Welcome to Church! (We shoot our wounded)

18 Jun

Near the beginning of the movie “The Patriot”, there is a scene where British soldiers win a battle near Benjamin Martin’s farm.  They as they are clearing the farm, they find a number of wounded patriots who sought refuge at the farm house.  Martin (himself a war veteran of days gone by) and his family provide comfort and limited medical care.  As the brutal British commander rides through, he orders his men to shoot the wounded and burn the house (to teach Martin a lesson).  It is heart-breaking and infuriating at the same time.  It was a cruel act.

And, yet, we in the North American church are not so different.  Yes, we shoot our wounded.  All of my Christian life, I’ve been taught to live by God’s Word as best I can.  To love God.  To love each other.  These are the words of Christ.  But there is also an undercurrent … A hidden language.  The unwritten rules by which most churches function.

We, the Church, have some really bad habits.  We claim and freely embrace the mercy and grace of Christ.  We fully accept the fact that God Himself send His Only Son to die on a cross for our sins when we did not deserve it.  But, when one of our number stumbles, too often we push them to the side and keep moving.  We get caught in this idea of not wanting to justify the sin of others, so we ignore it.  We ignore them.  We ignore grace.

We don’t do this so quickly when a brother or sister among us makes a “little mistake.”  But woe be unto anyone who makes a BIG MISTAKE.  Instead of reserving judgment for God Himself, we put them on trial in the court of popular opinion.  In that court, one is guilty until proven innocent.  And even if they might be exonerated, once the damage is done to their reputation, they are done…. Untouchable …  Shot while wounded and left to die.

And those who judge don’t even realize they are caught in a self-made trap of judgmentalism and legalism.  Each and every day, they look at little more like Pharisees and a little less like Christ.  And they don’t even know it.

One of the things I will always love about my mom and dad is the fact that, no matter how bad I messed up, I would always be their son.  They would always love me.  They might be disappointed, but they would always love me.  They raised me this way, and this is what being a family means to me!  And, the last time I checked, we (the Church) are supposed to be FAMILY.

In Matthew 7:2, Jesus said “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”  Read that a few times and allow it to sink in…  And, for goodness sake, please STOP shooting your wounded.

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