Reality Check

log eyehere’s a simple recap of yesterday’s sermon:

the jews were god’s only chosen people for centuries.  after the resurrection of jesus, god opened the door to gentiles to join the club.  the jews did not want to welcome them in.  there was a huge “wall” of hostility between them.  they were totally different politically, socially, spiritually, culturally.

jesus tore down the dividing wall of hostility between the two groups.  his purpose was to create one family of believers.  this was not an easy task for the jews.  it was no walk-in-the-park for the gentiles…and we have the same problems in the church today

the apostle paul wrote to the young, integrated church in ephesus some words that are as true for us today, as they were 2000 years ago:

 I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.  Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.  Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.  4:1-3

paul told the jews and the gentiles that, even tho they were incredibly different and even hostile towards each other, they were to bear with one another.  bearing with another person means we are to “put up with” our differences.  we are to “tolerate” those things that would ordinarily separate us.  we are to “make allowances” for the potential walls and simply love each other.

this is no small task for us today.  we are a divided and fragmented society and it spills over into our church family.  so many differences of opinion.  so many different interpretations of the bible.  so much personal life history and complicated stories.  so many shortcomings.

bearing with one another is critical.  it is central to unity in the body.  it is essential, if love is going to be evident.  the reality is our differences are many and the divide between us (in our church family) can be incredibly deep.  but putting up with those differences… making room for choices and opinions and convictions and even…sin…is when unity can really happen.

i’m not saying we are to condone sin or that there are not more “mature” ways of behaving.  i’m just saying that all of us are different and the more room we make…the more allowances we make…the more we learn to tolerate…the better we become as a family.

here is the “checklist” of people who make up our church family (that i read during my sermon).  these are all real people.  i think the more we understand how different we are, the more we understand how similar we are.  go figure.

  • I’m not sure I really believe in God
  • I never drink alcohol
  • I frequently drink alcohol
  • I’ve gotten drunk recently
  • I  yell at my spouse
  • I voted for President Obama…twice
  • I voted for Mitt Romney
  • I didn’t vote and never will
  • I’m an animal rights activist
  • I hunt
  • I have loving gay friends and family members
  • I’ve had an abortion
  • I have smoked marijuana
  • I look at pornography
  • I own an assault weapon
  • I am carrying my concealed weapon
  • I will never own a gun
  • I smoke
  • I like rap music
  • I have been divorced…
  • I have illegal immigrants as friends
  • I have no deep financial worries
  • I have huge anger issues
  • I am deeply in debt
  • I am attracted to the same sex
  • i cut myself
  • i am addicted to my smartphone
  • i flirt on facebook
  • I have problems with gossip
  • I seldom give any money in the offering plate
  • I am secretly addicted to pain killers
  • I have never been baptized
  • I speak in tongues
  • I dip tobacco
  • I regularly overeat
  • I don’t believe in a literal hell
  • We had sex (with my spouse) before we were married
  • We went too far before we were married
  • I’ve had sex with someone other than who I am married to
  • I spank my kids
  • I don’t believe in spanking my kids
  • I now have health care for the first time in my adult life
  • I believe the earth is millions of years old
  • I believe in evolution
  • I have never really shared my faith with another person
  • I have experienced the presence of a demon
  • I would have no problem with a woman pastor
  • I have lied to my spouse this past week
  • I have broken a promise to my kid this past week
  • I dodged the draft when I was younger
  • I don’t support the war in Afghanistan
  • I’ve lied to the IRS
  • I am deeply depressed, but nobody really knows it
  • I am really, really angry at God
  • I have no clue how to intellectually defend my faith
  • I haven’t read my Bible in weeks
  • I constantly judge others
  • I am afraid to die
  • I am deeply uncomfortable to be around people of other races
  • I cuss
  • I wholeheartedly believe in the death penalty
  • I am wholeheartedly against the death penalty
  • I fast regularly from food
  • I am fully tattooed underneath my shirt
  • I go dancing at clubs on the weekends
  • I pray the Lord’s prayer daily
  • I really only pray when I want something
  • I never raise my hands during worship
  • I never sing during worship
  • I don’t believe women should ever pray out loud or serve communion during worship
  • I don’t believe different races should marry each other
  • I have an unhappy marriages, but people have no clue
  • I am single and I am really lonely
  • I am jobless and on welfare
  • I have close Muslim friends
  • I smoke pipes and cigars
  • I break the speed limit regularly with no guilt at all
  • I love to argue
  • I contemplate suicide
  • I give money to people on street corners
  • I am contemplating not coming back this church

this list is why jesus said to take the log out of your own eye, before you try to take the speck out of another person’s eye.  this list is why jesus died on the cross.  this list is what keeps us humble.  this list is why anybody should feel welcomed into our church family.  this list is why there should be no dividing walls among us.

this list is why there is a command in the bible for us to put up with each other.

this list is why i love north point.

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4 thoughts on “Reality Check

  1. The past 2 months or so I can say without a doubt have been the best 2 months of “teaching” in the time I’ve had the pleasure of you being the Shepard of the North Point lost sheep. Loved this series you are working through right now!

  2. (I appreciate the blog graphic.) It is humbling to think of the things others are having to bear with in me. It is also convicting to be sure I am bearing with others in love. Thanks for the message.

  3. So can we post this list to the front page of our website? This is who we are. Or do we have to paint a more attractive picture for the non-choir members.

    Or, is reality like when we start courting someone, are we really truthful with who we are from the get go?

    -I leave the toilet seat up,
    -I hate animals
    -Your cooking is terrible,
    -Your dad is a jerk,
    -You look horrible in blue,
    -My “McDonald’s” is Facebook and Twitter.
    -I am a workaholic

    If we can’t post your list to the front door or to the NP homepage, Do we truthfully really seek honesty 24/7?

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