? It’s an exciting time folks! You’re not going to want to miss a beat.

Courage – evidence you are ready for life’s greatest challenges

CourageMost of us don’t really understand what courage is, and few of us rarely if ever see ourselves as very courageous. I think that’s because courage most often shows itself when a person faces a challenge that they didn’t foresee – maybe even a situation that they would prefer not being in if they had their druthers – yet one that they won’t turn and run from. I don’t think it’s an independent characteristic of a man or woman. I think it’s a fruit that blossoms forth to “prove” to both the individual and those around them their integrity, credibility, faithfulness and sincerity in what and in whom they believe.

These past few days I’ve witnessed true courage in a number of different settings. I saw it in a young man a few days after his mother was gunned down by a racist fanatic in a Sorth Carolina church – when he spoke of forgiveness and God’s love. I read it in the words of the Supreme Court justices who disagreed with a recent majority decision, who were not deterred by the anticipated criticism and vitriol of the mainstream media. I saw it on display when a state police sergeant made an on-the-spot decision to take down a man he believed was an escaping prisoner before he disappeared back into the woods. Had the officer been wrong, had the man instead been a homeless person just reacting to his fear of law enforcement in general, the officer would most certainly have been viciously attacked by those intent on finding fault in every such decision and behavior. But as so many of his law enforcement brothers and sisters do every day in spite of the severe criticism and the watchful eyes around them, he went about his job focused on protecting the innocent. Finally, I saw courage in a young man who for the past three of his mere twenty-two years of life, left the comforts of metro-Detroit suburbia to venture into one of the poorest neighborhoods of Mexico to minister to the needs of its children. Daniel’s courage is evident every day, but for me it budded forth when he set up a “gofundme” account to cover the costs of taking a group of his kids outside the slums they lived in for a week of camp, promising to humble himself in his physical appearance in exchange for peoples’ support.

As I stated earlier, few of us rarely if ever see ourselves as very courageous. Jesus put it this way: “Someday you will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.” In other words, if you’re sincere in your beliefs and faithful to the One in whom you believe, if you’re a person of integrity and faithfulness, then courage and wisdom will be manifest in the words of your mouth and in your actions – because they’re already buried deep in your heart. You’ll say the right thing; you’ll do the right thing.

I see courage in everyday people that they likely don’t see in themselves. I see it in my daughter as she balances a life of teaching middle school youngsters at the same time as she faces the challenges of raising three young children and pleasing a sport’s enthusiast husband. I see it in my oldest son who gave up a stable career as an engineer to evangelize on the campuses and streets around the world. I see it in my youngest son who was saddled with several physical and medical issues from a very young age; yet attained the highest rank in scouting, graduated from college, established a career in the arts and works hard in a difficult economy to earn supplementary income – all the while his compassionate heart causes him to help those in even more difficult circumstances than his own. And I see it in my wife who, in the face of numerous setbacks continues to pursue the vision God gave her for a ministry that brings people of all Christian faiths together to honor their Savior.

Perhaps you’re much more courageous than you think! The young man in Sorth Carolina would have easily given up his ten minutes of fame at a microphone to have his mother with him that day. I’m sure the minority in that Supreme Court decision would have much rather gone home that afternoon and not touched off the vindictiveness of the Left against them personally. The state police sergeant would much rather have had one of his friends be faced with making the on-the-spot decision whether or not to fire his weapon. And I doubt if young Daniel, the day he left to be a missionary in Mexico ever anticipated having to step into the role of father and older brother to so many children who have been abandoned by their natural fathers and older brothers. Each of these faced the challenge before them, and their courage is now on display for all to witness and commend. Perhaps that next challenge will be the trigger to cause your courage to blossom forth.

Learning from Unexpected Sources

It’s amazing what we can learn from the most unexpected sources if we just keep our spiritual ears open. I commend my pastor who this past weekend built his Father’s Day message around some quotes of well-known (though not necessarily Christian) men, from Albert Einstein to Dr. Seuss (i.e. Theodore Lesieg). Of course he tied their words back to Biblical truth, thus demonstrating that the person quoted was to some degree parroting the Word of God, though they probably had no idea they were.

I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that often I’ve felt compelled to confine my source material for wisdom to the Holy Scriptures; whereas God has imposed no such restriction on us. Has not God Himself used nonbelievers, as well as animals, flora, even inanimate objects to reveal knowledge to knowledge-seekers? So why do we feel so constrained? As long as the non-Scriptural source does not contradict the Word of God then we should have no fear in referencing it.

Many people seem less convinced and seem to be concerned that when I or other Christians quote a non-believer we’re endorsing everything they stand for. Not long ago I began one of my blogs with a Charles Darwin quote, whereby I then proceeded to demonstrate that even the man credited with advancing the theory of evolution himself harbored serious doubts as to its validity. Yet I don’t think the people that were critical of that blog read past the quote itself to discover the direction I was going.

