"Crisis" In His Churches??
Wednesday Afternoon, January 6, 1999
Most young groups of Believers are faced with crisis before very long. One common “crisis” is that someone who doesn’t love Light in their lives, and doesn’t “see” the value of a “Kingdom of Priests” living DAILY for Jesus (rather than being meeting centered, or man centered)…such a person will “leave” and go back to “attending” something. And, generally, the potential for broken hearts, insults and injury are right there. Here is a small portion of a note to one such group of Believers having just experienced someone turning on them, and then turning away from them. Every situation is different, and there are always things to be repented of on both sides. AND it must always be our objective to personally learn from EVERYTHING that happens in our lives—no matter how seemingly unjust (as David did, even with the evil, unfair accusations of Shimei). And, like Paul crying out for the Corinthians’ safety, you may want to make ABSOLUTELY sure that you’ve done all that you can to help them “see.” This is how Jesus said it would be (Jn. 10) for those that love God’s Lambs. But, in the end, Jesus never runs after even precious ones such as the “rich young ruler.” We will always “look at them and love them,” but can’t offer an “installment plan” that the Head has not offered. We can never run after anyone (Lk. 9:57-62, 14:25-33). Keeping all of that in mind, here is a brief thought to a small group of Believers encountering the inevitable kiss on the cheek—and stab in the back…
Hi, again. A maxim that we’ve lived by for most of fifteen years now is this: “If they can leave, they should leave.” And God has favored that foundational thought very much, it seems. One well-known man in the very early 1900s was on an ocean voyage. He spoke to some folks one evening spontaneously about Jesus, and several people gave their lives to Jesus (or, as Finney would often say “presumably gave their lives to Jesus,” or “hopefully converted,” since initial reactions are not always true. Some, to put it in Jesus’ words, “spring up quickly, with great joy.” But, it is a “flash in the pan” and does not end up in Eternal Fruit). So, sometime later a woman who had been “presumably converted” came to this well-known man and said, “Does this mean that I have to give up smoking?” He said, “Lady, if you can still smoke, you should.” And would say no more. He knew, as Paul did in 1Thes. 1, that the demonstration of True Spiritual “Knowing” is that it comes with the Holy Spirit’s “deep convictions.” Meaning, if a person doesn’t really care, then trying to convince them to go a certain direction with their life would be disastrous. If you were able to convince them to stay, they’d be a pain in the neck, and “use up the soil.” If you weren’t able to convince them, they’d just mock you and trample the pearls anyway. So, just stay relaxed and “on Course.” He’ll captain you in.
Since we are NOT trying to build anything or hold anything together, then we are also not shaken when various things like that come along. Compassion for them as individuals is a Good response. But, any consideration for whether there are 300 folks or 2500 or 8 is wasted energy. Just concentrate on pleasing Him every day. Don’t consider whether “the demons submit in His Name” today, or not. “The government is upon HIS shoulders” and our “job” is to just be available, sacrificial, loving, and courageous every day no matter WHAT anyone else does. He’ll handle everything else. Don’t let yourself or anyone you love get caught up in defending yourself (though you may defend others that you love). Jesus didn’t even take the time to “appear” to Herod or Pilate or the Pharisees after He arose from the dead. What a great opportunity to prove a point. But He only wanted to talk to those that cared, and wanted Him and His Truths. It is the same with His followers today. We have nothing to prove to anyone. His vindication in the End is all we need to make us happy and content today. And we will have that, by His Blood, His Word, and His Spirit. If they can leave, they should. The best question is to look around, as Jesus did in John 6, and say, “Aren’t you going to leave too?” There is great Peace in that. It could be that the “leaven” of “Achan’s tent” is what causes the defeats y’all have encountered at Ai anyway. Perhaps some or someone leaving will be the best thing that could happen to you. We just take one day at a time, do the best we can, concern ourselves very little for successes or failures, per se…and leave the rest to the One who builds Churches that the gates of hell cannot prevail against!
And a p.s. from some mutual discussion in a letter…
One person gave an example of something that happened in his experience in a home group situation that is worth saying a word or two about. Here’s his quote:
“I remember seeing this very clearly one day at a ‘small group’ home meeting when I noticed that a girl who had come to the group ‘faithfully’ had not shown up for a couple of weeks. I was amazed to find that she had been offended by something and had left the group, and that the ‘leader’ actually seemed to be indifferent about it. There were no tears or heart wrenching when she left. It was more like an ATM transaction. Easy come, easy go. A Nigerian friend of mine was standing by and heard the story and started asking if anyone had gone to her to ask what the specific offense was. No one had pursued her because they felt she was causing trouble by asking questions about something that looked man-made to her. She was ‘a troublemaker’—and it was best if she left, they felt. My Nigerian friend grabbed a sister and me, and we immediately went to this girl’s apartment (that night) and pleaded with her to talk with us. We pleaded with her to open her heart with others, as a disciple of Jesus. She did, and went back to mend some relationships.
So, how does an obvious ‘success’ in bringing this sister back relate to Jesus’ encounter with the ‘rich young ruler’? Of course Jesus didn’t make a mistake with the ‘rich young ruler’ by ‘letting him go’—but didn’t this group I just mentioned make a BIG mistake by ‘letting this precious sister go’? How can we tell the difference between the RIGHT time to ‘let someone go’ and the totally wrong, selfish, foolish time to hurt someone by ‘letting them go’? How can we know the difference?”
