There are many out there who would like to be the one with the gavel. It would be nice to hold that kind of power…releasing some and condemning others. You could keep a record or wrongs against people, tally up the score every now and then and keep it secret until the time comes when they are caught in something and then throw your book at them and slam your gavel in judgment. BAM!…out of the camp!…next?
I saw a post yesterday condemning a prominent preacher so I clicked on it out of curiosity and what I saw amazed me. It linked to a YouTube video that someone had produced about him and his stand on a number of social issues and his faith. It was heavily edited giving the viewer bits and pieces of information with no context whatsoever. In many of the clips the interviewer would not let him finish is statement and intentionally try to put him in a corner rather than let his full and honest answer be heard. I searched a bit more on YouTube. Just about every popular preacher out there had one video or another tearing apart their words and their faith with little or no context. From Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer, to Benny Hinn and Jentzen Franklin – and any in between that you’re familiar with. They all had their haters. These videos were not just presenting a different viewpoint but spitting out names like, “spawn of the devil” and “illuminati” and claiming that these people are actually willingly working for Satan toward his goal of a one world religion and domination. Their solution to the problem was to cast them out and warn people not to listen to them lest they become pawns in the devil’s plan as well. BAM! goes the gavel. I’ve been the scapegoat sent away from the flock with a load of burdens I was never meant to carry. The experience has left me a constant skeptic and often critic of the herd that follows blindly. I have not gone back…who would?
Now, I’m not a supporter of these mega preachers necessarily. I have listened to them from time to time and some of them are pretty good and some I do question a bit. But if I’m really thinking and acting like Christ, and I see a problem or hear a doctrine that is not Biblical, should not my reaction be to pray for them? I mean, if they are going astray do they not still have the opportunity for repentance, just as you and I, and a full and complete restoration to the Lord Jesus Christ? Is the offer of grace and mercy not also extended to them as it is to us? Are there really no chinks in their armor? No scars that they bear?
If I spend my time doing all I can to tear a person down, am I not holding a gavel and pronouncing judgment rather than reaching out in love with an opportunity for repentance? I don’t know why this stuck in my craw yesterday, but it did. Probably because it was a friend that forwarded the post and I got into it a bit with them. Also, I’ve been on the receiving end of hatred from those who only had a small glimpse of events and ran with what little they knew. One thing I do know:
Love draws people in…hate pushes people away.
Are we not called to love…even those we disagree with?