Sunday, December 23, 2012

Fightings within

There's things that concern me and there's things that concern me...know what I mean? One of the things I think constantly about are the fightings with the church. No, I don't mean the local church I'm a part of, nor do I mean to say we are above it or have no experience with it; I mean to say I think about the church universal. And, no, I don't mean fightings among the church and cults and pseudo-Christian movements; nor do I mean the fightings between the church and false religions. All of that is a whole other conversation.

Today's Peanuts Sunday strip was not addressing fightings within the church, but it surely made me think of it! We find Linus enjoying his snow fortress, and proclaiming said fortresses' impregnable qualities. We find him facing an unseen foe and fearlessly extolling the virtues of his encampment.



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That Lucy. She bops old Linus upside the head -- as our venacular beautifully says -- AND she did it from behind!

Doesn't that seem to be the way of things in the church? We have an impregnable fortress in Christ, and we can operate from it and be defended in it, but we often find our attention must be given to fightings within. Linus' line is classic, and could well be said to our adversary, Satan: "You'll notice that you had to use strategy though, didn't you?"

Well, beloved, that's Satan's thing! He is wily, subtle, treacherously full of lies and has the heart and mind of a thief.

Here is another drawing I've kept for a long time. I've had it so long, in fact, that I do not remember who to credit it to. This cartoon has appeared in this blog before, and will appear again, I'm sure.

However, there's one part I want to focus on today; namely, the middle guy on the creation (right) side of the drawing. Look at that guy. What a shame. He's firing at the church! And, he's mad. The one guy firing at the issues is happy. The one guy firing at nothing is happy. The guy firing at the church...well, he's clearly upset.

He ought to be upset, but mostly with himself. Poor, deluded guy.

The words of Jesus are enough here: "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:34-35 ESV)

C'mon, now...that's clear, right?

When I am not loving someone, I don't assume the fault is theirs, nor their burden to bear. I assume the fault is mine. I assume I need to grow. I assume I need to surrender. I assume the Spirit needs to have His way in me. I assume my flesh is quenching His good work.

After all, if the emulation and likeness of Christ is God's goal for me, then I'm to love even the most unlovable. Why, then, do we seem always to insist that someone else must "straighten out" or "get themselves right"? It's our desires warring within us, or at least that's one contention Bro. James tells us about (ref. James 4:1-12).

Jesus seemed pretty clear about reconciliation, too. He said whether we are offensive or offended, we are to go to the offending or offended party and seek reconciliation (ref. Matthew 5:23 and Matthew 18:15).

Oh, pshaw! I could go on forever. Let me say this; I'm grieved and peeved. But, here's my first resolution: Lord, let me be the last to offend and the first the reconcile. And, my second is like unto it: Lord let me be the quickest to love and the slowest to hate.

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