Keeper of His Home

by Chelsea McCafferty

Attack from Within – Every Christian Should Read This

US Army Best Warrior Competition DVIDSHUB via photopin cc

It’s war. It’s bloody. It’s terrifying and traumatizing. Medics on the frontlines are seeing horrendous things. One senior medical officer and his team arrive at a bombing site. As they exit the vehicle, they look out on a sea of wounded, dying, and already dead soldiers. There is blood everywhere. People are torn apart. They are in pain and suffering. They are confused and terrified. The man and his team immediately charge forward, stopping at one soldier after another to treat wounds, check for pulses, and sometimes just to offer a bit of relief and comfort.

Sweat pours down the medic’s face as he works diligently, saving lives wherever he can. Suddenly, from the corner of his eye he sees several of his team members engaged in some sort of conflict. He hears the shouting. He runs to their aide only to find that they aren’t fighting with the enemy at all, but with each other.

“What’s going on here?” he shouts.

“Sir, this soldier needs to be disciplined,” says one officer.

“Why?” the senior medic asks. “Has he given someone the wrong treatment? Perhaps given the wrong medication?”

“No sir,” he replies, red-faced and full of indignation.

“Has he committed treason? Is he working with the enemy?” asks the senior medic.

“No sir,” he answers.

“Well, what has he done?”

“He is wearing the wrong uniform, sir. Sir, he should be wearing the standard medic’s uniform and he has come out in the wrong gear. His uniform is also wrinkled and unkempt. I have been checking his reports as he treats these patients, and his handwriting is a mess. He sometimes uses abbreviations instead of full words. He is sloppy. He is also getting way too friendly with the patients, sir. He has been getting to know them and spends his time off reading to them. This is not our standard protocol. Even here on the frontline, he insists on talking to the wounded. He asks their name and shares his first name. His FIRST name sir! He calls them ‘friend’ and ‘buddy’ instead of formal language. He doesn’t seem to care that he gets their blood all over himself. He doesn’t seem to care about keeping himself clean on the field. Plus, he has a tendency to break formation if he sees a wounded man outside of his zone. He will do whatever it takes to get to that man, despite our normal way of doing things. Doesn’t he know our traditions? Doesn’t he care about how he looks? This soldier is a disgrace and I demand he is court-martialed immediately.”

The senior medic raised his eyes from the ground and looked squarely in the face of the complaining officer. Tears began to stream down his face. His expression showed the pain he was feeling inside. He was even trembling as he spoke.

“Officer, do you know how many men have just died in these moments that you have taken to tear apart your brother-in-arms? Do you realize how many men are suffering because you are so busy looking for the fault in our fellow officer instead of treating the wounded and saving lives? You selfish, selfish man. Look around you! Look at them! They are dying! They don’t care that this man’s clothes are dirty. At least he is willing to get down in the trenches with them and wear their blood if need be. These men don’t care if he strays from old traditions and protocols. At least he is willing to fight for them and never gives up on them because they are outside of his zone. These men don’t need a cold expression and rigid formal language. They need this man, who shows them compassion and is a friend to them as they lay here dying and in despair.

“You know what your problem is?” said the senior medic. “In all of your training and in all of your thinking, you forgot the most important part of our job. We are to save lives. That’s it. We are to bring hope where there is none. We are to bring relief where there is pain. All of your complaints and rebukes against this man have done nothing for the dying, done nothing to help us win this war, and they do nothing to make you a better soldier. While you pick apart your brother, men are dying and the enemy is winning minor victories. What a shame.”

This fictional story is a picture of what is happening in the church today. You see, my brothers and sisters, we are in a war. We are in the Lord’s army, fighting the enemy and trying to save the dying. That is the commission our Commander has given us. We are called to minister to those who are suffering and bring light into dark lives. We are to share a life-giving gospel with those who are spiritually dead and dying. That’s our job and our purpose as believers, and yet so many Christians would rather spend their time picking apart their brothers and sisters in the Lord, flinging insults, accusations, and defamation on fellow believers because of minor differences in theology or conviction.

There are a few words that spring to mind when I meditate on this problem within the church—legalism, judgment, self-righteousness. There are few of us who haven’t struggled with these issues at one time or another. The problem is, we are watching the church tear itself apart because of them. We are seeing bickering, church splits, “witch” hunts and public slander of fellow believers. What is going on? Why are we losing sight of the mission? I bet the enemy loves it!