This “problem” with receiving from our perceived adversaries is not confined to Christians. It extends to every segment of society. Republicans have a problem receiving anything from Democrats; liberals have a problem receiving anything from conservatives; Baptists have a problem receiving from Catholics; and a person from one racial or ethnic background has a problem receiving anything from a person of another racial or ethnic background.

It’s time we get past ignoring those who are different than us, who believe different than us and who take alternate positions on subjects that we consider important. We can learn something of value from nearly everyone. See, I believe that every human being, even atheists have something of God in them. Every human spirit was created to be conformed to the image of the Spirit of God, even as he or she continues to deny His existence or to rebel from Him. Precisely because they still carry this linkage with the Creator, they have the capacity for receiving and espousing His wisdom and knowledge, at least once in a while.

Throughout history mankind has benefitted not only from the scientific discoveries of non-believers such as Albert Einstein, but also from their wit. “When you are courting a nice girl an hour seems like a second. When you sit on a red-hot cinder a second seems like an hour. That’s relativity.” Of course I’m being facetious when I use the above quote.

On a more serious note, I was listening to a radio host the other day. I don’t recall the exact topic of discussion, but he said something that got me thinking. He said that everyone when they walk into a room is self-absorbed and worried about how they appear to everybody else and imagine that all the others in the room are looking at and judging them. Yet that couldn’t possibly be the case, because everyone else is just as self-absorbed in themselves as they are.

Because that man and I come from significantly different spiritual and economic backgrounds and our beliefs on a wide range of subjects vary, I could have ignored the man’s commentary on mankind’s natural tendency toward self-absorption. Yet I listened to his words; even meditated on their implication; and his words got me thinking. I concluded, what a wonderful thing it would be if I could change that paradigm in my life. Suppose whenever I walked into a room I could truthfully focus more on the other person and less on myself. What if I put my energy into seeking to find out where they’ve been, where they are now and what their needs are, with the motivation to do whatever is necessary to meet those needs? What a burden that would lift from me and what a benefit it would lead to for the other party.

I give this simply as an example of wisdom that we can gain from unexpected sources. If you’ve known me for any length of time, you understand that I am not a proponent of compromise. Compromise is the tool of the man with no convictions. No one should ever compromise their most deeply held convictions and beliefs. But we should be open to listen to others; for there is hidden wisdom out there that we’ve been missing just because we’ve been closed-minded.

Given by Inspiration of …

FB share imageI think most of us are very aware of the numerous voices around us every day trying to influence us to think and act a certain way, to buy into a certain ideology, to invest our resources on a certain product, or to head in a certain direction or toward a specific destiny. But we’re less conscious of the influence our own voice has within our circle of friends and acquaintances. Yes! Each of us indeed has a sphere of influence. Your opinions matter to many and your opinions inspire some to follow in your footsteps. If you don’t believe me, just look at your social media for the last week or so.

Like many of you, every day I’m invited via email or FaceBook post to lend my support (i.e.: my endorsement) to a wide array of political, social and spiritual causes, to individuals (e.g.: running for public office) and to public service organizations. Sometimes that support requested is simply to share the information provided with my personal list of friends and acquaintances. Other times it’s a request for financial support. And occasionally I’m even invited to author a testimony of the positive effect the cause, individual or organization has had upon my life.

For my part, I never treat any of these requests for endorsement lightly. I make a decision in each case whether to act upon it or to ignore it. But to act upon such a request for support I have to (1) feel inspired by the subject and (2) feel confident that its representatives are godly in character. And to attain an adequate level of inspiration and confidence it’s imperative that I investigate the source and what motivates it/him/her to act.

What or who influences and inspires you?

Advertisers/public relations gurus have taught millennials especially, but society in general that celebrities (sports phenomes and music and movie stars) are credible and inspiring persons whose lifestyles and words and creeds should be mimicked. But few are really worthy of such trust and admiration.

Many people (including many of the “churched”) today throw their support behind whatever the flavor of the day is in our culture. But what really does our culture reflect? It reflects what is popular and acceptable today. And that can and does change in a heartbeat. Jesus said that His followers would be hated by the world (those who are proponents of the flavor of the day). And true followers of Christ experience this “hatred” every day via attacks by the mainstream media, by ungodly government leaders, by confused religious leaders and by adversaries on social media.

Before you begin to answer the question “what or who influences or inspires you,” I suggest you at least consider the four following questions:

  1. Do you have any standards for determining what causes, organizations and people who you are willing to throw your support behind?
  2. If not, why not?
  3. If so, what are your standards?
  4. If so, where did you get those standards?
  5. If so, do your standards advance selfish or self-less behavior?
  6. If so, are your standards “fixed,” or do they vary with every wind of change in the culture?

