But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9:13
There’s something on my heart about the church today, friends. It’s been there for quite some time now. I have been praying about it and will continue to do so, for it hurts ~ my heart hurts over this.
I have asked the Lord to reveal to me the things that break His heart. I have asked that He not only reveal them, but take it a step further, and break through my own ice-covered heart and make it more like His.
This is one of those things: The unwillingness of the church to meet others where they are at.
It’s true: It’s a dangerous prayer to ask Jesus to break our hearts for what breaks His.
I know that I know that I know that this is most definitely one of those things: His church; His people; or those who profess to love Him ~ not truly loving others the way that He does. The ever-present Pharisee who asks others to meet them in their perfect and upright state is not indicative of Jesus and what He came for…
It’s not a reflection of Mercy.
Are we so busy making sure that we, as the church, try to “live up” to our calling that we fail to meet people where they are at? I’m talking…..like Jesus does.
Jesus meets people where they are at. They don’t have to get cleaned up first. He gets His hands dirty ~ a lot.
We can’t live up to it anyway, you know. We will never be worthy on our own, and if we don’t remember that first and foremost, we are just as lost as anyone else.
Maybe even more so. 😦
Sometimes, I feel that in the endeavor to be “upstanding Christians” that setting an example becomes our true mission and our true God. It’s a false idol ~ when we try to profess how great our faith is. It’s hurting my heart.
It hurts my heart most especially when we don’t even see that we are doing it. I find it happening to myself and I thank God every single time He points it out to me. (He has to do that a lot)
- Yes. We have a responsibility as Christians to fight against sin.
- Yes. We have a greater calling to live our lives with God first in all that we do.
- But if we fail to meet others where they are at, just as Jesus does, we are not truly committed followers.
If we really follow after Jesus Christ, we will go where He goes. Although we are not to get caught up in sin itself or things that lead others astray, we are still to immerse ourselves in with the people and in the places they are in. We must go where the ugly resides.
It starts right inside of our own hearts anyway. So we should be quite familiar with how it looks.
We are to be salt and light.
So, I have a question for others like myself: How are we to be such salt and light if we protect ourselves and isolate ourselves from the dark places? How can we do this if we expect others to come to us, versus us be willing to really go to them?
Now, I’m going to get very direct here. Remember that this is the admonishment that the Lord has been giving to me, and I am sharing it with others who may find themselves in a similar place.
- Are we asking others to meet US where WE think we are at with Jesus (and in turn, where we think that THEY need to be at), or are we stepping into the mire along with them?
- Are we willing to get our hands dirty and do the hard stuff along with others, or are we just saying we will, and then cutting and running as soon as stuff gets gritty and messy?
- Are we acting like Pharisees?
Friends, I see a theme and way of life emerging in Christian circles that makes me nervous and quite frankly, scares me. That is my only reason for sharing this today ~ I can’t stop thinking about the Pharisees and how Jesus despised what they were doing. I can’t stop wondering ~ are we all becoming a bunch of Pharisees, but we don’t even realize it?
I can’t judge the heart of others or the church as a whole ~ only God can do that. But I can make an opinion or a judgement about the situation and what I see. Why? Because I have been a part of it.
I can and I will and I am.
It comes down to this for me: If our relationship with Christ is truly as it should be, our relationships with others will be a reflection of that. Especially others who aren’t ready for it yet. Especially others who are living in the dark.
If we think we are better than others, it cuts us off from not only them, but from God.
Even if we don’t think that in our hearts, if we display it in any way, we have to make that right.
It is humbling to realize it when we have done this. It is not pleasant to look at the Pharisee inside that has been hiding and trying to come out to play. But God sees it.
God sees the Pharisee inside and He does not like it.
The day that I cease meeting others where they are at ~ the day that I find myself expecting, even slightly, that their circumstance or state or place in life doesn’t meet the mark and is not worthy of my time ~ well, that day is a day for a God-humbling.
There are times when we are called to dust off our feet. But that is not because we determine that others are not worthy, rather, that we are to be about our Father’s business, and if someone is not receptive to it, we are to move on to those who are.
It is not because that “place” they were in is too ugly for us. And it is not because if they become willing at a later date, we aren’t to be there, ready to open our hearts to them once again.
Synonyms for Mercy:
I have fallen so short in meeting others where they are at, friends. I have found myself protecting myself from the mire and the muck at times ~ too many times to count. I suppose it will always be a struggle for this girl. But I realize it, and I am praying fervently for Jesus to continue to break my heart for what breaks His. It hurts. I won’t lie.
Yes. I am making a judgement about our Pharisee-type behavior, as the church who professes to follow Jesus with all that we’ve got. But I can, because I include myself at the top of the list in that judgement and observation.
Only you and God can judge the state of your own heart. I can’t and will not try to do that. But I do love my other brothers and sisters in Christ, and felt God was calling me to share this today.
Because, if you, like me, find yourself even slightly trying at times to get others to meet you where you are at, instead of meeting them with mercy and bringing Jesus to them, simply know that the humbling may not feel very good, but you have plenty of company.
If you, like me, need to slay the Pharisee inside, know that Jesus is ready to help you to do that.
And this ~ our willingness to bring into the open our whole hearts to Jesus ~ this is one sacrifice that He does expect and desire from us.
Death to the Pharisee inside of my heart.
Death to the Pharisee!
My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise. Psalm 51:17