Day 12 Stuff I Wish You’d Stop Saying: He was Such a Good Christian
Our two and four-year-old sons, the vandals, are a mischievous duo. But the younger of the two… heaven and earth. From toilets full of Captain Crunch and marshmallows to flooded laundry rooms, the boy is his own kind of trouble. If the four-year-old says, “Charwglie is beening bad!” We grab a fire extinguisher, a rosary, and a plunger – cause it has officially hit the fan, and probably not metaphorically.
Yet, we adore him. Our adoration for the tow-headed wonder isn’t affected by malice. Nor is it increased by his good deeds. We just love him.
He has faith in this love. And he believes we will love him… regardless.
He is right.
Some friends of ours from the North West recently told us that their church was splitting. Half of the church was leaving to go to a sister church on the other side of town, while the remaining congregants were staying, interviewing new pastors.
Their current pastor had stepped down. He had a gambling problem and had been using church funds to bet in online horse racing sites. His family is in shambles. The church pressed charges. He is facing serious jail time.
Such a shame.
Such a good Christian.
My question? What in glory’s chaos does “good Christian” mean?
What he followed the Ten Commandments? Well, NINE, they met on Sundays not Saturdays. He gave to the poor? Never chewed gum in church? Drank beer? Hung out with loose women?
Tsk, tsk, tsk… another good Christian gone bad.
By definition, Christians are those who believe that Jesus died so that they might live and are made righteous by the blood of Christ. No sin, no condemnation. Good in the eyes of the Almighty. And the best news? It is not about you. And it is not about your wayward pastor.
A complete and utter disaster by the world’s standards.
We put all our eggs in that pastor’s basket. A man steeped in the Word, but a man just the same. We dressed up in our Sunday best, (man’s law.) We didn’t cuss, spit, or swear, (man’s law.) And we followed all the rules we could possibly think of to stay pure and work our way closer to God. If this wayward gambling pastor was such a good Christian and stole from the church to bet on the ponies, what is to become of us?
We’ve been let down.
We’ve been lied to… maybe we won’t ever go back to church.
Oh brother! And sister! That lie separates us from the full Gospel.
[Tweet “Oh brother! And sister! That lie separates us from the full Gospel.”]
You can go and find all the rules and regulations thereby dividing the body of Christ into governing categories, but man will still be man! Jesus never changes. He isn’t in a swivel chair going back and forth between your good and bad deeds! Apart from HIM we are nothing! If our whole hearts are devoutly worshipping naturally, by no means are we to stay steeped in our old ways HOWEVER unless we truly believe and take on the new spirit of Jesus, we are neglecting our inheritance of BORN AGAIN!
Apart from HIM we are nothing.
Born again faith of a child or religiosity contingent on the behavior of the pulpit?
Born new, clean, and then we sin again… and we are desperate to find a methodology to stop the madness. We cover it up, steal to obstruct, and bet on one more race in hopes of undoing the wrong, making it right, never to do it again… finally free.
The worst part of the good Christian? The belief we clung to – that we weren’t already redeemed. To walk in freedom is to believe, you aren’t a thief and gambler.
[Tweet “To walk in freedom is to believe, you aren’t a thief and gambler.”]
Dearest Pastor, you are the upright and just. The first of the last, the new creation in Jesus… with a gambling problem. When we focus on HIS performance instead of OUR improvement or shortcomings, we aren’t focusing on that which He already died for!
When I stopped believing I had to fix that which was ALREADY dealt with on the Cross, when I said, “Yes!” to the inheritance, I changed from a good Christian to a good work redeemed in the Blood of Jesus. I started believing in who I was because of who He was… and I want what He wants.
He prompted me to text someone the other day.
I told Him No.
He wouldn’t let it go.
Finally, I succumbed, not because of who I am but because of He who dwells in me.
I want what He wants. And He wants to bless. He isn’t mad. He Isn’t turning His back on me when I say no to a foster placement or yell at one of the kids. He did the work that perfected me. Why would I boast of that? No, I only boast that I am weak but He is strong. The change comes when we as “good” Christians embrace this truth and then are changed because we want what He wants.
[Tweet “Good Christians are not made, good Christians were bought and paid for on Calvary.”]
The Blood worked.
Change your funeral clothes, come sit at the banquet. You are good in His eyes. You are whole and perfected. People will want their money back, don’t put marshmallows in the potty, and lay off the ponies friend… but do not believe the lie that you are any better or worse than the creation perfected on the Cross. Or that your wayward “good” works stumbled the work of the Cross.
Our minds will be changed and our congregations restored when we finally believe – it is done.
May your floors be sticky and your calling ordained. Love, Jami
Romans 5:3-5 (NLT) “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.”
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