For a fair number of years I’ve heard and read negative comments about labeling. You know, labeling people, groups, whatever.
It’s likely a very rare and unusual person indeed who has never fallen into this mistake and obvious blunder.
This morning at breakfast with a friend, the question was asked about another friend of his who linked up with a recovery group but seemingly had experienced pain and discomfort in some form via a church (or two). He told my friend he wasn’t interested in linking up with any church.
By now most people understand “church” by biblical definition means an assembly, a regular gathering together of Christ-followers -not a particular group, denomination, certainly not merely a building or a social club.
Ever been to a multi-band festival? Did you think every single band was amazing, killer, the best? You MAY have had such an experience but if you keep going to multi-performance shows you’ll have another one and you’d have to say “No, band *X* or *Y* or *Z* stunk! I don’t care if I EVER see them again!!”
If you met individuals from this or that band do you think it’d be unusual to find some of them are just arrogant jerks, self-important people who seem quite in need of attitude adjustments?
Ever had a lousy experience, maybe even two such experiences with a specific model of car? “They’re ALL like that… total garbage, junk, a waste of money and time!” Yep.
Ever know a family where some of them are sweet, kind and truly cool to be around while some of that very same family are just a pain, misery and trial to be near for even five minutes?
Interesting how we label individuals, groups of them, entire tribes, nations, you-name-it with the same (frankly) IGNORANT, JUDGMENTAL paint job and then take offense when we, our family, our favorite bands and even ourselves get smeared by others!
Yep, justice is hard to come by because it means thinking deeper and being brutally honest about our own sins.
Sometimes we like sin A but really hate sin B, no? Hmmm.
One of the most conditional things Jesus ever said- and one I rarely hear quoted from the Gospels directly refers to others hurting us and our response to the wrong/s done: “Forgive and you shall be forgiven. If you do not forgive others their sins neither shall your heavenly Father forgive you your sins.” (Matt. 6.14, 15) “IF” is a key word in Jesus’ comments to us.
Unforgiveness is the super glue that keeps you stuck to yourself and your misery, the broken lynch pin that wrecks your relationship to God in Jesus Christ.
But that breach -can- be repaired. That’s good news!
We can forgive others with His help, we -can- repent and trust His forgiveness -or continue separating ourselves from Him and His people for the slightest -and often self-centered, ungodly reasons.
I told my friend to be very careful to show respect and honor his friend’s commitment to the 12 step fellowship and work… his sobriety and very life may well depend upon it. Meanwhile, without knowing all the details I am certain his need to be with authentic Christ-followers hasn’t changed -nor in any case, are they anymore sinless (in the practical) than he is.
Something to think about perhaps?
As always, thanks for stopping by!