Two young ministerial interns, Russ and Toby, came to live with the John and Karen Wright family. Karen counted it a privilege to have them share her home. She had high expectations of their mission to learn and serve the congregation and was proud that she would be a good example for them.
The young men had two very different personalities. Russ rode a motorcycle and looked a bit like a rock star. He was zealous for the things of God and diligent in his responsibilities. Toby, on the other hand, seemed shallow in his relationship with the Lord and more interested in the baseball box scores than doing ministry.
John and Karen took off a weekend to visit a nearby city and left the young men on their own. When they came home, Russ was at church and Toby was sitting in the midst of the living room watching television and working the box scores. The fact that he hadn’t bathed was obvious. The house was a mess.
“Why aren’t you at church?’ Karen inquired barely concealing that she was seething with anger. This was not what she had signed up for. She was not interested in housing a slothful young man who was shirking his responsibilities. ‘I couldn’t get a ride,” he responded. “Well, you have one now. Get cleaned up, and I will take you to church.”
The air was tense in the car as they sped over the road the seven miles to the church campus. When they got there, she dropped Toby off at the door and went looking for the Pastor. When she found him, he was teaching a class. She walked to the door and when he looked her way, she beckoned him to come out of class. “Pastor, Toby is not what I thought I would get when I agreed to take in these interns. He was at home in a horrible mess when we came back from our weekend. He is here at the church now. I want him out of my home and I want him out now!” she said with emphasis. “Would tomorrow be soon enough?” Pastor sighed. Toby moved out the next day and she made excuses to Russ as to why he was gone.
Pastor called her and John in to confront Toby in his office. It was less than satisfying to all the concerned parties. After Toby left, Pastor looked at Karen and said, “You are an opinionated woman!” Karen felt justified as she thought her opinions were right!
Karen had an opportunity to cover Toby and be redemptive in his life but instead she rejected him. She justified herself and her opinions. The Bible teaches us that love covers a multitude of sin and also, that we will know Christians by their love. Where was the love in Karen? She was judge, jury and executioner.
Toby finished his internship but his experience wasn’t good. He returned to Bible College and thought that all Christians were like Karen. The story leaves us wondering if he ever found the true love of God in others.
Since that time, Karen has learned a great deal and had an encounter with the Most High God. He dealt with her and gently helped her see that her opinions were not His. He helped her to reject her own opinions. Father God showed her that passion is a good thing if it lines up with His will for us, but when it is based on our opinions, it is dangerous and destructive. God healed her heart and she forgave Toby through the Holy Spirit who lives in her.
As Christians, we are passionate about many things. We are opinionated about the political process. We have ideas about how the church should be managed and what the color the carpet in the sanctuary should be. We have ideas about what the right doctrine is and end up dividing from friends and congregations over basic issues like baptisms and tongues.
The point of today’s lesson is that we need to reject our own opinions and find out what God wants in each situation. When we speak what we consider to be the truth based on opinion, we abuse the young believer and actually hinder his relationship with the Lord. The Bible says that it is better to have a millstone (a huge rock) hung around your neck and be tossed into the sea that to hurt one of His little ones.
The next time you find yourself in an impassioned conversation filled with judgment, condemnation and opinion, stop, quiet yourself, and invite the Lord to cleanse and purify your opinion so that it lines up with His. It may be necessary to excuse yourself and get alone with the Lord.
We see in Scripture that we can speak like the very angels of heaven but without love, we are profited nothing. The next time you see another who is walking in error and you want to rush in and deal with it, remember to reject your opinion and choose love over condemnation. The amazing thing will be that your heart will change and the wonderful peace of God will reign in the place of opinion.
- Christian Vs Church Folks (footsoldiers4christ.wordpress.com)