The following is a copy of the myspace blog I told you about before. This discussion took place in January of 2008.
I was sharing w/ my buddies today how God has really been challenging me lately through His word and through the lives of other Christians. My complacency has really begun to disturb me. I don't really even know how to fully express what is going through my mind right now. I am frustrated not only w/ myself but w/ Christians in general. We just are not being what God has intended for us to be. I say 'we' b/c I know I'm not the only one. Looking at the condition of the world and the CHURCH - sadly I can tell that I'm not the only one! So what's to be done? Boy! I've got to GET REAL. What does that mean 'GET REAL'? It means that I have got to start viewing sin as sin in my own life, confess it and repent of it. Then I am to go OUT INTO THE WORLD and tell others about sin, the consequences of sin and the HOPE that's in JESUS! We have become so TOLERANT it's sickening! Jesus did not tell us to be TOLERANT of sin. He told us to love others as ourselves, yes, but He NEVER ONCE SAID TO TOLERATE SIN! If I'm wrong, show me in the Word where Jesus says to put up with sin in someone's life. When the woman caught in adultery was brought to Him He did not condemn HER but He did tell her to "go and leave your life of sin" Jn 3:8-11. Why do we twist the love of Christ into acceptance of sin? If that's what He wanted us to do then there was no reason whatsoever for Him to come to this earth and die on a cross. He could have just continued to speak through prophets and told us to "tolerate" each other, accept the faults of others, live and let live, so on and so on. We have taken God's grace and morphed it into our free pass to sin. I don't know what else to say. I have been challenged, convicted, whatever you wish to call it. I have prayed that God will forgive me - and He has- and use me today and every day. I have asked Him to help me not to worry about what I will say but to give me the words when He wants me to talk to someone about Him. I don't want to go through this day-to-day life minding my own business anymore. People are dying and going to hell and I can't just sit by and tolerate that any more! If you are offended by what I've said I'll take that as a good thing. Maybe, just maybe, God is challenging you too.
myspace blog comments: names changed to protect the innocent (or something like that)
Belle said: Hi Christy,Sounds like you have renewed sense of your faith and purpose, and that's always great. What areas specifically do you think Christians have become to tolerant in? How do you think Christians should show Christ's love to people (christians and non Christians) with whom they disagree?I definitely think the subject of tolerance in church is a very important subject among Christians. I admire you for bringing it out.
I replied: What I'm trying to get across is that we are to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ to as many people as we can. We cannot assume that others know about the sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf and why He chose to do it. When we tell people about sin and the consequences of rejecting Jesus Christ - an eternity in hell, we cannot force them to agree and accept. That's not our responsibility. Our responsibility is only to share the message and to live what we are sharing. My complaint w/ Christians and tolerance of sin is that those of us who know the Truth are not living it ourselves when we - I - continue to sin on a daily basis. My habitual speeding is not OK – it’s breaking the law. God says I should obey and respect those in authority over me. My not sharing the good news of Christ is wrong b/c Christ specifically commanded me to do that. My ‘white lies’, stretching the truth or not telling the whole truth is sin b/c God told me not to lie – period! If I tolerate these, what we would call ‘little sins’, then I am leaving room open for ‘bigger sins’ to be acceptable to me. SIN is SIN – period. We are the ones who tend to categorize sin; God doesn't do that. To Him it is all the same. Lying is just as wrong as murder, cheating on a test is just as wrong as cheating on a spouse, being lazy is just as bad as stealing, gluttony, using God's name in vain, not forgiving each other, putting ourselves before others, the list goes on and on. SIN is SIN in the eyes of God and it should be in ours as well. If someone disagrees with me I should still love them but I shouldn't excuse their choice to live a life w/o Christ. And really, if they reject the gospel of Christ, it's not me they're disagreeing with, it's God. We cannot water down the gospel just so people feel better about themselves. We ALL fall short of the glory of God Romans 3:23. My sin put Jesus on the cross. Your sin put Jesus on the cross. We may have not done the exact same things, but the details don't matter. I hope my answer has made sense.
Cinderella said: I agree wholeheartedly! We have become entirely too tolerant of sin and just plain LAZY about not doing the work of the Lord like we should be! After watching Rick Burgess speak at his son's funeral, several things he said stuck out in my mind that I have thought or felt about (name removed by me), but I obviously didn't radically change after seeing and thinking those things myself. I let Satan creep in and steal my joy, discourage me, becoming more apathetic, PATHETIC and not carrying out my duty in the great commission. I, too, have confessed that to our Lord and it is going to be a daily battle, I know, to fight this battle against Satan- especially since we are proclaiming it instead of sitting on our butts doing nothing about it. I will pray along with you for us, our churches, and Christians as a whole to break through this mundane living, lazy acting, double standards, apathetic but yet "Christian life" we supposedly live. I love you and am standing in the gap beside you!!