Here are a couple of points I feel compelled to share:

  1. Giving the wrong medication.

The complaining officer was asked if the medic was giving the wrong medication. Listen, family, the lost people of this world are dying. They are dying in their sin and without the right medicine (the gospel of Jesus Christ), they will die and find themselves in eternal hell. They need medicine! The wrong medicine is anything that is not the gospel of Jesus. If someone is sharing a gospel that is different than that of the Bible, he or she is doing wickedness and should be exposed. However, if they are giving the right medicine, but maybe using a different method of delivery, why are you interfering with them doing their job?

“John said to him, ‘Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.’ But Jesus said, ‘Do not stop him, for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. For the one who is not against us is for us. For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ will by no means lose his reward.’” Mark 9:38-41

This passage speaks such truth into this problem. We see someone serving God in a slightly different way than we do and we jump to attack. Stop him! He’s doing things differently! Yet Jesus says, if this man is not against Him, then he is for Him. He finishes by teaching that we are rewarded for blessing our brothers and sisters in Christ, regardless if we have all things in common. We are to love them, not despise them or rail against them. Not to tear down their ministries or seek out ways to discredit them. If they are teaching the gospel of Jesus, let them do it.

  1. Legalism is bad medicine.

Sometimes the bad medicine that spiritually prideful Christians are trying to give their “troubled” brothers and sisters in the world (i.e. those who may have more freedom in Christ) is actually legalism. Look at what God says:

“For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough. Indeed, I consider that I am not in the least inferior to these super-apostles. Even if I am unskilled in speaking, I am not so in knowledge; indeed, in every way we have made this plain to you in all things….” 2 Cor. 11:4-6

“And what I am doing I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission, they work on the same terms as we do. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.” 2 Cor. 11:12-13

“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. For am I now seeking the approval of man or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel.” Galatians 1:6-11

This perverted gospel that Paul writes about is that we somehow are still bound to legalism though we are saved by grace. You see, Christian Jews were trying to force gentiles into obeying their law and traditions. Paul said this was not necessary. To say that we need anything in addition to the blood of Jesus to be saved is a perverted gospel indeed. It indicates that what Christ did was not enough.

If you have convictions about certain works in your life, you should follow them. Follow what you feel the Lord is calling you to do and do it as unto the Lord. However, if your convictions are not black and white in the Bible, you have no right to enforce your convictions on others or to judge their spiritual condition based on them. Whether it be celebrating man-made holidays (Halloween, Christmas, etc.) or whether or not to watch R-rated movies, or whether or not we should wear flip-flops to church, you are wrong to spend your time attacking your brothers and sisters when there is a world full of dying people out there who need the good medicine of Jesus Christ to come alive.

  1. The weaker brother is the one who is bound up.

“For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written,

‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.’ So then each of us will give an account of himself to God. Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual up-building. Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.” Romans 14

You are not your brother’s warden. You are not called to walk around disciplining your brothers and sisters all the time based on your convictions. Who are you to judge God’s servants because they celebrate Christmas, but you think it’s wrong? Is there a scripture that says it’s wrong? No. Yet you cause division and lash out because you disagree and because you think that somehow your job is to set everyone else right. It is not your job to discipline other Christians. Now, if there is an area of sin, you should go to a brother or sister you have a relationship with and, in love, encourage and rebuke if necessary. However, destroying people’s image and ministry because their opinions don’t line up with yours is really, really wrong…sin even.

  1. Causing unnecessary division is far worse a sin.

“The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people. But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.” Titus 3:8-11

Enough said?

  1. Back on mission please.

Alright, soldiers, time to get back on mission. It’s time to stop tearing each other up for stupid, insignificant reasons and get back to ministering to the hurting, bringing the Word of life to the spiritually dead, and walking in love and unity as God desires. If you are reading this and you know I’m talking to you, don’t start writing your rebuttal just yet. Why not pray about this? Your heart may be hardened by years of experience and bad examples that have conditioned you to be a constant critic of the body of Christ. Listen, that man who has a different teaching style, or a different view of end times, or doesn’t feel convicted about watching R rated movies, he is your brother in Christ. Maybe he’s wrong in some ways? Maybe you are? Yet he will spend his hours giving good medicine of the gospel to the dying while you spend yours on foolish controversies and debates. Who is doing God’s will? Who is on mission? Who is pleasing the Father?

