Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Prosecution Rests

a : the act of criticizing usually unfavorably criticism;
b : a critical observation or remark criticism;

Criticism. Despite my attempts to conceal my disdain for the way that some things are done, particularly in the Christian realm, sometimes I fail miserably. For the most part I keep things, particularly thoughts, to myself. But being passionate as I am, sometimes it is difficult to conceal those thoughts. It is hard to look at the world we live in, seeing the utter chaos and brokenness that exists-even in the church, and just sit back and smile. Passion has always been the driving force behind my pursuits, and it's spectacularly difficult for me to sit still when it's ingrained in me to do quite the opposite. So it becomes easy to then say, I know something can be done, because I've been a part of or seen others do it and criticize those who do nothing. Particularly those who preach, teach, disciple, know and understand fully what the Bible says about our brothers and sisters (not strangers) in need.
On the whole, I have to face the facts, I think we are missing the mark on a lot of things, myself included. We have hundreds of millions of orphans, hunger beyond human comprehension, homelessness at an alarming and all-time high, HIV spreading, millions of people who still have yet to hear the gospel of Christ -all the while passing the task on to everyone else. Love is not a calling, it is an action, a verb. And none who call themselves Christians are exempt.
But, lately, God has put this sort of bell in my head that rings when I realize that instead of inspiring, or encouraging people to give, go, or serve, I am instead being critical. I'm mature enough to admit it and to freely express the tendancy I yield to more often than I would like to admit. God is so clear about love being the answer, grace being the motivation, not guilt nor criticism. It wasn't until I saw it rear its ugly head at me that I began to see the effect it has. While waiting at a stoplight, a gentleman collecting funds for an organization tapped on my windshield and pointed to his bucket. I politely smiled and said no thank you, to which he angrily pounded his fist on my window while cluthching a coin and said "it's just a penny!" I shook my head no again and he begrudgingly walked away. I was flustered for about a second until I clearly heard God say, isn't that what you do when you assume people don't care because they don't give where you give, or go where you go, or aren't as passionate about the things I have made you passionate about? Like a ton of bricks crashing to the ground, my heart fell. "But that's not what I was doing God? I just want people to be inspired to go, give, serve- anywhere, not just where I am?" To which God said, "Are you sure?" Truth. I couldn't be sure.

Absolutely my heart screams for the least of these, and more than anything I want us as Christians to love others as the Bible calls us too, but the lesson I learned that day was that having a critical spirit is not the answer. That day reminded me of Jesus while hanging on the cross. Despite what he had just endured, He simply said "Forgive them father, for they do not know what they are doing." Luke 30:34 NIV

Forgive me Father. I am just a dumb sheep trying to make a difference. Thank you for your grace and for always showing me where I fall short, while pointing me back to the narrow path. May we lovingly but with persistance and passion-encourage, inspire and more importantly live a life of selflessness that needs no explanation, but leaves instead a mark and a legacy that screams to others-I want to serve that way too.

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