How Dare I …

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
“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.
“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.

  • Matthew 7:1-6

But those elders who are sinning you are to reprove before everyone, so that the others may take warning.

  • 1 Timothy 5:20

Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come.  It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble.  So watch yourselves.
“If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them.  Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.”

  • Luke 17:1-4

“Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.
“Life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it.
“The man who complains about the way the ball bounces is likely the one who dropped it.
“It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.
“When all is said and done, more is said than done.
“Don’t tell your problems to people: eighty percent don’t care; and the other twenty percent are glad you have them.
“I can’t believe that God put us on this earth to be ordinary.
“No one has ever drowned in sweat.
“You’re never as good as everyone tells you when you win, and you’re never as bad as they say when you lose.
“If you’re bored with life — you don’t get up every morning with a burning desire to do things — you don’t have enough goals.”

  • Lou Holtz, various quotes

Okay, I am not judging Lou Holtz based on these quotes.  I think they are pretty good quotes, even with the log in my eye.

Now, one of his more recent quotes has gotten him into trouble.  For those who do not know who Lou Holtz is, Lou Holtz is a retired American football coach.  He was born in Follansbee, WV, not far from where I live now.  He grew up across the river in East Liverpool, OH and went to school at Kent State.  I first took interest in him when, win or lose, he would have a quick-witted quote to make before and after games while coaching at the University of Arkansas, and I have laughed and pondered over his wit ever since.  He won a national championship while coaching at Notre Dame.  And after retirement, he was on one of the live football broadcasts for the “Mothership,” ESPN.  Dan Patrick, who was with ESPN for a long time and left under poor terms uses the moniker “Mothership,” but there is a certain Big Brother feel to the network, regarding sports, at least.  But I loved Holtz’s advice column that would run during the halftime break during those games, regardless of what network broadcast it was.

But how can a retired coach get in trouble with such a homespun quick wit?  He was at the NRC and said that Joe Biden was a Catholic in name only.  That’s why.  Since there is a statue of Lou Holtz outside the stadium at Notre Dame, revered for having brought this Catholic university a national championship, the leaders of the university distanced themselves from Holtz.  One said something along the lines of “How dare he question whether a member of the Catholic church was saved or not.”

Okay then, so “How dare I defend Lou Holtz?”  “How dare I question church members who said the right words to become church members but never act like they have ever heard of Jesus or what He taught?”  Personally, I have no clue if Biden attends church or not.  That really is not the point being made, and church attendance does not get you into Heaven anyway.

I “dare” because I was a church member at the age of 12, and I was as lost as Hitler, Genghis Khan, and Vlad the Impaler all rolled into one.  Okay, now THAT was judgmental.  I have no idea if any of those three were Christians.  Hitler grew up in the Catholic church.  I am sure he was a member.  And as many have repeated, “Hitler loved dogs,” so he couldn’t be all bad. Besides, while some Catholic priests and protestant ministers spoke out against Hitler (over 1000 being killed in Dachau), neither denomination openly condemned Hitler with a united front, with the Pope benefiting when their policies aligned.

I became a Christian at the age of 17.  For five years, I had no clue what a relationship with Jesus was, although I attended church at least three days each week, sang in the choir, ushered at the early service, got my God and Country badge in Boy Scouts, and was nominated as the president of the Christian Student Body in high school (but I lost the election).

The point is that my whole life has had a certain misery associated with it since becoming a Christian, looking at those dead people in the pew next to me, going through the same meaningless motions that I had gone through, saying the right things at the right time, but being empty inside.

So, yes, I dare to question whether someone is a Catholic in name only or a strong believer.  Can this person say that they attend church every Sunday?  Can they say that they ask God what He thinks and follow God’s teachings before they vote on every decision made in Washington, DC?  Can they be a good Catholic and support abortion, LGBTQ, euthanasia, etc.?  Things that the Catholic church abhors or at least distances themselves?

A Catholic priest in Wisconsin stated that voting Democrat would send you to hell.  This was due to the Democratic party’s platform and the items in that platform that the Catholic church calls sin.  There was pushback from the Catholic church, but then a Catholic bishop in Texas agreed with the priest in Wisconsin.  That led a spokesperson from the Vatican to make a statement that a vote for Biden or a vote for Trump was not a mortal sin.  I can see a lot of Catholics getting whiplash as the election day nears.

Before we get too far down that ‘sin leading to hell’ concept, I want to repeat a video from Tim Keller.

We do not go to hell for this sin or that.  We go to hell for not having a meaningful relationship with Jesus Christ.  We must repent of our sins, but one sin or another does not send us to hell.  Not having our sins washed away by the blood of Jesus sends us to Hell.  In essence, we ignore God and choose our own path instead, but the only path that leads to salvation is God’s path.

But, let us leave the political argument and get around to another, one that can relate to any number of others.

I was confronted at a church leadership meeting by a member of the Finance committee.  We had spent four hours lamenting (never once praying) about the lack of balancing the budget.  We had already decided to fire someone who was a dear friend of mine.  We had already decided to cut the Mission spending in half.  But now we still needed more cuts.

I spoke up, “Maybe it’s because it is nearly midnight and I have to go to work in a few hours, but I feel that we need not fire anyone or cut any budgets.  We need more faith.  We need to turn back to God.  If we had revival in this church, we would still have a money problem.  We would have so much money, we would not know how to spend it all.”  The preacher smiled and nodded in agreement, too afraid to say, “Amen.”

Then the Finance guy turned to me and said in a low menacing tone with his teeth gritted, “How dare you bring up faith and God!!!”  And then shouting as loud as possible, “This is a business meeting!!!!”

I said that I stood by what I said.  The preacher finally found his voice to state that he agreed with me.  The meeting lasted another two hours without balancing the budget or praying.  I went home, showered, tossed around on the bed for a couple of hours without ever closing my eyes and then went to work.

But what if I had dared that night?  What if I had said to the Finance guy, “When you get to HELL, you will have plenty of time to ignore faith and God!!!”

If someone said that to me, I would not punch them in the face.  I would examine myself to see what in my behavior led them to think that I was bound for hell.  The word “rebuke” is used 100 times in the NIV.  Many of those times it is used as an encouragement to rebuke, to get people to repent and turn back to God – never to send them to hell (a few exceptions when Jesus rebukes a demon, I suppose).

The Scripture from Timothy above talks of rebuking those who speak false doctrine.  We would not have the mess that we have in our churches today if the churches of the past decades, centuries, millennia had rebuked false doctrine and stuck to what Jesus taught us to say and do.

How dare I?

I dare because I love those people who are going in the wrong direction and encouraging others to follow them.  I dare because I love the church and want more people to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus, not simple and meaningless church membership.  I dare because I love Jesus, He loves me, and He tells us to spread the Gospel to the ends of the earth – which includes the other people on your pew at church.

And I dare write this post because I love you, the reader.  God loves you and wants you to follow Him.  Will you accept Jesus today and repent of your sin?

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

5 Comments

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  1. I repent of my sin over & often — but I have never met someone like you described at the meeting. I have known clueless people, I once chaired a worship & music committee at our church, and learned there were many people who didn’t have a clue why we did thus & so. Perhaps, because in the Bible, it tells us to! Oh, my. This was helpful for me to read today. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve sat through too many church business meetings that neglected faith and God, but I’ve never heard anyone admit it so bluntly. J.

    Liked by 1 person

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