For me personally, the Apostle Paul is a good standard bearer. He said, “Follow me as I follow Christ.” In other words, “Listen to what I have to say, and do what I do, only if what I say and what I do is comparable to what Jesus did and said. If not, ignore what I say and do.”

These days I’m getting a lot of requests to support a growing list of men and women vying for the office of President of the U. S. As a general rule I don’t get into any political discussions over social media. There are too many really important issues in life, and very few if any are going to be solved by any political leader. When the time comes to vote I’ll make my choice based on the person whose character and beliefs most closely mirror that of Jesus and whose stated policies advance those beliefs. However, today I am finding it difficult to find any that would dare say, “Follow me as I follow Christ.” And if one did say that, and if the people listening took them at their word, I wonder if the candidate would be left with any supporters?

My personal test

So how do I assess the inspirational value and my level of confidence in public service organizations and social causes? I have a simple test which involves researching the answer to these three questions:

  1. Does the purpose of the organization/cause advance life and peace or a culture of death and destruction?
  2. Does it encourage self-less behavior or selfishness?
  3. Is its primary goal and likely outcome an emotionally, physically and spiritually enhanced experience for the participants?

But what about local churches/denominations/religions? Wouldn’t every one pass my test? Ugh – no! For them I would recommend the “Follow me as I follow Christ” standard. I often wonder how many would survive if they honestly encouraged their congregations to support them with their talents, time and resources based on their faithfulness to replicating the actual teachings and actions of Jesus Christ?

Who do you influence?

Now back to my original premise that every person on this earth has a sphere of influence. There are many scriptures that talk about God’s granting to His righteous and obedient people the blessing of even greater influence in the world. (See for example Isaiah’s chapter 54 prophesy and also the prayer of an honorable Old Testament character named Jabez.)

Enlarge the place of your tent, and let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings; do not spare; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes. For you shall expand to the right and to the left, and your descendants will inherit the nations, and make the desolate cities inhabited.

“Oh that You would bless me indeed and enlarge my border, and that Your hand might be with me, and that You would keep me from harm that it may not pain me!” And God granted him [Jabez] what he requested.

Whose lives do you impact? More than you probably imagine! Make sure that the information you are sharing with those in your sphere of influence is both true and of value to them specifically? You are responsible for your words and actions. You are also accountable for who and what causes and organizations you endorse and those whom you draw into your tent. Don’t be lazy! Do the research before you click on that “share” icon.

Is Real really the new Black?

Here it is four days after hearing a Sunday sermon and reading a couple associated blogs and I’m still thinking about each of them. That’s got to be some kind of record for me. I’m conflicted as to whether I agree or disagree with the message(s). Perhaps that’s because I’m post-“The Best Generation” and pre-all of the other generations the messages referenced. I left the old Black behind thirty some years ago and have never looked back. I like sunset orange and lavender and sky blue and canary yellow, anything that conveys life and joy. Another thing I left behind years ago was formal wear – the other day I thought a necktie would be appropriate for my mother-in-law’s memorial service and had a hard time recalling how to tie a half-Windsor.

The message(s) made much of the fact that the Bible is not adverse to exposing the “real” life frailties of its characters. While the point is accurate, I’m not sure I “connect” with Paul precisely because he once murdered Christians and struggled with sin; rather I connect because he spent the last half of his life doing everything within his power to make up for his prior errors and inadequacies, including foregoing all payment for his ministerial services, though Biblically he was entitled to it.

When I first committed to Christ I served as secretary of the Macomb chapter of FGBMFI, making me responsible for lining up speakers. Every speaker had a dramatic testimony of a horrendous past life changed by the power of God. The hundreds of people that came to hear these speakers each month I don’t believe were moved by the “reality” of a former life as a Grand-Wizard for the Ku Klux Klan! I believe they were impacted by the power of God that changed him into the man who was now ministering to and feeding the hungry on racially diverse inner-city streets.

Though I know every family has its share of hurts and struggles, I personally enjoy seeing their beautifully manufactured FaceBook pictures. The Bible says think about good and pleasant things for a reason. Focusing on a brighter future instead of a painful present helps one to heal. Sharing the “real” is necessary in a counseling session – not necessarily in day-to-day interactions with our neighbors, or even with our church family. Seeing and speaking what “can be” with God’s grace is the primary path to freedom.

We are all Creatures of Faith

Faith is none other than an implicit trust we place in another person, thing or idea. To the Christian, that trust is placed in a being we call God and who we believe is personified in the character of Jesus. This trust is based on the closest of all love relationships, one earned by the shedding of His blood for us.

