I mourn for Paris. I mourn for the Church.
Just as the recent attacks in Paris provoke a deep mourning for France and many around the world, so too do they provoke within me a deep mourning for the Church. It seems that in today’s age of political evangelical Christianity when there is a humanitarian crisis (especially if it involves terrorism) the Church flees. At a time when people are in crisis; in need of help and compassion; the love of Christ is hard to find.
Why? Because during these trying times, the Church flees from its moral responsibility to live out the life of Christ, oftentimes preferring the safety of ignorance and the comfort of complacency.
I have this image in my head that I can’t seem to get rid of. It’s an image of Nero standing on a hill watching Rome Burn. I can’t help but feel the irony of a time where the Church stands by and simply watches Paris, Syria, etc., burn.
I do not understand how some who call themselves Christian act as though they have no ethical responsibility towards those who are seeking refuge? No doubt with chests raised and shoulders broad, you are quick to address any behavior in our own country you deem immoral. But how blind you have become to your own behavior – your own sins. Do you not see how this was the same problem Jesus had with the Pharisees.
You say God will punish the nation that does not serve him. You point your fingers at the gays, abortionists, and atheists and say “you are the reason we are being punished”. But this sounds just like what the ancient Jews declared. They blamed the Egyptians, Syrians, Philistines, Babylonians, and at times even God for their circumstances. They blamed everyone but themselves. And what was God’s response? The Prophet Malachi sums up the real problem:
- They lied to God.
- They mistreated the poor (both legislatively as well as morally).
- The religious leader’s teachings lead people astray, even to the point of outright sin.
- They disobeyed God’s teaching and invented their own.
God’s biggest enemy was not the Babylonians, or Syrians, or even the Romans. God’s most significant enemy was his own people. It was his own people who suppressed his message of hope, love and grace.
This was exemplified in the life of Jesus. Believe it or not, all that Jesus did can be summed up in one ethic – he loved. This love manifested itself in various ways, whether it was the physical healing, teaching or feeding.
Jesus worst enemy was not Rome. It was the religious leaders of his day. You remember, they were the pious ones who held to the strict letter of the moral law. But…they were empty of love and compassion. Even to the point of questioning Jesus about why he healed on the Sabbath.
Sometimes I wonder if today’s Church is yesterday’s Religious leaders. Is the church a whitewashed tomb? Have its halls become empty?
I think many of us fail to remember that at the end of Jesus’ life, it was not the Romans who killed him, it was his own people.
I don’t believe for a minute that God is punishing or will punish our country because of its secularization or because it fails to adopt some higher morality – its hokum. If God does punish America it will be because of the Church.
…“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.
And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.”
…“Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’”
~ The Book of Matthew Chapter 7
It is time for people in the Church to stop listening to politicians (those inside and outside of the church) and begin listening to Jesus. Don’t let the hollow words of today’s religious leaders lead you down a path of destruction.
A brief note for the oppressed
Do not put your hope in men, or in an institution – they will always fail you, and always let you down. I want you to understand the REAL gospel message.
Your hope is in Christ Jesus who loves you no matter who you are. He will heal you right where you stand from any sickness. He will provide shelter from any storm. He will protect you from any enemy; and one day deliver them into your hands.
God will raise up true disciples who will do what is necessary to live out that message and help free those who are oppressed.
Church…this time, let there be room in the inn.