Feb

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Churchianity5. Emotional Decisions.

By pastorbillwalden

The highest and greatest organization on Earth is Jesus’ Church. That is true because it is designed and built by Him, and shall go on into eternity. Microsoft can’t make that claim, nor can any other great organization you might think of.

Though the Church is the greatest entity on Earth, it has been guilty of many sins. The sins that have most captured my attention are the ones closest to me. I have learned much about the hurts brought on by the Church, even from within the Calvary Chapel movement, of which I am (still) gratefully a part.

I am saddened for those victimized by the Church. I am equally saddened by the decision of many Believers to never return to “organized religion”. It is to those dear saints that I wish to write.

To those still not wanting any part of “organized religion”, I ask that you would bear with me. I know that me being a pastor probably brings a gag reflex to your body, but please, consider what I have to say.

I have tried to show in these previous articles that I at least have a clue of what some of you have been through. I don’t claim to know first hand, and I will not say, “I know how you feel”, because I don’t. I do understand what God’s word says to all who bear the name “Christian”. I come to you based on His words, not mine. I also come because I see what happens when we go our own way, based on our emotions. Been there and done that myself. :(

None of us can live by our emotions, whether that emotion is pain, happiness, lust, hate, or kindness. Pain will paralyze us and cause us to sequester ourselves away. Happiness can cause us to throw caution to the wind. Lust that rules us also destroys us. Hate is poison to our souls. Kindness can make us vulnerable to dangerous situations, if not balanced with wisdom.

Those with teenagers understand what an emotionally driven life looks like. Hormones are the tools of Satan. :) Come on Mom and Dad, you know what I am talking about. Teenagers are scary creatures, driven by emotions and positive that they are correct about everything.

We warn our kids about not living by their emotions, but we fall victim to the same snares. Whatever negative consequences we warn our kids about will also come to us. We cannot be emotionally ruled people. We cannot. It’s dangerous. It doesn’t make sense. We would caution everyone we know not to live by their emotions. You know it’s true.

If society were ruled by emotions, we wouldn’t have enough law enforcement to control the chaos. We couldn’t trust anyone to keep his or her word. People would change their minds about everything, simply because they felt like it. Common sense restrains us from stupidity. Laws restrain us from crimes. The Holy Spirit seeks to restrain Christians from foolish decisions.

Emotions can be great, or they can be deadly. We need a higher standard for our decision making.

If church leaders or a pastor has hurt you, you should be mad. You should be very mad. I’m sure that you are mad. I am mad with you, and for you. That is righteous anger.

Chances are that the church leader that hurt you made a bunch of emotional decisions and claimed to be led by God. It doesn’t go well when that happens, does it?

But can you, I, or we, live by the emotions of hurt, anger, a sense of injustice, bitterness, or fear of getting hurt again? No, we can’t. I want to sometimes, but I can’t.

I need to keep coming back to church too, and not just because it’s my paycheck. It is because Christians belong with all God’s people. That’s His idea. You may be meeting with other Believers in a casual setting, and feel that is enough. That you don’t need to come to “Church”.

Chances are good that your group is a hand picked group that thinks and feels just like you do. That is not Body Life; that is simply hands meeting with hands, feet with feet, etc. That might be fellowship, but it’s not Body Life.

You need to be with the Body, the big picture, the whole church. You need to be with people you don’t like, and that bother you. They need you, and you need them. The Body must have ALL the parts present.

Every country song that sings about “looking for love in all the wrong places” illustrates what I am saying. We are fairly intelligent and reasonable creatures UNTIL our emotions take over. We do stuff based on emotions, crash and burn, and then do it again. Someone has rightly said that insanity is doing the same thing over again and expecting a different result.

I’ll write again soon. I am a pastor, and your brother. Come back and join the family of God. The entire family of God. We need what you have to offer, and you….believe it or not….need us too.

I’ll write again soon…

NOTE- I am presently teaching a series on the Church. Check the sermon notes and look under “Topical”.

6 Responses so far

Appreciate the words and the compassionate heart. To continue in your illustration with teens, the battle isn’t won by just telling them the right things to do (or telling others the wrongs done to us), it’s a labor of love that cost more than we may get back in return, and if we hope to succeed, we need to think more of them (others) than ourselves. At the same time there can be consequences if we do nothing at all.
So do we, or, how do we address a problem that arise so that it doesn’t continue to cause harm? And if we do speak up regarding wrongs done to us by “leaders”, do we cease being a David and become an Absalom? Or should we like Paul confront “a Peter” publicly?
I know that love for the Lord and others is key, forgiveness a necessity, and that regardless of the outcome we must do as 1 Peter tells us Jesus did, entrust ourselves to Him who judges justly, but, that’s easier said than done, and when we are in the middle of it all it can be hard to draw lines between, justice, forgiveness and the truth that needs to be known.

