I don’t know about you, but I find it fairly easy to watch a sporting event from the comfort of my living room, and yell at the TV. I think in this very advanced technological world we live in, somehow I think I might believe that if I shout loud enough, the head coach or a player will receive my feedback, and that he get he will step up the quality of his play.
I have a feeling I’m not the only one who does this, as absurd as it sounds.
But, I think we all need to be very careful when we take that same mindset into church with us. “Ooh, pastor. I wish you didn’t say that last point. I think you might have missed the point there.” Or, “ooh, I wish you would have brought more application to that last point. I think your message was a little weak.”
Just even writing those words shames me. Who do I think I am to stand in the place as some judge over the words someone speaks, who has been preparing and seeking God on how to deliver this message?
The other major problem I’m realizing when I resort to being a judge like this is due to my lack of humility, I tend to miss what God might be trying to communicate to me. Again, I am full of shame when I think that I have no more to learn (even if the delivery seems “weak” in some way to me).
Lastly, as I’m pouring out reflections of my failings in this area, I’m reminded by God’s Spirit in one more area that I act foolishly as a judge –critiquing characters in the Bible. I find it real easy to get down on people in the Bible who made mistakes.
The one that immediately comes to my mind is Aaron. Moses, Aaron’s brother was on Mt. Sinai receiving the 10 commandments from God. Moses had been up there for 40 days and the people were putting enormous pressure on Aaron (the designated leader) to do something.
The people feared that Moses had died and they started to think that they were abandoned by God. So, in their haste (and foolishness), they took matters in their own hands and looked to make their own god, they could worship. Aaron caved in to their influence and gathered up lots of gold from the people, than fashioned it in to a golden calf, which led to a massive party.
Pretty foolish, huh ? Just because God was a bit silent, did that excuse the Israelites and Aaron from finding another source of reverence, and pleasure– a false god?
Again, I find myself standing as judge to mock their foolishness. However, I was reminded of a time when I was on a business trip and sitting in my hotel room, tired after a long day of visiting clients. I can remember sensing the temptation to find pleasure and excitement by watching programs on the tv that I shouldn’t have. I was looking for an unhealthy way to satisfy my boredom and need for pleasure and I wasn’t looking to God for that, but some alternative, unhealthy thing. But, isn’t that the same thing that basically Aaron did? Looking for a man-made solution in the absence of God’s presence.
So, my point in all this is to encourage us all to be humble and patient with one another. We all need grace. Afterall, we are really all just hurting people trying to help hurting people.