So…I wish to make a confession.
I am sure it comes as NO surprise that I, J.L. Wallace, am a sinner….oh yes, don’t look so shocked (or laugh too loud). I am a sinner, and what’s more I KNOW IT.
See, therein lay the entire crux of what I am about to expound. For some, knowing they are a sinner is something they could care two figs about…for others, it is a source of deep abashed feelings or emotions….for ME, however, it is a source of never-ending resolve.
When I became a Cleric, I resolved to notice every day that I fail God in so many ways…BUT…I also resolved to correct those ways every single day. Some days I do not meet my mark, of course, for I suffer from one of the WORST sins in the book…WRATH.
When someone asks me “WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?” and “By whose authority do you do this?” I say “I am the Reverend Friar, Dr. J.L. Wallace, ThD (That is Advanced Degree in Theology in case you did not know)..SERVANT of God..I do what I do by HIS authority, for I need NONE HIGHER”…yeah…I let them get to me almost every time…stupidity does that to a person who suffers from Wrath….but I am working on correcting that. 🙂
Recently I was approached by a real pew-pounding-HEY HALLELUJAH type. You know, one of those who believes they do no wrong, are sinless before God, and want to convert EVERYONE to the way their church thinks because (and I quote) “There is a war for souls…Satan is trying to take over their soul, and the world”….well…DUH! Of course I responded in a typically ME fashion “Satan does not concern me”. It’s true! What some fallen angel tries to do with weak minded people who make weak minded choices is really NONE of my concern.
They seemed put out that I was not “Preaching the sword of truth” and trying to get people afraid…so afraid that they will lose their soul and therefore not be redeemed.
Let me fill you all in on something: God gave man free will..the ability to choose who they worship, who they follow, and what they want to do with THEIR SOUL. Their soul is not in my keeping, for I am only here to serve them FOR GOD and to help them find their way back to their faith (WHATEVER THEIR FAITH MAY BE), nor is it my duty to scare them into running to a church. There are PLENTY of churches out there doing just that right now…see how well it is working for them? (that was sarcasm, by the way)
You cannot convert someone by poking them in the heart with a sharp pointy stick and say “convert or die”. It just does not work. Oh sure, they may go to the church and do their pater and ave like a good Christian…but when they leave the church they seem to leave something behind…GOD. They go home, and sink right back into their sins because they believe they are “saved” simply because they attend a building service once a week. I, on the other hand, remind them DAILY to keep up the good work and keep striving to better themselves in His Graces.
Their faith is limited to the building they attend…when they leave it, they leave Him there among the pews.
Me, I go a different path. I use the “Feather Hammer” approach.
I gently remind them of God, His mercy, love, forgiveness, and willingness to accept their flawed and imperfect selves back into His graces if only they remember who they are, who made them, and WHY they need to change. I do not scare them into loving God…for if you make people afraid, then the change is not real.
The change has to occur INSIDE of them.
THEY have to realize what they did wrong, and ask for His forgiveness…not have it handed to them on a public forum and have them shouting “I AM A SINNER!” before a crowd.
People are touchy creatures, and it only takes a nudge instead of a shove, to get them to do the right thing..lest they become outraged,or embarrassed, and slink away back into the life they had before their ‘conversion’.
Take my Parish, for example.
MANY of the people who are in my online Parish are those the CHURCHES ‘threw away’…why? Because they did not follow THE CHURCH’S LAWS.
Now, I don’t know about you but I was under the impression we were supposed to be following GOD’S laws. ..I will come back to that point in a second, but first let me say this: I love how in this day and age we have public education, and all the modern miracles and tools of learning at our fingertips.
We learn to read, comprehend, and put into practice the language we are taught to speak and write….it is truly a marvel that less than 100 years ago only a handful out of a thousand COULD read or write. Now we have computers, and media technology that makes the entire WORLD at our fingertips…sigh…truly a marvel.
So..with that said…I return to the subject…is there ANY SINGLE PERSON on the face of this planet that has NOT heard of God? Heard of Jesus? …Are there people that have been living in a cave for hundreds of years who have NOT read about things like The Resurrection, Heaven, Hell, Adam and Eve, sin, redemption, salvation, and repentance…?
I know many CLAIM to have ‘read the Bible’…but have they READ the Bible???
If they had they seemed to have missed something…which I will cheerfully point out now….
YOU CANNOT PICK AND CHOOSE WHAT GOD SAYS. If God has chosen someone to spread His word, and commands it to be as it is written, then who do YOU think you are to try and change that?
Do YOU know the mind and will of God?
Are you THAT arrogant that you believe that only YOUR church is right?
I have heard EVERY church claim that title…hence why I am not IN a church. How can EVERY church claim to be the ‘one true faith’?
Will it not cause confusion and drive away the very people you are trying to save?
Will it not make them say “If they are ALL the ‘right way’ and yet fight among themselves, and their people judge others outside of their belief system, then how can I choose which one to follow if they are not ACTING LIKE CHRISTIANS SHOULD?”…???
What God dictated to mankind in The Bible is FLAT FACT…PERIOD….it is not open for discussion, nor is it open for interpretation. You cannot pull ONE scripture out, found a belief structure upon it, herd people into the church with sharp pointy sticks, and MAKE them believe.
Jesus Himself never emotionally, or mentally, battered people into believing in Him. He simply stated His mission, told them the laws, and expected them to make a choice…believe in Him, or not. For in the end it is on THEM and THEIR SOUL should they choose otherwise.
