Thursday, April 14, 2016

Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought.” Romans 12:3 (NIV).

Dirty Laundry 01On Thursday, April 7th Mary Nell and I had tickets to attend the Chonda Pierce show.  She is a comedienne and delivered her humor at the Inglewood Baptist Church on Highland.  She talked about her church roots as a Pentecostal.  She was entertaining about 1,000 women and 10 brave men who tagged along with their spouse!  She used humor to talk about the divisions and traditions that exist among believers in Jesus.  What she said was funny, but so true!

Some do not appreciate “hanging out our dirty laundry.”  Some relish revealing the faults of others, but never reveal their own!  After all, “Why would others wish to exchange their dirty clothing just to put on ours?”  Yet, God did what uninspired men refuse to do!

Jesus called twelve apostles.  Not because they were handsome.  Not because they were smarter.  Not because they were wiser.  Certainly not because they were perfect (Mark 8:33).  Four were fishermen.  At least one knew all the curse words and found opportunity to use some of them (Matthew 26:72, 74)!  Two sought special favors and power (Mark 10:35-37).  They were also “mama boys” (Matthew 20:20-21).  One was hated and another would have killed him (Luke 5:27; 6:15).   Jesus addressed one as Satan and another as a betrayer (Luke 4:8; John 13:27-30).  To all he said, “O ye of little faith” (Matthew 8:26; 16:8).

Jesus promised and built his church (Matthew 16:18).  He perfected those which God added to it (Acts 2:47).  Yet, his members did not forget how to sin!  For a decade, the first congregation refused to preach to “every creature” (Mark 16:15; Acts 10:34-35).  The church of God in Corinth was riddled with doctrinal problems and practices (1 & 2 Corinthians).  The congregation in Ephesus left their first love (Revelation 2:4).  One even gave Jesus stomach problems (Revelation 3:14-22).  All of them, due to their imperfections, required God’s grace and Jesus’ blood!  Their real success was not in supplying us with a perfect example to pattern after, but in revealing that the only reason they were saved was because of Jesus’ perfection!!  A lesson neglected and hidden from so many!

In the mid-nineteenth century, Alexander Campbell and others were interested in uniting a divided Christianity.  Campbell thought such a movement would hasten Jesus’ return!  Faulty thinking.  Regardless of how noble man may be, such visions often perpetuate our sinfulness rather than our imagined perfection.  Dirty laundry happens.  As pointed out in a humorous way by Chonda Pierce, every church is burdened with it.  Yes, even the one you belong to!  Satan blinds us to that imperfection and assists us in pointing our finger at others.

We seek unity, and produce division.  We preach love, and are burdened with hate.  We plead for truth, and harbor lies.  We target perfection, with impotent ammunition.  Our sight is filled with faults, but not our own.  We have answers that will cure, but refuse the pill.  We wear our best on Sunday, but our real face on Monday.  Thankfully we do not lie about our contribution, or do we (Acts 5:1-11)?

Isn’t there anything good about the church?  About the members?  Yes.  Certainly!  There are some very commendable things.  In spite of Jesus’ rebuke, he spoke of things that were commendable (Revelation 2 and 3).  But, do we have dirty laundry?  Oh, no!  We don’t talk about “our” dirty laundry.

However, God does (Romans 3:10, 23)!  That’s why you and I are in such great need of His grace and the blood of Jesus!