Friday, October 28, 2011

a house divided cannot stand

inspiration: disunity in the church - Ernest Smith's message last night.

so i missed two weeks at theWell so it was absolutely fantastic to be back last night!
last night, Ernest preached an impactful message, at least, it was to me because it made me really think about the unity/disunity within the big "C" Church and the role that i play in that.

if you ask people, "What are your impressions of the "church"?", you'll get a hodge-podge of answers. And unfortunately, most of them will be negative. i have the book (although, i haven't fully read through it) called "Unchristian" where a highly renown research group polled Americans and compiled their findings to discover that Christians as a whole are known more for what they are against than what they are for.

...and it's unfortunate...
...but there's always hope...

Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. (Matthew 12:25)
Ernest gave two conflicts within the church that cause disunity, and I agree that generally the arguments against the church fall under one of these two categories: doctrines/beliefs or lifestyle.

clothing preferences.

just a few things that were said last night in a discussion of issues that cause disunity in the church. unfortunately, everyone i feel like has had to deal with these issues when it came to attending a church.

i know when i was younger (as in middle school age), i had a poor perception of church because i wasn't accepted by my peers. i was too nerdy and gawky and not pretty enough. i couldn't sing. i wasn't cool. therefore, going to church was never an enjoyable experience. i felt judged and outcast.

but by the same token, in high school, even though i wasn't attending any church, i was judgmental and hypocritical because i looked at others through a microscope and judged others because of the choices they made.

i say both things to mention that i've been on both sides of the judgement and hypocrisy boat. but when it comes down to it, my actions didn't reflect that of a believer. my life wasn't reflective of someone following Christ.

...and unfortunately, i feel like that's what plagues the Church today - people who hold double standards.

and Ernest made a great analogy last night: when two dogs are fighting, if someone tries to step in, they're going to get bitten. when the Church itself is divided, why would a non-believer want to try and step in? if they see us fighting amongst ourselves or pulling a Hannah Montana and living two lives: one at church and one during the week, why would they want anything to do with us?

this is incredibly convicting for me.
i know that it's not my role to "save" people - that's the Holy Spirit's role, but as a new creation in Christ, my life should reflect Christ. it should reflect humility, grace, mercy, integrity, and most of all love! and if i'm not reflecting that, what does that say about me? most likely, that i'm not really a new creation in Christ.

if people don't see Christ in me, how are they supposed to find Him?

but i think this is where hope comes into play.
while we can't change everyone else - nor are we supposed to - but we can definitely change ourselves and our thinking so that we are not focused on ourselves but on others.
basking in the promises of Scripture - the fact that the Holy Spirit is with us always and that God has a plan for us, despite our pasts, and that nothing can ever separate us from God's love - it gives me hope!!

when we create agendas for ourselves, we break down barriers to building relationships.
but when we break down barriers by serving others above ourselves, that is the key to building relationships and displaying Christ to others.

a house made of crumbling bricks isn't a stable house.
but replace those bricks with ones that are firm in Christ and reflective of His heart and we build a house that cannot be shaken.

it's a radical thing when the body of Christ unifies itself firmly to build others up rather than tear each other down!

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