Friday, February 22, 2008

You Need the Negativity

Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,
(2 Timothy 3:12 – ESV)

Recent polls tell us what we already know: many people that want to draw near to God also want to stay away from church. The reason often given is that there is so much negativity they have found there. Of course, they haven’t been to every church, but this cry is heard so often that it truly might seem as if there are no churches where there isn’t any negativity.

Actually the truth is that they are right, there aren’t any non-negative churches.

There aren’t supposed to be.

You see we all need some negativity, and yes, especially from people inside the church.

Jesus told us that in the world we would have tribulation, but that He has overcome the world (John 16:33). He presented the truth that He would be with the disciples by the Holy Spirit, to allow the negative circumstance to be an opportunity for increased faith. Even though they were to be scattered and killed, they would have faith (1 John 5:4). We can certainly apply these verses to us today.

Yet many take these truths and then, instead of being a call for faith, as Jesus intended, they see it as an instrument of fear. They either isolate from the world in the church, or practice the relatively new phenomena of isolating from the church in the world. Neither is effective at insulating us from trouble, rather, they actually decrease our ability to adapt and overcome in faith when the promised trouble comes. We cannot simply practice isolation in order to avoid it. We deny Christ and the Great Commission in doing so.

You have probably heard it said, or thought or even said it yourself: “I have never had a negative experience studying the Bible or in prayer, but have had many negative experiences in church or from people that I thought (at the time) were Christians.” My answer to that is: if you have never had a negative experience with God, what Bible have you been reading? Did it not convict you? Was there no tension? Did you read the pages and still miss all the adversity found there, even among those who were on the same side?

The idea of “Vox Populi Vox Deus”, or “The voice of the people is the voice of God”, is the problem with conducting polls. Just because some majority of professing (real or not) Christians feels a certain way about a subject does not mean it is the same thing God thinks. The answer to this is: What do the scriptures teach!

Yes, non- “church building” worship is fully biblical, and we do not need a survey to tell us that it is aligned with the Bible. People all over the world want Christ in their heart but there are circumstances where they cannot get together inside a building and worship together. However, that doesn’t excuse those who can congregate but won’t. Some are isolated from being in church because of persecution against the church. God will insulate them in their hearts. Others are just isolating themselves from church because they insulate their own hearts from God by playing isolation games from God’s people.

If you cannot handle adversity with those of like precious faith, and those closest to you, how do you expect to handle it out in the world? Or do you just not have to because you avoid it? Is that what you do with members of your own flesh and blood family, just avoid them or play nice, and avoid the negativity? God’s people should not be that way. Adversity should not breed avoidance it should breed faith. It is not that we should love adversity but that we should learn from it...

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©


Even So... said...

What? No negative comments? Of course, such comments would only prove my point...we need to sharpen each other as iron, and that can cause sparks...

Even So... said...

It is not that we should love adversity but that we should learn from it...

Even So... said...

I went ahead and added that last line to the post...

Even So... said...

Hey look, four comments...I guess I am feeling pretty "negative" right now...


donsands said...

"If you cannot handle adversity with those of like precious faith, and those closest to you, how do you expect to handle it out in the world?"

You're so right. But sometimes it can be easier for me with an unbeliever outside the church, than a so-called believer. Some people in the Church can be more nasty than the world.

But I agree, those whom the Lord has imputed His righteousness to, and who are genuine believers in Christ, and who love Christ first, need to deal with the negative things within the Church, and come together and meet in love, and the love will be a tough love perhaps.

I and another brother in the Lord locked horns in the church one time, and I was quite angry at what this brother did, and he was angry at what i did.
We talked it out. I admonished him, and I admitted to my carelessness. He told me that he respected me, and loved me as a brother, and I did the same.
It was a very hot season, and now it has passed.
Others may still hold a grudge agaisnt me, and even resent and hate me, and these are those who may possibly be false disciples, and God is exposing their hearts, so they can repent, before it's everlasting too late.

Sorry for rambling, but you bring stuff out of the heart JD, and that's what a good pastor does.

jeff said...

Well said. As a pastor, I have seen people drop out of our church and all others over the years. There is a commonality with them all: they all think they are right! No bending, submitting, working with others. It's their way and if their way is out so are they.

It's not a problem with dealing with negativity, it's a problem with not getting their way and having no desire to work with others, that they explain as "negativity." WHen in reality, after these people leave, the negativity in the church sure seems to drop an awful lot! They all end up at home very lonely and sad people.

But that's just my experience with this issue. I'm sure there are exceptions.