“NO.” Really?

People of all sorts, tribes and political persuasions draw lines, boundaries and get quite worked up about their “nearly always righteous” positions on you-name-it. Professing Christians do likewise. But what about those who seem locked-and-loaded in a regular, repeating posture of “NO.”?

Individualism vs. inclusion, in fact individualism versus invitation as a posture is something I think worth considering. Who are we inviting and who are we doing our best to exclude -church??

Do I think there are scriptural grounds for disfellowship? I do. And yet…

I happened to have written that second paragraph above here about four hours before my friend Joe Futral posted this in a Facebook convo: “Ultimately, the whole excuse of blaming the poor for their circumstances is how we twist the rules to show why the rules don’t apply to us. As I said, grace, mercy, and love are irreconcilable with individualism.”

Yes. Sadly, yes. In my view Joe is one-hundred percent spot-on in that assessment.

When sharing “what is yours” is particularly an issue is it a “Yes” or “No” attitude you bring to the table of ideas, or for that matter, the neighborhood?

It seems to me an individual whose personality manifests a fairly regular attitude of “trash ’em”, “pull the plug”, “if they suffer that’s on them”, “how can we beat ’em down and out of here until they side with us?” and “give them no quarter” is the stuff of NO.

Paul in 2 Corinthians chapter 1 wrote to one of the most messed-up, immature yet royally blessed churches in his day: “18 But as God is faithful, our word to you is not yes and no. 19 For the Son of God, Christ Jesus, who was preached among you by us—by me and Silvanus and Timothy—was not yes and no, but is yes in Him. 20 For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us.”

Jesus not only commands but invites. Some of us in the churches (and myself as well at times) default to command and demand. While there is truly (scripturally) a time and place believers are to do so, if you find yourself continually in such a posture, what does that say about your example of the compassionate, giving, sharing nature of God?

Further, do we invite? When we give invitation, is it truly on His terms… or our own?

Don’t worry, if you’re prone to judgment, it’s coming- even in this post.

Too many believers model what they believe is the righteous, perfect judgment of God upon those they don’t like or agree with -especially when they themselves are angry. I’ve done it plenty in my lifetime and have often repented before the Lord and people whom I’m sure I’ve wronged in this way.

I’m talking about venting, truly in anger and with a superior and demanding attitude and withholding your own goods– be they spiritual, temporal, financial or any of the areas Jesus mentioned in Matthew 25 re. sheep vs. goats in His final judgment.

If we reap what we sow, living such a life and treating “the least of these” regularly like that how can we expect to hear anything but the following words of Jesus at the end of our days?

Matthew chap. 25: 41 “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; 43 I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ 44 “Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ 45 “Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46 “These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

It sounds like those who continually, regularly think, speak and live NO will hear much the same from God in the day of judgment.

Things to consider as we cling to “what’s ours… go get your own”?

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

2 thoughts on ““NO.” Really?

  1. Hello again old friend 🙂

    Matt 25:41+, as well as Romans 14:4 are a couple of my most favourite of favourite passages, especially when it comes to the more judgemental among us (especially Rom 14:4 given the put-downs I’ve received by “better” Christians – many of whom believe themselves to be “better” simply because they grew up around wealth whereas I grew up poor).

    I encourage anyone reading this, whatever your background, to consider these words. You have resources you can share, and you are not limited regardless of your situation. If you have money, you can share money, if you have time, you can volunteer and help others. If you truly are pressed for both, you can pray. James wrote that “The fervent prayer of a righteous man accomplishes a lot” (paraphrased). I have yet to meet the person who can honestly say that they cannot spend time in quiet prayer, even at work. No one else has to see you, you can pray without moving your lips or uttering a sound. God doesn’t need to hear our voices to hear our prayers. If you drive to work you can pray out loud in your car. If you ride the bus, let the Lord guide you to someone who needs a bit of a pick-up and visit with them there in that bus. Even if your trip is only 5 minutes, God can use you.

    We (I include myself) often make excuses for how we’re not ready or in some way unable to perform even a basic service for God. I dread the day I stand before Him and He asks me “Why not?”. Why did I make excuses? Why did I turn from that lady fearing embarrassment instead of taking courage that God would not let His Words fail? Why did I choose to sleep in instead of helping a friend in need on a cold and wet winter’s day? Why did I drive past that broken-down car because the guy looked rough and dishevelled? Did I not consider his appearance was due to the stress of his immediate situation? Did I forget how in the past this sort of thing has led to a long friendship?

    If He asks us, then He knows we can. He knows we have the resources He asks of us, and if we don’t have them now He will give them to us in the correct time. Jehovah Jireh – God always provides. It is we who doubt, we who make up excuses, we who lie to ourselves and our Lord about our abilities. It is never God.

    All we are asked is to love God and to love our neighbour. Sometimes that means driving for hours to rescue them from a dangerous situation, but usually it just means being a friend. Saying “hello” in passing is often all that is asked of us, yet so often we make excuses to avoid even the simplest of tasks our Saviour sets before us. If you have something spare, something you will not use again, then give it to someone who needs it.

    A wise person I’ve had the pleasure of talking with in person once said “The way you treat the person you love the least is the way you love God the most”. So many of us fail to show even the most basic levels of love towards others.

    1. Thank you- and you nailed it. The practical ways we can serve are so many and varied -sadly, so are the excuses and defense responses. Lord Help Us! -Glenn

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