I am going to get up on a soapbox for a moment today. I won’t apologize for my rant. I think people in the church need to hear it. There are two schools of thought (actually more but for the moment two I’m going to talk about) that are slipping into our churches and lowing the integrity of the church.
The concept of sloppy grace has oozed its way into the churches. It’s the everything you do is okay as long as you repent theory. It’s the “I can go out and commit every sin possible and God will always love me anyhow”. It’s the concept of “once saved always saved” mentality. Just because you mumbled a prayer once it does not save you from your sin. God wants us to strive for a holy and righteous lifestyle. This does not mean if you mess up, then He’s going to drop a piano on your head and send you to hell. It’s not like that at all. But use this for example, if I go up and smack you then say I’m sorry, and then do it again, and say I’m sorry again. The cycle continues am I really sorry? Repentance is a complete turn around. Struggling in sin is different than habitual sinning. Struggling means your trying to break free, but habitual means you’re just going to live your life the way you want to. This is not living a life for God. This is living a life for yourself and hoping you’ll get away with it. Many would read this and say “Oh now don’t judge.” I’m not judging I can’t tell you where the line is. I don’t believe in living under condemnation and control, but I do believe in living righteously. You have to remember that one day you’ll give an account for your life. No, none of us are perfect. But that’s not an excuse to go live life like the devil and think there will be no consequences. I assure you that your actions have fruit whether it be good fruit or bad, and God doesn’t like bad fruit! (Matt 7:17) As my pastor would say, “If you want to go on sinning I’d question if you really ever believed that prayer of salvation that you have kept in your back pocket for ‘fire insurance’”. The blood of Jesus does not give us permission to go and act like the devil!
Naive thinking in the church needs to be addressed as well. We all have pasts as believers. None of us are perfect, but churches take the naive card too many times and error on the side of ignorance. This inactive approach has sadly caused many horrific situations. What do I mean? If someone has been a child molester and they’ve repented, I’m glad they’ve repented. I pray they’ll move on with life, but just cause they’ve repented or gone through something you think as counseling does NOT make it okay to put them as a volunteer back in children’s church! Perhaps the children’s ministry is not the best place for them. If a pastor or leader has a past of adultery, then the opportunity to fall again should be avoided. That’s why if there is a meeting there really needs to be more than two people in the room. It’s ministry 101 that one man and one woman do not meet for a meeting with the door shut. We are our brother’s keeper are we not? (Gen 4:9) It would not make sense not to shake a chicken in front of an alligator and think one’s hand will not get bit. But yet I hear stories far too often of horrible situations that happen in ministries that could have and should have been avoided. But we like to think all is well. The enemy studies our moves and will and can hit us where we are weak. If a person has a weakness it doesn’t make since to shake it in front of them. We’d like to think that nothing would happen, so we stick our head in the sand like an ostrich and then wonder why bad things happen. Is it wrong for me to say DUH here? DUH!
Jesus did not die on the cross and be brutally mutilated for us to live how we want and then say “oopsie” later. Yes, there is grace, but grace can’t be a Band-aid. We have to wake up as believers, get our head out of the sand, and live our lives for purpose and with purpose. We can’t turn blind eyes to sin when there are innocent people in harms way. We have an ethical and moral obligation to society to guard the flock, and not just to assume everything will be okay. Whether we are pastors or lay people, or members of the body we have a sphere of influence around us that we need to pray for and guard.
I’ll step off my soapbox now. Not promising you that it will be for long. But hear me today, and do not be ignorant of the enemy’s devices (2 Corinthians 2:11)
God has awesome plans for your life. Get excited!