 Usually those who deride “people of faith” every day exercise an even greater faith. They place their trust in themselves and in other imperfect human beings and created things – with the hope that it will be enough to get them through that day and through the next day, and hopefully through a lifetime, yet without hope for anything beyond that.

 I find it interesting that “People of faith” and so-called “non-believers” have a lot in common with respect to their exercise of day-to-day faith. Loving husbands and wives of both persuasions work toward a united purpose of maturing, nurturing and protecting each other and their families. In this case the faith is based on a lot of “knowns” between the parties. Perhaps this explains why the Bible describes the ideal marriage as the one that mirrors the relationship between Christ and His Church.

 But people of each persuasion also place their implicit trust (faith) in the banker who takes care of our money, in the surgeon who operates on our bodies, in the mechanic who repairs our brakes and steering system in our cars, and in the pilot who flies our planes. Every day we place our loved ones’ lives, safety, and financial security in the hands of people, institutions and products of which we have little to no personal familiarity.  This takes a great deal of faith.  Some intellectuals might have once claimed that their trust wasn’t based on faith, but on familiarity with science and the laws of nature – thermodynamics, aerodynamics, etc. as well as man’s natural instincts, e.g.: for personal survival. That was before a couple pilots intentionally drove their planes and their innocent passengers into the ground.

 So when the “non-believer,” the atheist, the agnostic denies or disputes the oh-so-obvious evidence and knowledge of God and of His unconditional love for them, is it out of blindness, ignorance, or foolishness or is it a deliberate choice not to implicitly trust the One who seeks to have a close relationship with them and who desires the best for them? Nearly every adult follower of Christ once stood in their shoes and understands their dilemma. So we can explain their position with near certainty. They willfully suppress the knowledge of God because they love their sins (especially their sexual sins and their lust for material things) and hate the thought of having moral responsibility to their Creator.

 Still, one day each person will have to face their Creator, Redeemer and Judge. There will be a day of reckoning, whether he or she believes in Him or not. That’s why we all need to repent and trust the Savior.

Judging our household – an area to Tread Lightly in


I’m usually a pretty mellow guy. I guess when you reach a certain age you feel like you’ve seen and heard it all, the good and the evil. Maybe that’s why it takes a lot to get under my skin. One thing though that nearly always lights a fire under me is when I witness Christians tear down another brother or sister in the Lord. For example, this past Saturday at our men’s prayer meeting one gentleman mentioned how he had read on FaceBook a local pastor criticizing the leader of a large ministry for “watering down the Gospel message.” The individual stated that he elected to not get drawn into the drama of the debate. I couldn’t say the same thing – for I had been drawn deeply into said discussion – even warning the one who was spreading several unsubstantiated claims about the leader to tread lightly, for there is great spiritual danger in attacking God’s anointed.

 Criticizing competing ministries has been going on since the founding of the Church. Even Jesus had to admonish His disciples to stop interfering with a person outside their inner circle who was casting out demons in Jesus’ name, “Do not hinder him; for he who is not against you is for you.” Paul likewise castigated those in the Corinthian church, “there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men? For when one says, ‘I am of Paul,’ and another, ‘I am of Apollos,’ are you not mere men? What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one.”

 This age of social media has magnified the problem several times over. Not a day goes by that someone doesn’t post a blog or refer to an out-of-context quote ripping apart Pope Frances or Joel Osteen or even some tradition-based legislators in Indiana. I pull out my now-thinning hair trying to understand why otherwise good Christians engage in “sowing discord among brethren.” Is this not one of the seven things the Book of Proverbs highlights as an abomination to the Lord?

 For some I’m sure it’s just their lack of maturity – for I notice many young people and new believers just parroting the stances of their elders. This puts an even greater burden and responsibility on every supposedly mature believer, (the leader, the pastor, the educator, the elder) to hold his or her tongue or turn off their Ipad when they have nothing good to say about another with whom they may disagree.

 It’s only natural for us to hold those in our own household up to a much higher standard than we do outsiders. That’s true of our Church household as well (and I mean the Big Church). Perhaps we should to some extent. But we need to ask ourselves, is it really necessary to attack both the message and the messenger?  Do we do so because the other’s behavior reflects poorly on Christ, or is it because they have a larger pulpit or stage than we do?  Is it because the other preaches a different Jesus or a false Gospel, or are we just personally dissatisfied with their method, one that doesn’t suit our tastes or expectations?

 Jesus warned us to expect to see His enemies attack our most successful leaders and Christian spokespersons. “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.” It’s just unfortunate that many unwise, perhaps naïve Christians for reasons I fail to fully grasp, end up on the same side as the agenda driven and media supported detractors of faith. When that happens, the devil can just sit back and watch the gullible believers who seem more than willing to do his work of “steal, kill and destroy” for him?