No wonder Paul compared the church with a marriage, it’s a bit complicated, and takes a whole lot of work, but then it can be worth it and so much better than being alone.

Hey Laura,
Nice to have you drop by and share your thoughts. Thanks. I know that all folks aren’t making their decisions about organized religion based on emotions, but a lot are. It is to them that I write.

I have more thoughts on this whole thing, and you are giving a preview of some things I want to say re. what constitutes “Body Life”. I like that illustration, since the “Church” idea is taking such a hit right now.

I won’t respond totally to your thoughts right now, cuz I want to write more on this tomorrow.

I agree with you about the 2 or 3 gathered. Jesus is there, obviously, yet I think there is another dynamic to be gained by being part of a “Body”.

I’ll write more soon. Got your camera? When the rain breaks, come to God’s country. :)

Hey Sam,
Always good to hear from you. You ask a lot of good questions, the kinds of questions that we have to wrestle with, and not just skip over as we drink tea.

The present subject matter is very difficult stuff, I know. A LOT of heartache has taken place because of church leadership failures.

I do not propose to know how to handle each situation, nor is it my intention to cover every scenario with these articles.

My hope is to keep the big picture in front of all Believers. When bad stuff happens in church, we can’t lose sight of God’s overall revealed plan for His people and His Church, which is, of course, much bigger than any one denomination, movement, or local Body, or person, whether layman or salaried pastor.

Every church, organization, university, job description, etc., has a missional statement, a vision statement, etc. Everything that happens within that setting needs to be sifted through that grid of WHY the entity exists.

When junk happens in Jesus’ church, our responses and thought processes have to be sifted through the grid of Jesus’ words and plan for his Church.

We always have to come back to the big picture, the bottom line, etc.

I am all for sick churches closing their doors. I am all for dangerous pastors being removed from office. I am all for “touching the Lord’s anointed” if they need it. Get out the boot.

But what is the Body to do? Whether those things are successful, or if they fail, there is still a Big Picture Plan that God has laid out for His people regarding Body Life, Church Life, A Fellowship Of Believers, etc.

So….these articles are meant to be Big Picture stuff. The scenarios are meant to be wrestled with on an individual basis. We just have to know what we are aiming at.

If we don’t know what we are aiming at, then we have no established target to shoot for. God has given us His plan for His people.

For those reading who are perturbed by what I am saying, or by what you think I am saying, Please hear me out.

I’ll share more tomorrow. God has a blueprint for everything. Please consider the Big Picture.

The rest is, as they say, just details…

From an anonymous reader….good stuff…

Bill,
Nice article. The only comment I have is that it seems you assume those of us who aren’t too thrilled with “organized religion” are making that decision based on emotions and that’s a bad thing.
I’m not sure I agree.

First of all, lots of people are basing the decision on thinking, not on feeling and second, emotions aren’t all bad.
If your body/soul/spirit whatever tells you to stay away from something because of how it makes you feel. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I think it may be the healthiest thing you can do as a matter of fact.

Also, a hand picked, small group of people is too church. Remember that verse about “where 2 or more are gathered?” ;-) That’s church….what I hear you saying is come back into religious organizations. Those are different…

Sorry to disagree.

PB,

I liked what you shared today in church about the Body of Christ. These are certainly not your words, but it’s what I gleaned. Correct me if I heard anything other than what you intended to convey.

It is true that where two or more are gathered He is in their midst, but there is a fullness experienced when the WHOLE body is united, in sync and in tune, working according to God’s will.

Ears and Eyes can certainly hear and see, but add a mouth and the body can now suddenly share.

A mouth and eyes can speak and see, but who is there to hear?

In both settings God is in the midst of these groups of two believers, but there is a fullness lacking. God clearly has more to offer these two if only they would become part of the whole.

God has so much more for us to experience if the church could truly become ONE BODY, One healthy body submitting fully to our Lord’s will for His glory, which ultimately is to our benefit, because we all know that God’s way is the right way.

LTW,

That is exactly the point. I think we can debate whether 2 or 3 is a church experience, or if it requires hundreds of people with printed bulletins.

There is a whole other aspect which isn’t usually considered, but which you have just written about.

I hope to run with this idea tomorrow or Tuesday.

I’ll hold off for now.

Thanks for saying it well.

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