I’ve received some great feedback from our previous email, “Getting There.” Some people were in agreement, some weren’t, and some may have misunderstood. I value it all! To those of you who took a moment or two to write back, thank you! I want to offer a response to some points that were raised with me during the last week.
– “The Jesus you’re describing sounds to me indifferent, tolerant of evil and afraid of taking a firm stand against darkness.”
The scope of my article was narrowed to emphasize the effect that the ridiculous statements can have on our hearts. It was definitely not an attempt to promote a tepid response to sin in general. My point was that keeping our hearts pure is more important to what the Lord is doing in and through us than keeping our tongues sharp.
I do have a firm standpoint on things; against evil, corruption, greed, abuse. I also have a strong urge to wage war against those who display in any of that with my words… but find that it doesn’t often wash with what I read in Ephesians 6:12. I want to fight on the appropriate level. Am I disgusted by some of what I see in high-profile Christianity today? Absolutely! Is speaking up in defense of the faith important? Absolutely! What I know for sure is that if my heart is polluted, I’m of no use… even if I am correct in my disgust. Ephesians 4:26-27 warns us against letting our anger cause us to sin. Jesus succeeded perfectly in this… but I’m not certain I am there yet.
– ”Jesus was a lot more vocal about the hypocrisy of the “spiritual elite” of his age than He was about the Roman government, the politicians, e.t.c… In fact … He was so upset about the subject of turning His Father’s house into a marketplace that it pretty much resulted in His only display of violence while on earth.
As I sat to write the other day, I was thinking about how during the days and hours leading up to His crucifixion, Jesus quietly, almost silently, allowed the religious leaders of the day the victory they sought… Not because He was weak, indifferent or on the wrong side of the argument… and certainly not because He was in agreement… but because the importance of His primary mission, which was reaching a critical stage, was so far greater than the need to sound off at their every mis-statement or error. Of course, He often did speak out strongly against the compromise He saw in the leadership of that day (which I loved). Had His mission been to debate every point, He could have won every argument… but He came to seek and save the lost. I believe today we are at another critical stage.
When I think about the ultimate power Jesus had at His disposal, and yet only turned over some tables as He made His point that day in the temple, His response doesn’t strike me as being strong… but extremely merciful. Not passive… Not weak-kneed… but mercifully measured; like He was confident that Heaven’s record keeping and judgement day wouldn’t fail in bringing its justice in due time. Meanwhile, there was a mission to accomplish.
I’m reminded of Psalm 23:3-4, “Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who shall stand in His Holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.” What Jesus did on the cross allows us clean hands… but the “pure heart” part is up to us.