What do you call a bunch of rag tag misfits who don’t really fit into the churchian world?
I love that joke. What a bunch of rag tag misfits and yet those are the very people Jesus Christ selected as His followers, His disciples, and later His apostles. The word apostle is very interesting, it is a translation of a couple words but basically means, one sent out from the root.
I believe the local church is a good thing, it can become the heart and soul of a community and we are called to gather together. So I am not knocking the local church, it is just that there is this cultural thing called churchianity, the churchian world, and what sometimes gets lost is the idea that we are actually the Body of Christ, it is the people who are the church. Christ is the head of that body, not churchianity.
In youth group they’ve been studying Romans 8:1, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” one of my favorite subjects. The people world can be full of condemnation, bullying, abuse, hierarchies, power plays. The enemy Himself is called the Accuser. It can be challenging explaining to young people what big words really mean, so condemnation is kind of like the Red Queen in Alice and Wonderland declaring “off with your head.” There is no mercy there, no chance to launch a courtly defense, you are just condemned and doomed.
Condemnation however is really, “the expression of very strong disapproval; censure.” Vilification, denunciation, disapproval, castigation, damnation, reproach, blame, accusation, sentencing, and censure. You don’t have to run around like the Red Queen announcing “off with their heads,” to hold people in condemnation. I sometimes speak of soul murder where we desire someone’s complete annihilation. I may be saved, but cut me off in traffic or fly out in front of me, and the Red Queen will pop right up.
What makes condemnation different from common sense and good judgement or the ability to discern right from wrong, is the absence of potential grace and reconciliation. We have no grace within ourselves to extend to others, no willingness to allow for potential redemption.
In the world we live in today, people can become confused about the difference between discipline and abuse. Abuse is condemnation, the heaping of misery upon someone’s head, contempt, revenge, hatred. Discipline is actually loving, it is designed to create reconciliation, it always looks at someone with the intent and desire to protect and preserve relationship. Christ’s followers were called disciples, the same root word and it means to teach.
Discipline is actually loving, as in you need some attention and love, and done properly people will feel the safety, the protection, the concern for their well being. Done wrong it can lead to a lifetime of confusion.
I’m laughing here, but 0lder people often need some discipline too, as in “I need you to set down that Reeses peanut butter cup because that diet pepsi you’re drinking does not wash away the sugar, my little diabetic friend.”
To be teachable simply means to be willing to receive the love you are shown by others and sometimes we balk, sometimes we resist, but that’s okay because if it’s loving it will take root anyway. And if it isn’t, allow Christ to blow the shallow hull of those dead seeds away…