My Grace-Full Life

10.27.19 Praise & Prayer Prompt: Unity in the Church

PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• Every year, my husband and I play a game of tug-of-war with the thermostat being our rope of choice. He’s more cold-natured than I am and as the fall temperatures move in, he wants to turn on the heat. But having lived in NC most of my life, I know that October may bring fall weather one day, and second summer the next. And I figure—throw an extra blanket on the bed and just wear a sweater until the temperatures are consistently cool enough to warrant the heat. I can’t stand the heat being turned on and off. This morning, I woke up to a 76-degree house. Muttering to myself, I flipped the switch to off.

We all have different points of view on various topics. Our thermostat is a silly example of our individual convictions being at odds, but there are some really serious examples playing out in front of the world right now.

Two recent hot buttons in the Christian community have included 1) the derogatory comments about Beth Moore by John MacArthur. He clearly takes issue with women in ministry. And 2) Kanye West, who released a Christian rap album on Friday. I’ve never been a fan of his, but have been following the announcement of his conversion to Christianity. It’s beautiful to see but many take issue with this former bad-boy representing the Christian faith.

These two debates are sad to me. As Christians, we talk about loving one another as Jesus commanded… but a 50-year ministry veteran didn’t show it. And we talk about grace and forgiveness, but many Christians aren’t extending it.

Yesterday, I read an open letter from Noah Hinshaw that summed it up perfectly (and I hope you’ll search for it). It was a call for Christians to remember that the world is watching us. 

And that should be a wake-up call. If we call ourselves Christians, and don’t behave in a Christ-like way, how on earth do we expect to influence others who don’t believe? How do we explain to unbelievers about God’s love and mercy when we can’t live it?

About a year ago, I had a conversation with an unbeliever I know. This person was playing Pokémon Go and ended up on the edge of a church parking lot. When someone noticed him, they told him to leave; he wasn’t welcome. Needless to say, that didn’t go over well with the unbeliever who approached me later about it and said, “I thought Christians were supposed to be loving.”

It infuriated me for multiple reasons because this is someone I pray for daily. And in one careless moment by a stranger, mistrust of the church deepened. It shouldn’t be like that.

I know Christians are still imperfect sinners, and we’re going to make mistakes. But these kinds of judgmental attitudes are exactly what gives Christians a bad name. And the John MacArthurs and judgmental Christians of the world who decide who should and shouldn’t receive grace may be in the minority, but their actions speak so loudly. And it’s hurting the church.

I could reference a number of verses, but let’s focus on this one—“I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment” (1 Corinthians 1:10 ESV).

Whether you believe that women have a place in ministry or not—that’s not relevant. Look at the results, not the gender. Beth Moore has had a positive influence on millions of women AND men. She has led thousands, if not millions, to Jesus.

Then look at Kanye West. I don’t know the man, but his circle of influence could be tremendous for the Kingdom of God. Who cares about his past? We should be focused on what his present could mean for the future of millions! 

And look at your own attitude. Are you willing to welcome someone in, no matter who they are or how they look? Are you willing to show Christian love? And you willing to extend grace and forgiveness, remembering how Christ extended it to you?

If we don’t come together as the church, our division will destroy us. The world IS watching. And every time we come against each other in a moment of self-righteous judgment, the world laughs.

Today, today, as you pray, thank Jesus for being the heart of our beliefs. Thank Him for his love, forgiveness, and goodness. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you pray for the church and other believers. Ask Him to stir revival in our communities and let that revival begin with you. Ask Him to help you show Christian love to everyone you meet.

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