Some things that continue to bother me

I wrote on this website an article titled “Things that no longer bother me.” Among them were the interpretation of certain Bible prophecies, the wasted energies of denominational politics, and the need to have an answer for every question.

But there’s another side to that coin.

Some things do bother me and keep me prayerful, studying, engaged, worrying (a little), and always concerned.

It bothers me that my grandchildren do not read as much as they should.  Blame computers?  It bothers me that the standards for television broadcasting keep getting looser and looser.  Nothing is off limits, considered too dangerous or obscene.  It bothers me that other people don’t seem to be bothered.

Bothered?  How does that old song go? Bewitched, bothered, and bewildered.  Well, for me personally not so much bewitched or bewildered.  Just bothered.

For instance…

I am bothered by the lack of love in some calling themselves Christians.

Unloving Christians?  Is that an oxymoron or what?

I’ve found a foolproof way to smoke out unloving Christians.  Write something and have it reposted by one of the online magazines.  Since readers do not know me and I will not be meeting them, presumably, some will feel free to express themselves with the bark off.  And people can be harsh in these comments.

A charismatic online magazine picked up my article on the security of believers, what we euphemistically call “once saved always saved.”  For reasons I do not understand, people of the Pentecostal persuasions (not a particular denomination, but referring to an entire grouping of the Christian family) seem to have an aversion to that doctrine in spite of the clear teachings of Scripture.  So, I went to their website and read the article and then did something questionable:  I read the comments.  Boy, did they ever pour on! And man, was I ever a scoundrel, an unbeliever, a heretic, a Christ-denier!

And these comments were posted by my brothers and sisters in the Lord.

Eventually, I have learned not to read the comments at the end of my articles reposted in online mags.  Or if I read them, not to comment.  However, sometimes I cannot resist the urge and leave a response to a comment, which I almost invariably regret.  The mean-spirited will read it as an invitation to a bare-knuckles brawl.

And these are the Christians.  “By this,” Jesus said, “shall all men know that you are my disciples, that you love one another.”  (John 13:34-35).

I am bothered by the lack of unity among God’s people. 

There is so much division in the Lord’s people. Even the groupings that claim to be unified are splintered under the surface.  Case in point: The Catholic Church makes a case for being one church, worldwide, but in many respects it’s as disjointed as all the others. And don’t get me started on the hundreds of denominations in this country alone with Baptist in their name!

Now, I’m not against denominations as such, and see a need for like-minded believers to cooperate in missions and educating their ministers.  But it grieves me to see churches fighting within themselves and then with other congregations, to watch denominations coming apart at the seams over doctrine, and then pastors who try to do their entire ministry in isolation.

I think they see Christian unity as an ideal in a perfect world, but nothing involving them personally.

Jesus prayed that “they all may be one”–imagine that!–“that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me” (John 17:21,23).  Don’t miss the point of this:  Unity among believers is an essential part of evangelizing the outside world.  The unbelieving world wants nothing of what an infighting congregation is selling.

And it bothers me that this does not bother others!

I am bothered by the way some of my brethren do politics. They seem to say, “By this shall all men know you are my disciples, that you vote a certain way.”  Once they see that a brother or sister in Christ supports the other candidate, they take no prisoners in their hostility and anger.

Such should not be.

I am bothered by the drift of this country morally.

We used to require morality in our leaders.  We did not know JFK was a serial adulterer until long after his death.  In 1988, Senator Gary Hart had to drop out of the race for President when he was revealed to be a philanderer.   To the American public these days, marital fidelity is a quaint idea that went out with the Edsel.   I grieve.

I am bothered by homosexuality and just as bothered by how some Christians respond to it. 

It bothers me that some Christians see no wrong in this lifestyle–in direct contradiction to Scripture–and it bothers me that others send all gays and lesbians to hell.  And when someone stands up and urges the rest of us to love them as people for whom Christ died, to literally “love them into the kingdom,” some will turn on him and ostracize him as weak and compromising.

I wish I knew the answers.  I do know there is nothing in Scripture in favor of homosexuality, but I know also that we do not have all the answers.  Romans 1-2 speaks of some in the past who rebelled against God and chose that way of life, but the Bible does not present this as the total explanation for this way of life.  I Corinthians 6 says “such were some of you,” which implies to me that the Corinthian church was successfully reaching homosexuals for Christ and then leading them to live righteously. They were doing something right, whatever it was.

Help us, Lord.  Help us to know Thy way and to do the right, loving thing. And once we know, give us the courage to stand by Thy Word no matter how lonely we get or how ostracized.

No, that’s not all…

But it’s enough for today.

And one more thing.  By saying I’m “bothered,” don’t think for  a minute that I sit around obsessed with these or other concerns. I’m not a worrier.  Never have been.

I care. That’s what I’m saying:  These things matter.

I may be the most contented person you will ever meet.  I’m so blessed.  In my 80th year–Lord, does that sound awful!–there is no stress in my life and I am as happy as I have ever been or have a right to be.  God is so good to me.

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