There are certain things I never, ever, ever discuss, because those conversations will not end well. My philosophy is that you’re entitled to your opinion and I’m entitled to mine, so let’s skip the inevitable debate and just be friends. K? This philosophy has served me well, so for the most part, I keep my opinion to myself. I tend to sit back and watch until I’m so burdened I can’t remain silent.
This is one of those times, and I’m not altogether sure if I’m preaching or if this is in fact just my opinion. If it’s the latter, I promise you it is heartfelt, and I implore you to give what I’m about to say some thought.
In August, a Hillsong artist/writer was fodder for many articles, and far too many scathing posts and comments, because it was reported that he had renounced his faith. I cannot tell you how many Facebook posts and articles from Christian publications I saw calling for everyone to stop listening to Hillsong because suddenly they weren’t Christian. Absent from most of those rantings was his name (for the record it is Marty Sampson).
I mean, if we’re going to publicly stone someone, let’s at least mention his name.
My first thought was how can a man that has written beautiful worship songs based on scripture fall away from his faith. What happened?! I truly wanted to know, so I researched to find out. I didn’t assume that he was leading the masses to hell, nor did I look for the biggest rock I could find. Here’s what I found out. He said his faith was on shaky ground. This tells me a few things. One, his situations and circumstances had clearly left him pressed on all sides. We’ve all been there. That’s the best place to be because in that place our Savior is waiting to increase that faith. And two, He was clearly asking questions and hadn’t given up on the Savior he wrote about. He hadn’t given up, but he’d been given up on by certain members of the Christian Faith. Wasn’t it Peter that denied Christ not once, not twice but three times? His faith was on shaky ground, but he overcame and today, 2,000 years later we know our Savior. It’s interesting to me that certain Christians, who by definition follow Christ, did not act as He would in this situation. I saw no posts saying Mr. Sampson needed prayer and that we couldn’t lose another one to the enemy. No prayer requests. Just requests for stones. The bigger the better.
Then there’s Lauren Daigle. A beautiful girl with a beautiful voice that has released some of the purest songs about our Savior that I’ve heard. Many of those songs crossed over and are being played on mainstream radio, so the love of Christ and the message of the gospel are being played between Drake and Beyoncé, which is incredible! But that was ignored because she answered a question about her religious beliefs about homosexuality in a way that was not pleasing to the uber religious. Instead of proclaiming it an abomination and condemning them all to hell, she said I don’t know. I’m not God. Read the Bible and find out for yourself, and when you have an absolute answer let me know because I’m learning myself. What a transparent and wise answer. How could she possibly sing about a Savior that did not come to condemn the world, and turn around and condemn? Why was she expected to do that, church?
And then there’s Kanye a/k/a Yeezus. Oh yeah. I’m going there. This guy is famous for putting his pride, arrogance and oftentimes blasphemous lyrics to music and leading our youth down that road. I don’t recall seeing a Christian led coalition to have his music banned when he toured with a man dressed as Jesus. Ironically, now that he has proclaimed Jesus as his savior, and 1,000 in ONE night were saved, he’s a fraud. It’s just a publicity stunt and even though the Word says if you profess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord you will be saved, he isn’t in fact truly “saved”. Guess that applies to everyone but Kanye. Paul was, for all intents and purposes, the ISIS of his day until that trip to Damascus. Radical transformation apparently only applied to him. I’m sorry, but no. Each and every time someone comes to Christ, a radical transformation has taken place!
I do not understand you, church. What is it that you want?
Marty Sampson led thousands upon thousands in worship to the King and at the time he needed prayer and encouragement, you gave him judgment and all but banished him.
Lauren Daigle took the Message of a loving Savior that came not to condemn the world but to save it to secular radio, and because she didn’t answer a loaded question with condemnation, you condemned her!
Kanye West turned his back on his past and professed his faith, leading thousands to Christ and you call him a fake!
Here’s the thing. They’re famous and easy to attack, but you do it to the people in your everyday life too! Your neighbors,your family, your friends, strangers on the street.
Yes you do!
If you are so quick to hurl not just stones, but boulders of judgment against people you do not know it’s because that is what is in your heart.
Have you taken the time to read what’s on your heart? Truly just stopped and took inventory of how many people in yourChristian walk have actually seen the love of Christ course through you? God loves EVERY SINGLE PERSON you are so quick to judge. All of them. As my brother pointed out just this week, there is NOTHING any of us can do to cause Him to love us less. NOTHING. He’s right. How do I know? Because the Bible tells me so. John 3:16 to be exact. He loved the WORLD and sent His son to die for ALL, not just the ones you think deserve to be saved. None of us, not one, deserve that gift. Not you. Not me. Not him. Not her.
It’s time to stop throwing stones at an already fragile and crumbling world and start doing all that He asked us to do. LoveHim and love our neighbor. Those are the greatest commandments. He walked in love. He sat with the sinners. He encouraged the lost, healed the sick and loved the unlovable. He refused to throw stones. Remember?
Until the church starts acting like The Church - His Church- more people are going to find themselves on far worse than shakey ground. Guess who will be held accountable for that? I refuse to be guilty of not loving the least of these. The broken and vulnerable that do not know the love of Christ will see it in me. I don’t struggle with loving those that the church doesn’t love. I struggle with loving those that plop their behinds in the same pews three times a week, singing the same hymnals Sunday after Sunday, but refuse to love the very ones that Jesus chases after. I’m working on that , but I have to be honest, if I didn’t know my Savior - who is He was and is - and who I am in Him, I would want absolutely nothing to do with most churches, and I can see why the Bible tells us about the great falling away and why people become lovers of themselves. All of that is easy to do when the message of enduring sacrificial love only applies to the ones that sit comfortably in their temples. People need to be loved and if they don’t receive the love of Jesus from the ones He commissioned to be vessels of that love, they will get it from the world.
So, I have one question for you church. Have you read what’s on your heart? Until we all have the same purpose and the same heartbeat, people dying daily will go to hell and we will have done nothing to stop it.
Wake up church. You are the dry bones the Spirit is waiting to breathe life into. You are that army He’s waiting to equip to usher in the revival of His church. You are the ones that He will rise up to be His Light in a world covered in darkness. The world needs you, so please, put the stones down, read what’s on your heart, and wake up.