Saturday, May 19, 2012

A Wrong Turn

  We all know someone who has slipped away.  Either through temptation, peer pressure, or as the result of some tragedy that they could not accept in light of what they thought they knew about God.  What are we to do in these situations?  

Matthew 18: 12-14
  "What do you think?  If a man owns a hundred sheep and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go look for the one that wandered off?  And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off.  In the same way your father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost."

  We are all called to love and serve on another, as Christ served those who were with Him.  Sometimes that love took the form of harsh correction.  When one of the twelve did as much as utter words forged in a strayed line of thought, Jesus confronted him with the truth.  The apostles loved Jesus, and wanted to follow His commands.  They made themselves subject to His will, but sometimes they strayed, or came up short.  

 Mark 9: 14-29
  When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them.  As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him.
  "What are you arguing with them about?" he asked.
  A man in the crowd answered, "Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech.  Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground.  He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid.  I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not."
  "O unbelieving generation," Jesus replied, "how long shall I stay with you?  Bring the boy to me."
  So they brought him.  When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion.  He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.
  Jesus asked the boy's father, "How long has he been like this?"
  "From childhood," he answered.  "It has often thrown him into the fire or water to kill him.  But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us."
  "If you can?" said Jesus.  "Everything is possible for him who believes."
  Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!"
  When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the evil spirit.  "You deaf and mute spirit," he said, "I command you, come out of him and never enter him again."
  The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out.  The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, "He's dead.". But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.
  After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, "Why couldn't we drive it out?"
  He replied, "This kind can come out only by prayer."

  We see  that Christ discovers the disciples arguing when there are to be no divisions among us.  Paul makes this clear in 1 Corinthians 1:10.  He then discovered that they are suffering from a crisis of faith due to their failure to drive out this particular evil spirit.  Look at what happens next.

  Jesus rebukes them for their lack of faith.  He then shows them that this spirit, like all things, must submit to His authority.  He shows them that, despite what they have seen, it can be done.  He then instructs them on how to be successful the next time.

  It all sounds simple, a logical approach to correction.  I'm telling you though, that it isnt that easy.  Emotions are going to be involved, and strong ones.  You have to be in the Word.  You need to be able to turn to scripture.  You need to be sure that you are reaching out to correct in love, even if the circumstances require hard words.  Most of all, you need to be covered in prayer.  This is the most powerful tool that we have been given as Christians, and we must use it.  You must pray for that individual, over them if they will let you.  You must pray for wisdom, and the right words to say to that person.  You have to act.

  We, as the church, cannot afford to sit silently and watch those who have been marked as His, slide back into darkness.  We cannot afford to let those who are His, continue to suffer when we have been given the power and authority to make them whole.  We must venture out, now and then, to rescue the one.

  Christ made His heart clear on this matter, and it is Him that we serve.

1 comment:

  1. This is very enlightening. We have to present ourselves as coming from a Christian stance when we approach the one who is waffling in his/her faith. We need to life up each other in prayer at all times.