Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Thoughts from a Church Kid

The church I grew up in was a beautiful group of people. They raised me. They loved me and taught me and watched me grow. Besides the wonderful memories of the people there, that church building felt like a 2nd home. 

My mom was the secretary and my dad was the "youth director." We were very "involved" as some would say. We were at the building when the doors were open, and we were at the building when the doors were closed(my parents would be up there working on something, filling communion trays, making copies for classes or other random "church duties). So we kids would sneak to the auditorium for a game of hide & seek. Or we'd sneak into the kitchen and eat the communion crackers & drink the grape juice. I think we really thought we owned the place.

While there are good memories from there, there are some negative as well. Being a family that was so involved, people came to my parents a lot to complain about things. Of course, they, thinking kids aren't paying attention, would start ranting and I would overhear.  Songs are too fast. Songs are too slow. Preaching is boring. Preaching is too charismatic.  Someone said one wrong word. 

I heard gossiping. I heard people that I looked up to talking badly about CHURCH LEADERS. Gossip!! And it was about ministers and elders. Those who have been CALLED by Christ to serve were being talked badly about. Don't get me wrong...I dearly LOVE the church family that raised me. But they were imperfect people, as we all are. I often wondered, if all they do is complain about our church, why are they here? 

James 1:26: Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.

I think too often we "rate" scripture just as we do sins. The scripture in James says their religion is WORTHLESS because they can't keep a rein on their tongues. "But I don't steal...but I don't lie...but I don't murder..." But even still...not controlling our tongues makes our religion worthless. Do we really think so?

Maybe it is time we really put some value on that verse. And we really think about the importance and impact our words have. Are you complaining? Do people know you as someone who just sits around and complains?  Do they know you as someone who belittles the people who pour themselves into the lives of others so they will come to know Jesus or know Him better? Do you pick apart every detail of what happens within the 4 walls of your church building? Do you constantly criticize the way things go or don't go? 
Proverbs 16:28
A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends.
Proverbs 26:20
Without wood a fire goes out; without a gossip a quarrel dies down.
2 Corinthians 12:20
For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder. 

Or do you encourage those around you? Do you try to build others up and love those who need it? Are you SO busy with spreading Jesus' love to your brothers and sisters as well as your community that you don't even have TIME to pay attention to what others are doing, much less spread gossip about them? I know many will say we need to rebuke our brother when they are sinning. But that is not what I am talking about. I am talking about complaining about things that are not even IN scripture. Instead, read these:
    Ephesians 4:29
    Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 

    1 Thessalonians 5:10-11

    10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.                                                      

In 2 Corinthians, gossip is on the same list as many traits that we would be embarrassed to be labeled with. But why do we feel that gossip is just not as bad?

We can't keep rating sin. We can't keep kidding ourselves to think that gossip is not bad for us, for those who hear it, or the church. Maybe it is time we take a long hard look in the mirror and decide to change today? In the wise words of Ice Cube...maybe it's time to "Check yo'self before you wreck yo'self."