Hi, Rob. I think I understand what you’re asking. It’s a great question. Clearly Jesus was totally committed to BOTH things:
Compassion (with the woman caught in adultery, and the woman at the well, and Mary washing His feet with her tears for her sin)…and Truth (“Go and sin no more!” and, “If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off,” and, “Unless you forsake all, you cannot be a Christian.”)…
[footnote: a “disciple” and a “Christian” are one and the same, as of perhaps 43 A.D., when the word “Christian” was first invented in human history—(Acts 11:26)]
Here are the two sides of it, mentioned earlier:
1) “And, like Paul crying out for the Corinthians’ safety, you may want to make absolutely sure that you’ve done all that you can to help them ‘see.’ This is how Jesus said it would be (Jn. 10) for those that love God’s Lambs.” Many tears will be shed for those that Jesus desires to “gather as a hen gathers her chicks.”
2) “But, in the end, Jesus never runs after even precious ones such as the ‘rich young ruler.’ We will always ‘look at them and love them,’ but can’t offer an installment plan that the Head has not offered. We can never run after anyone” (Lk. 9:57-62, 14:25-33).
There were times when Jesus ran after those that were rejected by common religious thought, and brought them home! He came for that reason. And so must we. There were other times when He wouldn’t receive an obviously great new addition to the “Church” He was building. “Oh, the depths of the riches of the wisdom and the counsel of God!” How incredibly important it is to understand “which is which,” and how to respond to these different scenarios. Much foundationally, in any group of Believers or any true Church, depends on Knowing how to handle these matters!
Really, Rob, the example you gave in your letter (sad, but incredibly common, as you know) is an example of “trying to pound a square peg in a round hole.” This young lady certainly was not in the classification of the “rich young ruler” that should have been “let go”—according to the Ways and Commands of Jesus and His Apostles. She was not a person that had proven herself to not desire to “follow the Lamb wherever He goes!” Nothing had been done for her, and her “problem” was NOT that she didn’t care about loving and obeying Jesus. She wasn’t one that had decided to “love the world”—and therefore had become “leaven” and an “enemy of God.” There was no evidence that anyone was aware of that she was “lukewarm” and therefore “using up the ground.” This was instead, seemingly, an honest lamb that was a victim of “falling through the cracks”—in a faulty “paradigm.” She was hurting and confused, and seemingly no one was there for her. (I can’t tell you how many hundreds of times we’ve heard of similar situations in the mechanized attempts to “have church.”) Those truly in the “rich young ruler’s” situation are NOT those that are honest seekers that disrupt the system, and fall through the cracks. There are no “cracks” when the whole Church, “from the least to the greatest” is totally involved—and 100% of those around us are cared for DAILY (instead of some meetings on the calendar).
If we build GOD’S way, as a “wise master builder” would, everyone would have a chance to look at Jesus and make a real decision about following Him. “Disappearing acts” couldn’t happen, unless a person had every opportunity to turn away from known sin, and hands of love and kindness and forgiveness were extended again and again. Then, out of a common, daily, Light-walking relationship—that defines the Church locally, and every single person in it—a person is in the “valley of decision” about following Jesus! Personality stuff, hurt feelings, misunderstandings, differences in eschatological guesses, and the other silly stuff cannot break relationship. (Refer back to the discussion about “Church Planters” for more about “Apostolic Foundations.”) But then, as much as we’d love for everyone to “make it,” it won’t happen that way. It didn’t with Jesus Himself, and it won’t with us. It obviously wasn’t Jesus’ fault that He “would have gathered them, but they would not.” And it is still that way. There just are “kinds of soil” Jesus mentions (three out of the four) that we will not be able to cover for, forever. Sooner or later, “one more year” comes into play. “Using up the ground” is forbidden by the Head of the Church. 1 Corinthians 5 is pretty clear about whether or not “leaven” can co-exist indefinitely within God’s Family. It mustn’t, according to God.
“The field is the WORLD” is how Jesus put it. He did NOT say, “The field is the CHURCH.” The wheat and the weeds will be mixed together in the WORLD. We are “in the world, but not of it.” Weeds mixed into the world until the angels come and separate them out? Of course. But it would contradict Jesus and the Scriptures to say that weeds must be mixed into “the Church.” Jesus said, “The field is the world”—NOT, “The field is the Church.” It’s extremely important that we understand this often-mistaught Principle, or we will be forced (by this misquoting and misapplication of Jesus’ Teaching) to contradict and disobey Him in Matthew 18, 1 Corinthians 5, Titus 3:10, and a bunch of other clear Scriptures.
So, I guess I just mention all of this to say that I feel very badly for this young lady, and the hundred thousand or more like her. She should have an honest shot of growing and prospering and being able to function, offer her Gifts in humility and honesty, give and receive Light and Food…really just live as God intended!! (1Cor. 12). The complications and contradictions come into our lives and the lives of others when we try to apply Biblical Principles—to an UNBiblical paradigm. You can’t write COBOL code into “C++++” code and expect the program to function. You can’t take your kazoo to a funeral and expect it to go over well. You can’t grow an orange tree in Alaska. It’s the wrong paradigm. Reading all of the books about proper soil nutrition for orange trees won’t help. It’s just the wrong place for orange tree life, and fixing some jots and tittles won’t change the fact that the basic foundation for that kind of life is wrong. And so it is with our young sister. I’m relatively sure that even the people that weren’t getting the job done for her spiritually weren’t all bad. They may have meant well. But, they too are victims of an unBiblical paradigm that makes everything ten times harder and more confusing than it should be. And the “cracks” appear faster than they can be denied, or “programs” designed to try to plug or cover them up.
OH! For the church to be the CHURCH, the Bride with the personality and wisdom of her Groom, a yoke for Him, “bone of His bone”! And then we’ll know, by His Spirit working in us together, how to stand exactly where He stands with the lukewarm, and the pretenders, and how to extend hugs far beyond reason to the weak and confused and hurting.
Maranatha in us…and then to us.