I watched several messages on You Tube by a popular pastor, Marcus Mecum , at 7 Hills Church located in Florence, Kentucky. The man delivers inspiring teaching to his non-denominational followers and his “church” is not adorned with all the usual accoutrement one expects in a Christian church. The pulpit is more akin to a stage setting with a background of contemporary light displays. There is a lot of shouting from the audience, I mean congregation, and lifting of arms and hands towards the heavens. Although many verses from Old and New Testament scriptures are referenced, one has no doubt that Jesus Christ is the mainstay of this church.
“When you are a critic, you become a victim.” Pastor Mecum struck a deep nerve with those words. That describes me in many situations occurring in my life today. It is especially apropos in the political climate of the past year. Being a critic has become so easy when I am fed a steady diet of scandalous stories and personal slander on every news outlet and late night TV show. My character defects thrive on the garbage which flows ceaselessly from the mouths of pundits and experts. It all makes me feel so absolutely normal and well-adjusted. I’m not like those imbiciles and morons who are being internationally scorned and ridiculed. Yea for Larry !
“Love thy neighbor as thyself.” Oh, well that doesn’t apply in this scenario, does it? Those fools deserve what is being unleashed on them. They are idiots. Their mouths are forever talking trash about the other guy and just look how they conduct themselves. The carousing, the immoral behavior, the greed, the obscenity, the lasciviousness and crassness which I see paraded in front of me as newsworthy information. Thank God I am not like them !
“Really? You have no sin? You are not just as broken as they are? You got all your ducks in a row, right?”
“Well, not exactly, Lord. I’ve got some minor problems, too. Well, actually, my defects are pretty glaring. You know all of them.”
“Yes, I do.”
Victimized. I have been victimized by my own ego; my pride is telling me that I am a notch above all the shenanigans happening on the national scene. My sins are not as egregious as their sins. My behavior is more civil, more godly. I have the authority to be a critic because I am better.
And it’s not OK to spend so many hours of my day judging the actions of others rather than celebrating in meditation and prayer the freedom bestowed on me by a gracious Savior who loved me enough to pull me out of those same slime pits. I still belong there, I am still more comfortable there, and I shall return there if I continue to be a victim of my own judgmental nature.
Jesus told the men of the village when an adulteress had been apprehended, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” John 8:7
We know the rest of the story. Not s single man had the moral authority to cast the first stone. 10When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? 11She said, No man, LORD. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” John 8:10-11
Overlooking an opportunity to castigate and berate national figures, “neighbors”, is sometimes difficult, many times impossible. For me, it takes a lot of prayer and practice. It does not come naturally because in my natural state I am not a nice man. But, Jesus has called me to be better than that. He has called me to “go, and sin no more.”
I cannot be a winner when I am a victim of myself, my sinful nature and character defects. For me, Jesus is the only “Way” to victory over myself.