February 05, 2008

Amen - Preach It Brother!

My wife's sister gave me a great Christmas present this year by giving me a gift certificate to Amazon. I love to read and am slowly becoming a bibliophile.

One of the books that I purchased with that gift was Jerry Bridge's most recent work "Respectable Sins". I'll do a complete book review here in the next couple days but one of his statements really resonated with me:

But on the whole, we appear to be more concerned about the sins of society than we are the sins of the saints. In fact, we often indulge in what I call the "respectable" sins or even "acceptable" sins without any sense of sin.

O-U-C-H! Wow! That's a 2X4 upside the head right there. You think about it though. It's absolutely true. There are so many churches on crusades against pornography, gambling, abortion, homosexuality, alcohol, stem-cell research etc. And please don't get me wrong, all of those things are societal sins and I'm not saying that we should quit praying that God would deliver people from them. Neither is Bridges.

But how many churches have you seen go on a crusade against:

  • The gossiping elderly women's group in their church
  • The men who care more about their golf swing than they do about leading their family spiritually
  • The church members who give Jesus less than one thought each day
  • The divisive church clique who wants to play the black sheep role and portray that they are being mistreated by the church
  • The wealthy church members who hang out with each other but show no hospitality to those less fortunate than they are

And the list could go on. When was the last time a church went on a crusade against that? And I'll ask this tough question to give you an idea of why I'm finding this book to ring very true:

When was the last time abortion split a church and destroyed the unity of the body? Conversely, when was the last time an un-forgiving, gossiping group of people split the church and destroyed the unity of the body?

Puts things in perspective doesn't. The societal sins are great. There's no doubt we live in a fallen world. But the secret world of our hearts and our tongues is far more deadly to our churches and to our Biblical communities than the adult book stores alongside the road.

And I think one of the major reasons a lot of people go on those crusades against societal ills is because it's easier to do that than to repent of the evils inside our hearts as members of a Biblical community.

It's easier to put the focus on what's wrong AROUND us rather than focusing on what's wrong WITHIN us.

It's safer to focus on IT instead of focusing on ME.

But if we don't repent of ME, we'll never make any headway against the sins of society.

The battle must begin in us first.

1 comment:

Linden said...

I was going to comment "Amen! Preach it!" But you already used that as your title.

It is these internal sins that we Christians choose to ignore/fail to address that so many lost souls see as hypocricy. This is one (of many) reason why ME has to be fixed before THEM.