My one statement about recent local events. I received a letter in the mail this week from an individual in another city criticizing me and other local ministers/pastors for not being...shall we euphemistically say..."more proactive in relationship to current events." (All quotes are mine). I find it interesting that the opinion of many believers is that...if we do not take a vocal and present stand for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, that we are cowardly and that we are somehow "letting Him down." On another front, a big deal has been made by the national and regional media regarding one of "our folks"..."taking a stand" and "leading the charge...against their efforts." I have to say that I always find the "us and them" mentality interesting...and disturbing. That we "have to win or else all is lost"...a battle that has already been waged and won...is ironic in many respects. What are we winning? The argument. But, there are no winners in such difficult situations. Some may very well think that they are winning the "moral" battle, but may be losing the "spiritual" war. We may look good in or own eyes for considering what we see as "fighting the good fight." But, in reality, is this the case? To outsiders, I think that we too often look like Peter slicing off the ear of Malchus, ready to "fight for Jesus." Instead, what we need is humility and submission...we need to "be Jesus" providing the opportunity for restoration and healing.
Most of the pastors and ministers in Stephenville sent a reasonable and loving response to the editor of the local newspaper...in order to seek to glorify God and elevate the cause of Christ. The response of the ministers/pastors to the community, indeed our response in general, is something that we gave much consideration, time and prayer. It was our assessment that we wanted to send the right and best message to those whom it would concern or affect. We believe that this is precisely how Jesus would want us to respond. Concerning the situation with Jesus and His grace with the woman caught in adultery, it is awfully easy to look like the crowd of religious leaders who were quick to judge and condemn. I think that it is easy for us to speak the truth with "a hammer" sometimes, rather than with wisdom and love. We might be able to scare folks out of their actions by being cross...but we should be spending time trying to find ways to lead them to the cross. We should not be as interested in winning arguments or battles, but interested in the souls of all men and what we can do to help them find salvation. We believe that our meetings have done some good in making a positive difference toward this goal. It is my hope and prayer that we all continue to grow in grace and love and allow the Spirit of the Lord to continue to teach all of us even better ways.