Lately, and by that I mean since I got here to MN, I have dwelt a lot on my sinfulness. Well really it ebbs and flows. I conveniently forget all my problems stemming from my sinful desires when I’m, in fact, in the process of sinning. Many times I am conscious of it and I stealthily avoid feeling convicted for days, or weeks, and I’m ashamed to say it. Sometimes I am only conscious of it in hindsight, which is always the scariest way to be confronted because I have made a commitment in following Christ which means, sincerely, being committed to getting rid of all the crap that’s built up in my soul… when I don’t realize how terrible I’m being or when I don’t see how much I am not glorifying God, that is scary. I want to live my life in a way that is so open to the Holy Spirit’s leading that I am convicted the moment I grieve Him with my thoughts or words or deeds. Well, I want to want to live my life that way. At times I don’t even desire that, and I’m just being honest.
So, segue onto what’s been on my heart lately, one particular item that I struggle with so much, so often, that I am to the point where I think about it every day, devoting every other hour to it.
I’m not talking apocalyptic judgment here, nor God’s justice… but my own struggle with it. Big time. The worst of it – and this is probably a little surprising – is my judgment of others that proclaim Christ. This kind of culminated this evening as I read this entry from Matthew Paul Turner’s blog “Jesus Needs New PR”.
I already have a little of a beef with this guy because he blatantly doesn’t like A LOT of people. Alright – I won’t make that blanket statement. But it is painfully obvious when you read his blog or Tweets that he’s upset with a ton of Christian ideology or theology. He’s not quiet about his distaste for exclusive Calvinists or the already poorly viewed Charismatics (i.e. Joel O$teen, as MPT writes). In fact, his whole ministry seems like it’s based on mockery, a kind of ridiculing that is borderline ridiculous to me sometimes. I am constantly bombarded with his views on things or ideas or persons he doesn’t like. Like @johnpiper, who he frequently gives negative shout outs to over Twitter. Apparently reading John Piper’s Tweets makes him want to be a Buddhist. He writes, “Which might very well be more Christ-like.”
Yikes. That hurts, especially because I am drawn to Biblical ideas the way John Piper is on a multitude of levels. Matthew dismisses Piper as a fundamentalist and calls it a day. So you’d think that MPT and JP are polar opposites the way Betty Crocker is different from the Jolly Green Giant. Yet, according to this recent blog post of his, they both at least share a hatred for one thing: the prosperity gospel. Piper is widely known for believing that this so-called gospel is an abomination. There’s hundreds of videos of him on YouTube and commentaries on his Desiring God site to prove it. There are sure to be more commonalities between these two Christian heavyweights but you would never know it, because MPT seems most consumed with distancing himself from JP by putting him down or making jokes about him – and believe you me, there’s a slew of people behind JP, on this list of things MPT thinks is stupid. All that is said and done and yet I know an incredibly small amount of his own theology or simply what he believes. All I really know about him is what he enormously dislikes. I hate that almost every word out of his mouth is some slander to another follower of Christ who he thinks is being stupid or ridiculous. But what do you stand for? What do you love, MPT? What does Jesus Christ mean to you? How are you letting your words shine light on the Father? Could you open up something good or encouraging or slightly positive?
And that, my friends, was a WHOLE lot of judgment on my part. I don’t know if you caught any of that, but I sure did. As I read this blog post of his, I immediately began to resent his comments on Joel O$teen. I began to judge him for being judgmental towards his brother in Christ, and I wanted to write a snarky comment about how he was failing to be the salt of the earth or be apart from the world or plainly how much of a jerk he is. And most of the comments he got on the post were similar to those initial, gut reactions of mine. But just as I had those thoughts, I was hit in the face with how terribly judgmental I was being, and God reminded me just how badly I struggle with it. Even in the seemingly tiniest sense, passing judgment is still the same. I’m still taking upon myself what is ultimately God’s attribute and His role only. He is just and will judge as His holiness allows, and like any other sin that doesn’t glorify Him, it grieves Him when I do this.
So judgment is on my mind and heart bigtime right now, and I know in my soul that Jesus Christ became incarnate, died and lived again for me, for this reason.
P.S. I have to amend that I actually do think Matthew is hilarious from time to time. He is brilliantly talented at picking out the ridiculous things we do as Christians, and uses satire to kick us into gear, to rethink what we are doing or saying or idolizing in place of who we are called to be as followers. My favorite series of his is “Jesus Picture of the Week”.