Gaston said: One glaring problem in this area with Christ-followers and those who say they're Christ-followers is that they are tolerant of their own sin and very intolerant of the sin of others, both outside and inside the body of Christ. I don't say this to point at anyone; rather, I have unfortunately seen this in myself far too often. So for me, this is not necessarily about disagreeing with the actions of other people inside or outside of the church, but being tolerant of the sin in my own life. That's a really bad thing! We focus on the "big" sins (like drug abuse, fornication/adultery, etc.) and totally forget the "little things" that Christianity is built upon. On American Idol the other night (I promise, I watch this show because my *family* likes it -- not me!) a waitress auditioned. A waitress with a bad attitude. Her audition was worse than her attitude, matter of fact. The thing that really got to me, and it's been a pet peeve of mine with the church crowd for a long time, was that when Simon (I think) asked her what she liked least about her job, without a moment's hesitation she said something like this:"The Sunday crowd. We have an all-you-can-eat thing. Not a buffet, but one plate at a time. They'll come in and get their plates piled high over and over and they have us running all over the place past each other, and then they tip us ONE DOLLAR!"What a wonderful example of how we Christians are better and more sinless than the rest of the world, eh?It's THAT kind of tolerance of sin that really gets to me. The tolerance of our own -- my own -- sin.
I replied: Thanks, Gaston. You made my point better than I did myself! My complaint is with the Christians, not the world. The world doesn't know any better and won't until we share the Gospel of Christ with them. We 'Christians' claim to know the truth but our lives don't reflect it.
Belle replied: I think that you have done a grat job, Christy, of explaining yourself...and your friend, Gaston, as well."Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?" Matthew 7:13 I have fallen off of many high horses in life, and I have a difficult time passing judgement on anyone. I think (my own opinion here, to each his own of course) that the world we live in doesn't need Christians to tell them that they are wrong, sinning, doing bad things, etc. What I think the world needs to is to be shown Christ's perfect love through us. That was what was so great about Jesus...he showed love. So, even as we struggle with the logs in our life, we can do it openly and still share Christ's love. I think as Christians, when we are brave enough to show the world we are not perfect, but we can accept out imperfections (and theirs) with Christ's love...we do so much more good.
Gaston said: Although it may not quite sound like it, I believe we all agree here in most respects: Belle said, “I have fallen off of many high horses in life, and I have a difficult time passing judgement on anyone.” Me, too. An embarrassingly silly number of them. The nice thing is that I can tell people about these horses from which I’ve fallen – falls and recoveries that God has used later to teach me about various things; mostly about being truly, honestly thankful. Belle also said, "...when we are brave enough to show the world we are not perfect, but we can accept our imperfections... we do so much more good."A couple of thoughts on that: My acceptance of my own imperfection is simply not a good thing. My learning what it means to be more like Christ and get rid of those imperfections along the way IS a good thing. I don’t want to walk around hanging onto all the old muck from which I've supposedly been cleansed. A dog going back to his vomit and all, you know…At the same time, I don't think for a moment that I should be hypocritical and try to hide my imperfections from people. But saying, "Hey, I'm not perfect, so why should you bother, either?" is not what I’d want to communicate in a million years. (I'm not thinking that's exactly what you meant, though.)Banging people over the head with religious rules and telling them they’re sinners is not what I’d want to do in a million years, either. Jesus never did that. He wasn’t down on “sinners” – rather, He was down on the religious leaders who tried to bang people over the head and tell them they were sinners. :)BUT… the key thing is what Christy noted earlier. Jesus’ message was (and this is in a major, major nutshell and I don’t intend to put words in Jesus’ mouth – I’m just summarizing His message in as few words as I can): "I understand where you’ve been. You can’t change that, and I’m not condemning you for it. But you CAN change the future if you follow Me. Go about your life but stop sinning ('Go and sin no more'). Matter of fact, in some cases you may need to make restitution for the wrong things you’ve done."The fact is, the life of a Christ-follower IS supposed to be different from that of someone who doesn't know Christ, isn't it?
Belle replied: Everyone comes from a different space, and we each address things in our lives as we are directed. For me, accepting my imperfections is a good thing. It doesn't mean that I become comfortable with them, but rather they are a part of who I am, and more importantly, who I am becoming. Like a snake continually shedding its skin. "Owning" my faults, for me, helps me begin the process of disowning them. I see that isn't the way for everyone, though.I believe the things that often separate Christians from non Christians (and often each other) is each persons beliefs about what is and is not sin. The ability to be tolerant of a person's journey when it is completely opposite of your journey is a testament of possessing the ability to show Christ love. It certainly is something, as humans, we all struggle with. I do agree that one who follows Christ should definitely live a life that reflects that.
