Quiet Time: Are You Feeling Guilty?
I recently watched as a congregation I love was spiritually raped. A Christian ministry came into the church for a three-day program whose purpose was to encourage believers to pray more. During one of the breakout sessions, a man expressed his frustration with unanswered prayer. He had faithfully prayed with and for his daughter for years, and still she was not walking with God. He was broken, depressed, perhaps more than a little ashamed. How does God in his grace speak to this man? A bruised reed was crying out for help.
What happens next is painful to read, the bruised reed was crushed. I've been there and right now I'm so angry I could… I could… I don't know, but it probably wouldn't be a good thing.
God save us from legalistic fundamentality which elevates our truths over yours.
Yes truth matters, yes doctrine matters but God's truth and God's doctrine reveals God's passionate love for the people he created. It's us – the Pharisaical tendencied – who have turned them into rods and weights to punish the people with.
Did I just include myself? Yes I did, and that really hurts. I think what makes me so angry about this is the knowledge that I have been known to crush a few reeds here and there; as well as the memories of being mercilessly crushed myself.
Enter God's mercy…
"God have mercy on me, a sinner."
–Unnamed tax man in Luke 18:13
It's more than a quote – it's a way of life for any true Christian.
Got a guilt problem today? More importantly what is it motivated by? If your guilt is motivated by missing the mark of Scripture find your answer in the publican's prayer. But if you're guilt is motivated by missing the mark of men… dismiss them and find the true Gospel of deliverance in Jesus Christ.
The problem is, the mark of men is often phrased in such wonderfully obfuscated ways that it's nearly impossible to figure out if their origin is God or not. So how do you figure it out? By turning to the scriptures. Don't hesitate to be like the Bereans of Acts 17:11. Luke praises them for checking to see if what Paul was saying was true! I have told my own congregation more than once that they need to open their Bibles if for no other reason than to see if I'm telling the truth. I recall that making one of the men visibly agitated; he later told me that it bothered him to think I might be wrong about something. I don't recall my response but it was more than likely that he should take heart that I was willing to be tested in the scriptures.
I love being tested by the scriptures because God uses his word to reveal what's wrong with me. More importantly his Holy Spirit steps in to reprove and correct me. Sometimes the truth hurts… but then again so does surgery. Being exposed to truth is supposed to be a path towards healing. Occasionally healing means something bad must be cut away. That's why the Psalmist prayed,
"Let the righteous smite me in kindness and reprove me; It is oil upon the head; Do not let my head refuse it…" -Psalm 141:5
So I'm glad I read that series of posts. It was nice to be wounded * this morning. It was even better to be healed.
* Psalm 141:5, Proverbs 27:6