My friend has a remarkable singing voice. He uses it for God’s Glory. So when he sang at church the other day, and someone complained; it took him aback. You see, he felt God’s goodness going through every vessel in his body when he sang, so he couldn’t understand what he had done to make this person so angry that they complained to the church staff. Apparently, he had sung something that didn’t quite “jive” with church teaching. This person pointed out the issue: it wasn’t the singer – it was the song. She didn’t like the way it portrayed the church. It was contrary to church singing. My friend was hurt. He had really thought out his selection and never had he thought that it was contrary to the church’s belief, but apparently it was (according to this woman). This wasn’t the first encounter he had had with this individual and it probably wouldn’t be the last. He was hurt. He was angry. He felt like a target.
Has this happened to you? I know while my friend was recounting the situation, I could feel all sorts of past history bubbling up all around me. I knew exactly how he felt.
Sometimes when people try to stand up for the church, they don’t realize the harm they are causing the members of the church. While I truly understand the necessity of sticking to the “rules,” I also know the importance of looking at the spirit of those rules too.
Years ago, there was a little issue with some church people laying down the law, and not recognizing why the law was formed. How do I know this – check out the book of Romans (oh and those Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John). The funny thing is we still are doing this now. Instead of praying and taking some time to think things out; we jump down people’s throats. We think we are doing God’s will because we are teaching people all about Christianity, yet we are strangling the spirit of Christianity with rules and laws. And by the way, we are turning people against the Christian faith.
Am I saying what this lady did was wrong? Nope. I am saying that I hope she really prayed about her actions before she went to the church staff to complain about a song. The reason prayer is so important is that sometimes God doesn’t want us to get on our high horse and profess his truth. Sometimes he wants the other person to learn in their own time (not our time), at their own pace. Sometimes God wants to unveil the truth in other ways than just us professing His laws (like the person unveiling it on their own).
Jesus taught us this by example. He gently taught those around him. Sometimes he rebuked people, but only because they were setting themselves above Him. They needed rebuked in order to be humbled. I don’t think my friend needed humility. I think he needed others to feel that fire burning inside of him while he sang the words of a song. He needed others to feel God’s presence.
In time, my friend may have come to the conclusion that this song wasn’t appropriate. Maybe and maybe not. God may have wanted others to feel that overwhelming presence of Him in the song. We won’t ever know because someone decided to shout the “truth” into the ears of all those that would hear it. The shouting overwhelmed whatever God’s will was.
The thing is when we jump in and shout the “truth” of God to others, we have to keep in mind what God wants. Some cannot hear when you are pointing the finger at them. Some cannot understand the “truth” until it is unveiled gently to them. Some may just need a hug and reassurance that God loves them where they are (because He does).
If we want people to join us in loving Christ, we have to act like Him. Boasting and shouting and pushing the “truth” on them won’t work. People need to feel loved, understood and welcomed into God’s Kingdom. So before you jump to tell the “truth,” pray about it. Listen to God’s Will. Look at the big picture of what may happen if you speak loudly. Understand who will be affected by your voice.