Healing Power

Running commentary on how Jesus' Healing Power is affecting my life - and helping me to help others.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

A Victim of "High-Risk" Evangelism

When I was 19, my best friend and I discovered beer. And, being 19, we didn't discover it for its taste. No-sirree, Bob! We discovered it for its propensity to remove us from reality. Since my high-school sweetheart was a bible-thumping "high-risk" evangelist, I knew the arguments against getting drunk. I also had a good comeback that worked against her. "It's not getting drunk that's sinful, it's what you do when you're drunk that's a sin." It worked for a while, until she got tired of playing second-fiddle to my drinking.

But that's another story for another day. The real story here is what happened when we got to my best friend's house after a hard night of drinking. His mother would be waiting up for us - even at 3am - with a bible in her hands. She raised the bible over her head and told us, "You boys are going to HELLLLLLLLLLLL for the way you're behaving!"

Of course, I was quite a smart-aleck, and I responded with something like, "Wo. That's heavy. Gimme a beer," at which point my friend would fall down laughing. He was good at that. I remember one night at Pizza Hut after we consumed several pitchers of whatever was on tap, that he commented about the thick fog outside. We were huge fans of the movie Airplane, so I grabbed his belly and said, "And Leon's getting larger!" He fell down laughing.

'Course, he's also the one that babysat me on so many hangovers. He'd hold my head up so it wouldn't fall in the toilet. He'd carry me into my house when I was passed out and let my folks know I was OK. He always looked out for me, 'cuz I was a bigger drunk than he ever was. But those days ended when I joined the Navy and he stayed in school. We kinda drifted apart. Yeah, we're still in touch, but most of our phone calls end with, "We gotta get together some day!"

I quit getting drunk in 1995. I still enjoy a very rare brew - particularly Young's Oatmeal and Double Chocolate Stouts. But if I sit down intending to get drunk, I can't even get the beer past my nose. The smell is horrible, and the taste is so bad it won't go down. So I don't get drunk.

Anyway, I'm digressing. When I told him I had become a true Christian, he was very disappointed. It was in March of 2002, six months after 9/11. He said he wanted nothing to do with religion, because religion was what caused those whackos to do what they did. Religion was what caused more wars in our history than anything else, and he wants nothing to do with it. He also pointed out how his niece, born to his unwed sister nearly 20 years before, was always beating her bible and telling him how he was going to hell because of his refusal to accept the gospel. She then turned up pregnant at 16. If Christians are such hypocrites, why would he want anything to do with them?

He's got a point. And I've been unable to break through that. All I can do is live the life. He knows that many people consider drinking to be a sin. If I'm not going to be a hypocrite, I need to show that I can practice what I preach. Therefore, I do not drink around him. "Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall." - Romans 14:19-21, NIV

He is a victim of "high-risk" evangelism. He's had so many bibles thumped over his head, he doesn't want anything to do with it. I've seen it happen to so many people that I want to steer clear of this in my own walk. Many bible-thumpers demand a higher level of living than any human being, even the bible-thumper themselves, is capable of living. These hypocrites are exactly to whom Jesus was speaking when He said,
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, NIV

Now, read that closely. Another word for plank is log. This cartoon, from from www.joe-ks.com, is what Jesus was talking about. Think about it. Isn't this a funny idea? I mean, to think that you have a log in your eye, and you are trying to remove a tiny speck from someone else's eye... Yeah, when I think about that I laugh out loud.

But this is exactly what Jesus was talking about. Hypocrites have a bigger problem than the other person, but they are so involved in fixing the other person's life, they can't even see their own problems. Now, I'm not saying all "high-risk" evangelists are hypocrites, but I am saying that some are. And, the funny thing is, Jesus doesn't want us to point out everyone else's shortfallings. He wants us to love each other. He wants us to reach out with open arms, not closed fists. The Bible is to be our instruction book, not our weapon.

3 Comments:

  • At 9:09 AM, Blogger NChitwood said…

    The scripture that you shared with us (about the plank) was the same scripture that was used in chuch yesturday! God must be trying to tell me something. although, i'm so blind from my plank that i'm not getting whatever it is he's trying to tell me!LOL great post. it can be frustrating trying to reach those who want nothing to do with religion. i'm trying to do that with my sister now....not an easy task.

     
  • At 9:00 AM, Blogger Joy in the Journey said…

    Good morning~~
    I would like to respectfully disagree with the sentence, "He has a point."

    No, your friend doesn't have a point. He is diminishing Christ's role and power by looking at Christ's followers.

    I get upset when people call Christians hypocrites--I know I am! Quit stating the obvious! It's akin to calling John Kerry a flip flopper--we know already!

    I can't wait to get to heaven so that I can stay on the light side of things!

    Don't follow me. Follow Christ. I fail. He succeeds. We all screw up, every single day. He is the only one that will NEVER disappoint.

    Love,
    Joy

     
  • At 9:20 AM, Blogger ClayMan said…

    Joy, Thank you for your comment. It's comments like these that make me re-analyze what I've written - keeps me grounded.

    This is where I'm coming from: He has a point when he says he doesn't want anything to do with Christianity because all he's ever known about Christianity comes from the lives of believers. Let's face it. Until we experience Him, we will not know different.

    Unfortunately, I was a part of his experience with Christians. As I've said in previous posts - most notably in my testimony - I was a major hypocrite myself. I sat in beer joints and topless bars, imbibing in all they had to offer, and say I was a Christian. Getting lapdances while under the influence of 12 margaritas, I said I was a Christian.

    So, in addition to the examples listed in this post, I need to show him that I'm a different person. I need to show him how Christ has changed my life. That is the only way to get his attention, I guess. To break through the bitterness he feels toward Christians.

    Again, thank you for the comment. It's making me think!

    Adios,
    Clay

     

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