We are so proficient at creating idols! We readily become enamored of someone or something until we are not aware that we have put it ahead of God. How dangerous and destructive when that idol becomes a rallying point around which a faction is built. And ultimately, within a church family, how heartbreaking it is when our triune God is not the focus, the idol, around which we rally. The consequences can last for decades effecting precious lives in a manner that we may never begin to fathom.
Case in point; good Christians, people that I love, behaved in a fashion that I could or would never have believed possible of them. The disrespect shown to their pastor and the lack of thoughtfulness for children and less mature Christians from wiser, more mature Christians, was unsettling. To witness such incredible behavior in God’s house following a worship service where we had been exalting our Savior who forgave, redeemed and restored us left me stunned and grieved in my spirit. Unfortunately having witnessed such behavior, I was reminded of a poignant truth: there but for the grace of God go I.
As I examine my own heart, I recognize that I have created my own idols in my past and behaved similarly. I am still learning that unless I am pursuing only Jesus, always Jesus, I will fall into the sin of idolatry! Psalm 106:36 spells it out for us: “They worshiped their idols, which became a snare to them.” For whatever comes before Jesus will be a snare, defined as: “a device, often consisting of a noose, for capturing small game; anything serving to entrap or entangle unawares”. I am not immune to the brokenness within me that allows me to idolize my own ideas of right or wrong or my perceptions of truth or falsehood. Consequently, nothing can come before Jesus Christ: my church, my pastor, my friends, my spouse, nothing! Without the example of Jesus before me daily, I will become ensnared in my truth, turn from His truth, and travel down a road of destruction.
As a member of Christ’s body, I have an obligation to constantly examine my own heart and allow others who are objective to lovingly examine my heart because I can be blind to my sin. I must scrutinize: am I considering others better than myself (Phil. 2:3)? Am I striving to preserve a teachable spirit? Am I prepared to admit an offense and seek forgiveness and restoration? Am I actively pursuing my Jesus above all things, above any idea, above any one? With Jesus as my cornerstone, my source of strength, and my anchor, grace, restoration and healing are possible through His indwelling Holy Spirit.
Consider this an antidote for all of us: let us humble ourselves, immerse ourselves in prayer, agree to resolve to our differences wherever possible, and move forward with the ministry to which we have been called. Honest communication and transparent soul searching within the community of our church will be a step. For the benefit of our children, for the building up of our brothers and sisters, let us endeavor to seek Jesus first and foremost! Repentance, forgiveness, and restoration will result in a united body. May God find us faithful to the great Commandment and the great Commission while joyfully serving Him and each other.