It is frightening.
Harbingers of chaos roam amongst us. Shining faces hiding secrets which they hope never come to light. And it has damaged the core of our proclamations of being “one in the spirit”. We all go to the meetings, proclaim that it was a “great message” and flock to the bookstores to get books, CDs and tapes on worship. We listen to all the radio shows. We also go to all our Bible studies and fellowship meetings. But what exactly changes? Does anything change?
I am not going to look back and review the specific incidents which have made me say what I have, but I will say that I have observed and endured anti-Christian behaviour amongst fellow Christians, personally and in the media. We hear of scandals and shocking events which make us wonder how it is that things have gotten so awry. It is shocking when people I know go through all the motions of being a good church person, and yet there is little or no evidence of true godliness outside of the confines of the “good behaviour” zone. I am especially dismayed at actions directed towards me or people I know which make me really wonder if any regeneration or maturity is taking place at all. It is hypocrisy of the most dangerous kind. Do we know what it really means to confess our sins to one another? to reconcile with one another? to forgive one another? Really?
With recent allegations of authoritarian abuse hitting mainstream media, I cannot help but think of how the early churches dealt with these situations. There was a certain strictness emphasised by the apostles regarding the dealings of sinful behaviour in the congregations, and we talk about it all the time in our group studies, proclaiming “Amen!”. But…then what? Where is the actual practical application? When was the last time you heard a brother or sister confessing a weakness or sin? How many of us know that there is “sin in the camp” but are apt to disregard or ignore it? And why do we wonder about how our “local movement” is “dying”, and why do we criticise the more charismatic revivals without examining our own pitfalls? And whatever happened to the basics of fellowship? Are we making disciples or excuses? And what am I doing about it?
When I find that I am hard pressed to find solace and peace in this matter, I am torn between wondering if there is something I need to do, or if there is something just not right about everything that we do. All I want is fellowship, true fellowship. What am I looking for that I cannot seem to find? Am I trying too hard? Am I shedding tears for nothing? What needs to change? Do we need to lay aside out platitudes and start over?
God has been faithful to me. I know that. Lord, tell me how I can do my part…and help everyone understand what they need to do to make things right.