I read an article this past week that was pretty frustrating. It was about how 3 teens beat a homeless man to death. A very sad story in itself. But one of the things that was incredibly frustrating was something that the surveillance camera revealed. This man never should have died. There were eyewitnesses. The camera revealed that during the beating, several cars slowed down to observe the teenagers beat the man and then drove off. Drove off.
My heart broke as I read that. I struggled with not being more mad at the drivers than the teens. How can people just watch someone suffer and then die and not intervene? I mean at least get someone else to help; the police or someone.
But sadly, my mind turns to the church and how much we are like these people just watching and not intervening. In my sermon, yesterday, I talked about this very thing. How so many "believers" will not tell their co-workers, neighbors, friends (how can we even use that word), or family the truth about the Bible and it's exclusive claims about salvation.
An amazing part of the passage we looked at (Acts 13:4-12) is vs 10, where Paul looks at this guy who is opposing the message (God's word) that Paul and Barnabas are teaching and says this to him: "You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord?"
After asking the people not to memorize this to use on the next person they talk to about the Lord, I mentioned how we probably look at that and think, "That's pretty harsh, isn't Paul?" In our day of tolerance and not wanting to offend anyone with this exclusive, you have to be born again-Jesus is the only way message, it does seem harsh. But is it? I contend (as I did yesterday) that it is not. It is loving and more.
Why do I think that? Because verse 9 says that Paul said it, "filled with the Holy Spirit." Ephesians 5 teaches us what the fruit of the Holy Spirit are: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control. So the most loving, peaceful, kind, patient, good, gentle thing that Paul could have done is said that to Elymus (the man opposing the gospel).
God is not tolerant. He is loving and good... more than we can imagine. And the most loving thing that you can do is tell someone the truth about Him and how they can only find forgiveness and grace through Jesus... even if it offends them.
How long will we be satisfied being the people driving by while others are being ravaged by sin, satan and the fall of man. We have help. We have the truth. We have the saving power of the Word of God. Don't just slow down and look at people going to hell. Stop and tell the truth.. the whole truth of the gospel. Or at least get someone else who can help them.