He spoke of His Father’s love, mercy, forgiveness, and willingness to give EVERYTHING people asked for, all they had to do was believe in Him, and simply to ask.
He also spoke of “I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.” (John 10:16)…so if you speak the TRUTH, UNALTERED AND UNDILUTED BY DOGMA AND RHETORIC then people WILL flock into the church…but sadly, I have seen little of that lately.
There is a reason people are not going to church now…there is a reason people’s faith is slipping…they do not like being judged by MAN. They do not like having someone point out their flaws and yet not correct THEIR OWN.
Now, I know that churches have their rhetoric, dogma, rules…but tell me, how can these rules apply to everyone EXCEPT the people ‘preaching’…? I have NEVER thought myself above everyone else…never looked down on a ‘sinner’..never said “They do not believe as I do…so I cannot associate with them or talk to them”.
I am like everyone else…I am a sinner, and I fail God. The only difference is that I KNOW these things, and am willing to put my all into helping OTHER people to realize that God loves them no matter HOW flawed they are, and that if they just simply trust in Him, BELIEVE in Him, then they have a better shot at getting into His Kingdom.
The point I am trying to make is NOT with a stick, it is with a LOVING HAND that I reach out an grasp the hand of another…
As my Master said “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” (Luke 5:31)…and I have never met a doctor who yelled at his patient saying “YOU SILLY,SILLY SICK PERSON…GET INSIDE AND BE HEALED!”. I HAVE, however, heard my Master (the GREAT Physician) say “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? “If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?” ( Matthew 5:47)…hence why HE HIMSELF sat with tax collectors, soldiers, prostitutes, and every kind of ‘scum’ know to man back then. It was because of this He also said “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13:34)
Point of fact: He ALSO said “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:30-31)…and… ““Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Matthew 7:1-2) …so…explain to me how you can call someone a sinner, yet do not realize that YOU YOURSELF are a sinner as well?
““Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?
How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?
You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” – Matthew 7:3-5
I tell ya…sometimes it gets my blood boiling so hot when I see other people condemning what I do, yet they themselves are not willing to take up the yoke and help other people. What I do, I do out of LOVE….Love for God…love for MANKIND. I do not do it for numbers, or fame, or money, or simply to say “I converted so many people”…I do it because yes I realize “The End is near”…I even say to people “repent, for the kingdom of Heaven draws near”. (Matthew 4:17)….but I ALSO know this…that if you speak TRUTH…if you speak PEACE, then people WILL understand and change their ways…as they did with my Master…”THE PEOPLE WHO WERE SITTING IN DARKNESS SAW A GREAT LIGHT, AND THOSE WHO WERE SITTING IN THE LAND AND SHADOW OF DEATH, UPON THEM A LIGHT DAWNED.” (Matthew 4:16)
People are not idiots…well…not MANY at any rate… 😀 But they DO understand that God is watching, I know because I remind them..they DO know God is judging ONLY THEM, not en-mass…but as INDIVIDUALS…again, I know because I remind them…but I remind them GENTLY…for is it not written “Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.” (Galatians 6:1)…and so…in helping others realize their problems and help them through them, I in turn help MYSELF so that I too may not fall into the same trap.
You cannot yell at someone, scare the bejeepers out of them with talk of sin, hellfire, damnation, and then expect them to want to come join in your prayers!
You have to make them understand that GOD IS LOVE but by doing it GENTLY..USING HIS WORDS….”No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.” (1 John 4:12)
I am reminded of when my Master said “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.” (Matthew 23:15)…I myself realize my faults, my sins, and my errors…but ONE error I refuse to admit to is that I am “teaching false doctrine”.
I give The Word as it is written…no interpretation…no dogma…no rhetoric, for it itself NEEDS NONE FOR IT STAND ALONE AS THE WORD OF GOD. It is written in plain black and white, and since people CAN read, they too know it’s interpretation. So, if I simply give it as it is written, and without interpretation, and I do not spout church laws or doctrine, therefore (LOGICALLY) I cannot be preaching ‘false doctrine’.
Some people, however, no matter HOW hard you try will not accept the facts…they will splutter, and fuss, and use words pounded into them from a pulpit, and be as blind as a bat in daytime to anything anyone says differently.
“Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into a pit?” – Luke 6:39
In conclusion I will say this…I cannot be converted, for my faith is solid…for it comes from CHRIST HIMSELF. It was HE who sought me out…HE who commanded me to serve…and until HE says otherwise, I will continue to serve as He has shown me to…for I took MY schooling from HIM. If you read the Bible, then you know how He instructed His disciples, how He appointed them and said “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15)…sorry, but you cannot do that only on Sunday…behind the walls of a building….without actually DOING something about it..
You cannot scream at them how much of a sinner they are, order them to redeem themselves, and not do something to help them out of the hole they fell in because they were not as strong in faith as you are.
Again I quote: “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?
Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food.
If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?
In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.
You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless ?
Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?
You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.
And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend.
You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.
In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction?
As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” – James 2:14-26
That is the difference between those like ME, and those like THEM. I dared to give it all up, and reach into the darkness to help pull them into the light with a LOVING hand, not a mailed fist.
So…PUT DOWN THE POINTY STICK, TAKE UP THE BIBLE, READ IT, THEN FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS!