Follow-Up to the “Apology”

dont forget the teachingI didn’t expect the outpour of response from the prior September 5th post, but I appreciate the feedback. As a blogger, I simply wanted others to know that this was a much-needed catharsis for me. This is a  real-life continuation to me of a prior article on this blog on the Prison of Perfectionism.  I am still healing from the many layers God is pulling back in my life to move me forward in my ministry.  To those that have written me privately out their pain. I’m sure if your parents had felt freer in doing so, it would have led them to support their own parental instincts in raising you. I just want to follow-up and take a look at something that I hope will be discussed more. It’s about the system itself that has led to your stories.  I believe that some of the teachings have had a positive effect. Yet,here should not be a code of silence if improvement is needed and so many see that it is needed. Pretending to be ok, never makes anyone of us ok.  I certainly love God and his Word and the church of God and I am interested in its forward progress.

Let me just say this.  Unfortunately, the understanding of what is to be a “good saint” seems to be based on creating an image rather than focusing on what God holds as important–obedience to the Spirit of God.  We seem to hold the moving of the Spirit high in theory, but when He works in the lives of  people, we tend to put Him under the thumb of certain authorities or get concerned about upholding past traditions.   It is as if Jesus leading a person over here will make everything fall apart over there.  If we as an organization are deficient on the natural side with our homes, then we are spiritually deficient as well.  God will teach us more about our natural life than anything else.

We cannot seem to figure out how to explain family balance without upsetting (in our minds) the entire apple cart.  It is a misunderstanding of being an “example” of “faithfulness” to God and other things.   Overall the problem appears to be this: very little confidence in the people’s relationship with God.  As a minister, if I just preach the gospel, can I trust God to talk to you about obeying the gospel that I just preached without micromanaging every aspect of your life, or making you feel you have to do the exact things that I do to be acceptable? Micromanagement is not needed for people are sincere.

People have been told  for years “hey, be with your family, and let your children do sports, but keep it quiet”.  The idea behind this has been “don’t let people know that it is ok” to miss a service, to have your children involved in sports activities,  to celebrate a birthday on a service night, or support your child’s endeavors if they interfere with church services.  This gives the appearance of smoke and mirrors. The fear is that if people know that it’s ok, then they will do it too. But if what I’m doing is not wrong and Jesus is ok with me spending time with my family, talking to them about life, spending time mentoring and nourishing them, why do I have to hide?   Why is it treated as wrong or a secret?  We see the negative results.

The answer seems to be this.  It must be explained how the Holy Spirit works and then let Him work in the lives of the people.  The Pastor I was under, used to say, “if the Holy Ghost gives you leave to do x,y and z, I ain’t got nothin’ to say”. Somehow that confidence in the message and the people has been largely lost.   But again, the problem started with us in the pulpit. It seems a detrimental method to create the effect we are looking for by spiritual peer pressure.  How sad for those that didn’t know  that it was ok just to follow the leading of God in the first place.

However, when we speak of biblical standards,  those standards should not only be limited to obeying leadership,  attending church or supporting the church but more importantly, it should include being a good parent to your children , a good spouse, brother, sister, and friend. These are biblical standards as well. These standards are also just as serious as the other standards in promoting the gospel of Jesus Christ.

But it is an imbalance and a scriptural misunderstanding to hold one or two standards up high, and the other standards of home and family down low. This is also problematic considering the fact that church starts at home, and without the home, there is no church.  All scriptural standards should be held high.  This has been a problem for years–worried about the small things and missing the big picture.  Paul said it best.

But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel. I Tim 5:8

Some feel it is a sin to discuss these things.  But, how can we move forward as a church if we don’t discuss it?

All I ask is this:  With the evidence of losing 2 and 3 generations our young people—can we stop and examine whether our standards are taught correctly with the right balance in a way that will please God and continue the legacy of holiness teaching?  I also ask that if what we are doing is already perfect, where are the results from the very people who lived with us, worshiped with us and knew us–our children.  If we have not convinced them through examples of love, interest in their lives etc., how can we expect to please God and move forward?  I believe overall our teaching is correct and well-intentioned, but doesn’t such evidence require a re-examination of how something is being implemented?  I would hope we can do as the scripture says and examine ourselves (2 Cor. 13:5).

 

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Follow-Up to the “Apology”

  1. Yes! You hit a lot of good points. As a young person growing up in the COG my aim and desire has always been to be a balanced Christian. Too often I found people desperately trying to be “spritual” when in reality a spiritual Saint is one that is obedient to God. These same “spiritual”seekers didn’t have balance and became so caught up in the expectations of others and trying to people please that they lost sight of what was most important which is having a relationship with God.

    I am so thankful for the mentors in my life that encouraged me to be myself in God. Salvation isn’t a competition, salvation is deliverance and as delivered saints it is our duty to spread God’s Word in love to others. The older I become the more i realize the simplicity of the Gospel. God help me if I can’t master the basics but want to throw rules and my ideas of how things should be on others. I’m so grateful God opened my eyes when I lost sight… What you’re saying is so true and necessary. Please don’t stop.

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  2. A few years ago, an effort was made by the Pastor of my current church and his then assistant to reach a generation of our young men to apologize for past mistakes. This was a solid step in the right direction.

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