I’ve had enough of it. I recently said that I don’t have time for spiritually prideful people and it’s true. I hope you don’t have time for it either. This kind of Christianity is like the red-faced soldier who would rather spend his time defaming his brother than helping people. I don’t have time for this. I won’t listen to it, entertain it, or be a part of it anymore. I want to be on mission. Join me!

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An Incredible & Convicting Experience

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Something incredible happened to us tonight and I really felt it was worth sharing, so here it is. My family and I had been working late on a project, so we went out to eat a late dinner at a local restaurant. We shared the restaurant with only one other group. A few tables away was a man and two women, and I could tell from the moment we sat down that we perhaps should have chosen a different location further away.

The reason I say that is that the people were drinking quite heavily and speaking so vulgarly that it was hard to even enjoy our meal. The words out of their mouths were disgusting. The “F” word was used in every sentence and for every possible meaning. It wasn’t just the cursing but the topics of their discussions that were offensive. I wouldn’t even want to repeat what they talked about but I will say the majority was them making sexual plans as a group and so forth. They were loud about all of it, even knowing that my four year-old daughter was sitting there with us.

I tried to distract my daughter and we focused on speaking about the Lord, praying and enjoying each other. I tried not to look at their table, not wanting to catch their eye. I just prayed they would leave, and I admit that my heart was filled with judgment and disgust. I had not one ounce of compassion or grace for these people who were polluting our meal with filth. I didn’t see them as anything but a nuisance and a problem. I say this with shame and regret.

About ten minutes before we were done, they got up and left. Before leaving the man stopped and smiled at us and gave Tabitha a friendly smile. We smiled back but gave him little attention. He and his group then left and there was finally peace. We finished up and I went up to the register to ask for the check and pay. The waitress apologized for the way the people had behaved and spoken in front of our daughter. She then told me that our dinner was covered and already paid.

I was surprised. Assuming the restaurant owner had decided to bless us with a free meal because of the disturbing circumstances, I assured her that it was fine and that I was perfectly happy paying. That’s when she stopped me and told me what happened. I couldn’t believe my ears.

The man, whom I had been hating in my heart, had paid our bill and the woman with him covered the tip. I was in shock! How could this be? Why would he do that? I wasn’t kind to them or even friendly. I’m sure that the expression on my face showed clearly my feelings about their behavior and language. Why would this man decide to bless us this way?

I was moved to tears. I couldn’t even speak. My emotions were so mixed but the predominant feeling was one of conviction. I realized without a doubt that the Lord had used this man and his party, even in their sin, to convict me of my own. I felt instantly blessed and convicted all at the same time. God had spoken to me clearly and visibly because He knew my heart and loves me. My Father had corrected me with an act of kindness.

As I reflected on what had happened, I saw myself in retrospect and how cold my heart was towards these people. I looked down on them with disgust. I didn’t see them for who they really were…lost people who desperately need Jesus. They need Jesus! They are dead inside without Him! What do we expect from the world? They live their lives this way because they are empty inside and need Jesus, and I have Jesus. I have what they need, but instead of being kind, merciful, graceful and lovingly showing them Jesus, I hardened my heart. That’s why God had to break it, and He did. Tonight He broke my heart.

Being broken can hurt, but it can also be incredibly uplifting. As I sit here, still in tears over the events of this evening, I thank God that He loves me enough to have reached out to me tonight. He reminded me of who I am in Him, how He wants me to see the lost and that I never want to pass up an opportunity to shine the light and love of the Savior into the lives of hurting people who need Him. I’m so grateful and so blessed.

I don’t mind confessing these shortcomings because I know fine well that God is not finished with me yet. I am a sinner and I need Jesus every hour of every day to walk according to His ways. I know that these corrections make us stronger in the Lord and I am so very encouraged that God would bless me and my family in the very unexpected way He did tonight. Thank You Jesus and I pray now for the salvation of the man and women we encountered tonight. I pray that they will come to know you, repent and be transformed by the washing away of their sins and their new life in You. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

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