The Gospel that is. Do we? Do I get it? This section from Keller’s study on Galatians have floored me this weekend. I couldn’t help but brokenly ask myself, “Do you get it Zach?”
Another way is to bring classist, nationalistic, or racist attitudes from the world into the church. Many Christians belong to classes, groups, or personality types that we had always disdained in our lives outside the church. Working class Christians may have a distaste for Christians from wealthier or more socially “refined” backgrounds and vice versa. Christians from one political persuasion may be upset by the presence of those from the other end of the spectrum. Very talented Christians may feel unhappy that people they have always considered mediocre are part of the church. Socially polished Christians feel uncomfortable around believers who are socially awkward or marginal (and again vice versa). If we have fairly strong ties to an ethnic group (e.g. WASP, Hispanic, Chinese, African American), we may feel uncomfortable around people whose cultural emphases are different. We may respond to all this as Peter did. We will sit by “those other people” in church, but we won’t “eat” with them. In other words, we won’t really become friends with them. We won’t socialize with them, sharing our lives and homes and things with them. We will keep relationships formal and see them at official church meetings only. This, of course, is a serious lapse. It stems from a general feeling of superiority. Our hearts, without the gospel, have to manufacture self-esteem by comparing our group with other groups. But the gospel tells us we are all unclean without Christ and all clean in him. [emphasis me]
Oh it burns… It should. Sit in it with me and allow God to do His thing. Thanks for stopping by today…
Guilty as charged. I’ll take it a step further and suggest that we don’t even “eat”/share our lives nearly enough with persons with which we do share a camaraderie. I was talking with a old friend from out of town about a new friend with whom I pray/discuss spiritual stuff with fairly regularly, who seems mutually interested in walking through the trenches of Life together as fellow believers. I mentioned how it was sort of a newer kind of relationship for me, to which my old friend replied, “Yeah, you’d think that should be the norm, rather than the exception.”
I had to agree.
I’ll go ahead and follow up my last comment by pointing out that really loving people requires sacrifice, patience, understanding, forgiveness, and grace to see others as both fellow sinners and, at the same time, precious in God’s sight. It can be hard and it can be painful, but I’ve observed that the less of it that I do the harder and more painfully off-track my life becomes. It’s something, though, that I def need to step up my efforts in doing. It’s also something that’s exciting to see God bless.
Mike! Well said… Thank you. Yeah, it would be easy for us to throw ourselves under the bus with the weight of this, that is why it must come back to Gospel living, but I think when we feel the weight of it, it forces us to shout and plead to God, “I can’t do this! I’m not capable of this apart from you! Help me! Help me…” With me, that is connected with lots of tears and sorrow. But slowly, I see the Spirit working this more and more into my life. Thanks!