I have felt compelled to write this for some time and after much thought, anxiety, and prayer, and a discussion last night with my father-in-law and brother-in-law (I consider both to be “true” christians) I decided to give it a whirl.
Hopefully someone who feels undeserving of the picture I paint about “christians” will step forward and defend their actions or lack of actions or come to the realization that this is the impression that they give to all the world.
First, let me explain one thing. I call myself a christian and I am certainly not blameless in many things. But one of the excuses that christians use for not being more “Christ like” is that they are simply “human” and just normal people but “covered by the blood.”
I am not going to point fingers at specific people even though it is specific group of people, “leaders” or those “called” by God to minister that is the focus of this commentary.
This is the picture:
A guy is raised in the church and like many others is a faithful follower, studies the scriptures, and works at being “Christ like.” Many will argue that you don’t work at being “Christ like” that you are simply transformed, but in my opinion, it is not that simple. You must put effort into praying and reading the scriptures and ask for that renewing of the mind in order to be transformed into a more “Christ like” person.
So this guy falls on hard times – loses his job, his health deteriorates, he is up and down in moods, he tells his fellow “church goers,” his pastor and deacons of his struggles in bits and pieces.
His struggles worsen, suicidal thoughts race through his mind, he wants someone to talk to, someone to share and bear his burdens with him. He has worked all his life and now struggles to find work.
He battles with depression as he fights with the unemployment and social security to try and get some financial relief. One of his friends hangs himself, because he could not handle the pressure of life and the burdens placed on him.
The thought of exiting this life gets him to wondering – would anyone even notice that he was gone?
He ends up in the emergency room with stress related symptoms, bill collectors are calling and now he finds out the house he and his family have lived in for more than three years is being foreclosed on.
He stops going to church. One Sunday passes, two Sundays, three Sundays. He wonders why the pastor or one of the deacons doesn’t check on him or even call. Two more Sundays pass and he is now in the middle of moving. Still not one call from one of his “brothers” or “sisters” in Christ.
The move is bearing down hard on him and then his mother ends up in the hospital. Not for a day – for a week! He finishes moving and his mom gets out of the hospital.
Every day he checks his home phone and cell phone to make sure they are working, in case a “brother” or sister” decides to call and check on him.
It has been two months since he set foot in the church building. He drives past it often, but the pastors car is never there. Perhaps because he is out visiting the members of his congregation?
The next Sunday he gets up and goes to Starbucks and something happens that strikes him as very interesting. The barrista (who hasn’t seen him in six months or more) calls him by name and literally makes people wait in line while asking all about how he is doing. No one knows if the barrista is a “christian,” but in that moment, everyone in that Starbucks recognized the “Christ like” concern and compassion that the barrista showed the man.
He goes out with his coffee and gets in the car with the feeling that someone does care about him. But then on the way home he breaks down in tears.
Why does he cry?
Because he still hasn’t heard from a soul at the church.
Matthew 18:12 says “How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?”