One of the most uplifting songs that has ever been written to worship God is “Amazing grace” (the video linked makes me cry, how awesome would it be to have that sung as you hold your newborn child?!)
Written in 1779, by John Newton, a formerly foul-mouthed man who had no respect for authority, yet God did not let go of him, God had a plan for him. When Newton was in a terrible storm very close to being sunk, he said to his captain “if we cannot empty the water out, let the lord have mercy on us!” The crew survived, starved yet no doubt glad to be alive! John Newton amongst them considered his comment and wondered if God could have mercy on him, a disobedient, foul-mouthed and dirty-minded poet, who walked away from God and even ridiculed his shipmates who claimed to have faith! As soon as Newton was unable to sail anymore due to health reasons, he got involved in his church and dedicated himself to learning Latin, Greek and theology!
There are a fair few “christian celebrities” who people have held in high regard, yet they have since walked away from God or fallen into false doctrines. Does that mean all that they have ever produced is heretical? Tainted by the evil one? I don’t believe so, as I have said in my blog posts, I often wonder what other people struggle with and occasionally I have found out. No one is perfect, but God’s love, grace and mercy is poured out every morning!
I have to ask myself, do we show that grace and love to others? I challenged someone last week, thinking I was doing it in a loving manner, respectful, not attacking them in any way (well was trying my best anyway!) The response I got was “we need to talk in person ” and when we briefly met they said “that’s not quite right, you didn’t see what I did!” I felt sorry that I may have made an error, but then the other aspect of my challenge seemed to have been met with a steadfast “your comments have changed nothing!”
I sat in church, battling with whether I should feel guilty or angry, so much so that I wasn’t even sure I should be taking communion. Before I took communion, I “examined my heart”, prayed for forgiveness and for the lord to change my heart if I was wrong in my thinking. In being so self-contemplative, I failed to show love to my wife who was sitting in the creche room, waiting to see if i would bring her the wine and bread to share in the communion!
The sermon was on Stephen, the first christian martyr, it hit me that regardless whether I was right or not, was I being gracious in my approach? in 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 it says
1 I may be able to speak the languages of human beings and even of angels, but if I have no love, my speech is no more than a noisy gong or a clanging bell. 2 I may have the gift of inspired preaching; I may have all knowledge and understand all secrets; I may have all the faith needed to move mountains—but if I have no love, I am nothing. 3 I may give away everything I have, and even give up my body to be burned[a]—but if I have no love, this does me no good.
I heard this sunday night and realised that I may have been a “clanging cymbal”, quite often I can find myself making a noise, but like my drumming was in the past, it is barely noticeable and only causes a disturbance at the wrong moment! I try to engage with my acquaintances on social media, asking challenging questions and rarely get any response, yet when I say something which has an unloving tone (despite my good intentions) all hell almost breaks loose!
I often feel at times that I am not allowed an opinion, so this blog is here for me to unload the thoughts that run through my head. I was about to post a blog on saturday, naming all those in the “christian world” that are actually false prophets, teachers and lyricists, but then I realised that it would be wrong of me to do that and would benefit no one!
I hate being wrong, being a middle child of four siblings (I know that means there were two middle children!), dinner times were noisy and my point-of-view was rarely heard or supported, In school there were instances where my comments were shot down by teachers or fellow pupils, so my reaction to all of this is to have spent a lot of time enquiring and finding out the details so that I can be confident in my point, obviously being a male and married, I am rarely right even now but I can be at times!
I hate having to talk things through in person, i don’t think quickly enough to reply the right answer! This recent encounter, I felt may have been a waste of my time as I doubt anything will change, but it is up to me to see if I can show love and grace or even “letting it go”. This desire to be right has robbed me of my “joy in the Lord”, so I am determined to spend more time in prayer, reading God’s word and less time worrying about what others are doing!