Monday, November 14, 2011

Comment on "Why People Are Cranky"

Below is a comment KD received regarding the column "Why People Are Cranky".

Ohhhhh Bob. I can't believe you (1) wrote this drivel, and (2) actually believe it to be true. Because it does not equate with reality. It does, I will admit, equate with a fantasy illusion of Christianity or the Kingdom realized in fact and not just faith or even worse at sinless perfectionism (instant sanctification) upon being born again. And what a guilt trip it puts on any Christian (elect of God) who has had a bad day, has been cranky, felt so totally unmotivated --- do you really want them to doubt their salvation or security in the Lord because they "grumble, gripe, gossip, banter, bark, bite, beat, batter, and...butcher"?

Most of the Christians I have known over my 40+ years as a believer have been people with all sorts of failings, emotional and psychological problems -- brokenness from the deep hurts of life. And they came to the church because they heard there might be hope there. And they came to Christ to find healing. But for many of them.... it is a healing that takes years to grow into (if they ever really mature in the Lord at all). And some never do. Some keep doping themselves and drinking themselves and ___________ themselves (pick your sin and insert it in the blank) until they die without ever having realized -- except maybe once in a while in bits and pieces -- something of what they glimpsed in the gospel would be their restoration and renewal in redemption. And to be frank, even those who seem the most self-motivated, self-actualized believers.... get them alone in their darkest times and you will see they are far from the "got my s**t in one bag" facade they put on to the world.

Peterson: "I don't like motivational speakers for two reasons. First, it's often just a slick way to manipulate people. Second, more important, you don't have to motivate Christians."

This is a crock (the italicized words above). Among the tasks in my calling as a pastor is to motivate the saints... to encourage, admonish, beseech, coach, challenge... them to let God conform them to the image of His Son -- and to give them the truth that sets them free ... mostly that the past does not have to shackle them in the present, because the plans God has for them are not for harm but for good... to give them a hope and a future. (When I pronounce forgiveness following our prayer of confession I say: ".... I declare to you in the name of Jesus Christ we are forgiven; the past is gone, the future is open and filled with hope, and we are freed to live life abundantly today and give God the glory).

Buuuuuuut Christians - authentics not posers - more than less - have so much love for Him that compels love for His that there's not much room left to be cranky.

Where have you been serving all these years? I have known posers. I've seen them over and over over the years. Some of them grow out of it. Some .... I suspect, but can't make the final judgment -- that's God's department -- were never born again. Yet they are all in the church. And even the authentics have had dry periods -- wilderness experiences -- times when the best they could do was pose (by which I mean, do the "Christian" thing -- go through the motions -- despite not feeling like it because of the weight they are carrying as they struggle with their relationship with God) and in this group I count myself from time to time.

We like to grumble, gripe, gossip, banter, bark, bite, beat, batter, and...butcher.

It's our nature.

Uh, that's why He said we must be born again and from above.

Now you are talking gospel. But still... until the Lord's return or I get to glory.... I join Paul in crying out, "Who will deliver me from this body of death?" And that includes my sinful (totally depraved) inclination to grumble, gripe, gossip, banter, bark, bite, beat, batter, and... butcher.

I don't mean this as dumping on you or chastising you -- but I suspect that at times you begin rhapsodizing in the world of this blog and get a bit off track.

Let me share with you two of the secrets I learned about pastoring in particular, but actually just being a Christian generally: (1) I can't expect Christian behavior from non-Christians -- this sets me free from self-righteous judging of those sinners; and, (2) I can't expect mature Christian behavior from babes in Christ, no matter how long they have been believers -- which sets me on the trail of encouraging them to move on from milk to meat in my ministry.

Perhaps a third secret is found in a stone laying in a spot where drops of water have fallen upon it for say, 10,000 years so far, and have made an indentation... and realizing that in another 100,000 years or more it will have worn a hole all the way through. This lesson frees me from expecting to see magnificent and glorious transformations in the lives of my people following each sermon I preach or each Bible study I teach... or blog I might write... and also frees me not to beat myself up because I still have not achieved complete (or anywhere near it) conformity to the image of Christ in my own life.

I suppose all this is to say, please be careful of what you write because it is easy to say things that "ain't necessarily so" no matter how good they sound.

All the best,


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