Jasmine said: I'm going to take my comment in a pretty different direction, since everything that's been said (in Christy's original blog and in the comments) I agree with and don't have much to add on those subjects. But since witnessing has been mentioned, I thought I'd give my two cents on that topic...I get witnessed to on a very regular basis, because I guess I look like I need it or something. Who knows. Anyway, almost every experience I've had with someone witnessing to me has been uncomfortable and negative. The person often seems confrontational, judgemental or ingenuine, but usually all of the above. I get the impression that they have absolutely no interest in me other than they feel obligated to give me a tract so they've fulfilled an obligation. Telemarketers set me more at ease than the people who witness to me, honestly. The thing is, these people aren't saying or doing anything especially strange. They're following the evangelism script that I've heard explained as an effective witnessing tool. But having to hear it from "the other side of the fence" made me really question if a one-size-fits-all sales pitch is a healthy mentality for Christians to have. I guess what I'm saying is I feel like witnessing has become a formulaic agenda with little consideration for the individual we may be witnessing to. And I feel like we often excuse our methods with the attitude that if they don't accept well, then we tried and it's their loss. But I mean, shouldn't we be more sensitive to the individual and tailor our conversation around them, seeing as how we're giving them the most important information they'll ever receive? In my opinion, the best way to go about it is to befriend a person, get to know their personality, and then when you share your salvation experience with them, it will come totally natural because you're not looking at them as a potential convert, but as a friend with whom you want to share experience and knowledge that has been instrumental in your life. And also because you've had time to gauge how they may respond and pray for them specifically in advance. There's no pressure on either person and no one feels uncomfortable or singled out, and your friend (even if they don't accept) will easily be able to see that you're sharing out of love and not out of obligation, and they'll be able to understand the message more deeply. I'm sure many Christians disagree with me on this, probably due to the sense of urgency the feel when they consider how many lost people may be out there. They may see my approach as inefficient or even spineless or lazy. And I do agree that there are times and situations where it would be best to witness "up front" without getting to know the person. And I didn't mean to imply that people that use that style of witnessing are any less sincere than people that use the slower-paced style that I prefer, as I have no reason to believe their motives are less than honorable...I'm just going by how I feel when people witness to me, and thinking in terms of how I'd like to be treated. Also, my impression of Jesus's ministry is one where prayer, preparation and quiet reflection took priority over doing as many good deeds as physically possible. I think maybe sometimes we think that being constantly "at work" is always God's will for our lives, when perhaps putting all that pressure on ourselves to make things happen can cause us to miss things that are happening at a different pace than ours.
Gaston replied: A friend of mine blogged the other day, "I'm trying to avoid praying for things like 'help them see their current path may not fit your plan' or 'Help him/her understand your message'. What if they already understand His message? What if it's ME that doesn't understand?"Bada-boom! Right on.I think I may have miscommunicated my point in my last novel up there -- sorry about that, Cinderella. I'm not as closed-minded as I apparently sound. My "open-mindedness" is probably something many churchy people see as a fault of mine.
Or maybe I didn't sound closed-minded... I just noticed the little smiley face thingy and the "I agree 100%" note. D'oh (note from me: smiley face lost in translation)
Finally I close by saying: OH my goodness, Jasmine! This is exactly what I was praying about last night! I really want to be used by God to share the good news, but I don't want to go through a class or a program in order to learn a script or 'method' or whatever you would call it. I want to be real and personable to every person that God has me talk to. I'm not trying to be critical of those who feel the need to memorize a method or use acronyms, it's just not the way I want to go. I've actually tried one of those ways in the past (a LONG time ago) and all it did was make me flustered b/c I couldn't remember exactly what I was supposed to say. That made me gun shy for quite a while! Your point about befriending people is valid and I agree with that. It is far from spineless and lazy. I think befriending people takes a great deal of courage, time and effort. However, there are many people that I will come into contact with on any given day that I will never see again. If God tells me to share w/ someone at a moment's notice, then I need to act on that and be obedient. So here's where I am on the issue: I am willing to be used by God whenever and where ever He wants me to share the gospel. He promises us that He will give us the words to say and I trust Him to do just that. Thanks for your input, it was right on! ;)
Well, I hope you all stayed with me through all of the conversation, and I hope you found it as interesting as I did. Also, I hope that changing the original names to names of Disney characters didn't cheapen the discussion for you. The reason I wanted to share ALL of this with you is because some of the others sayed what I wanted to say, only better, and I wanted you to get it all. So, for those of you have hung in there and read it all, what do you think?