Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king (1 Peter 2:17 NKJV).
I had an eye-opening chat with this Millennial recently. I wondered why he would always grab a Bible to scan a verse at the slightest chance of some free time, yet he will not go to church. In his peculiar case, he had become a seekrist because of the search for reliable leadership. If he had a chance to visit his native village, he had no problem going to a particular church. However, once he travels out to the metroplex, he finds it difficult to find a church whose leadership can be trusted not to disappoint. To clarify, a seekrist is a member of our club of those who painstakingly search the scriptures for the true will of God concerning a situation before getting involved in it.
Therefore, my friends believe in God, but as a youth, he had become disillusioned by current church leadership. He has a firm belief in God, but he was afraid of being misled. His father (who was an elder in another church) had openly encouraged him to engage in acts that bring disrespect to a new pastor in their church just because the Council of Elders doesn’t like the pastor. Indirectly, the pastor was being forced upon them. Mind you, this was not the head of the church; the new pastor was only going to serve in an assistant capacity. My friend’s dilemma was that short of saying “hello”, the new pastor had even ministered in the church at all.
So how come can anyone justify the political position of some powerful clique determined to perpetrate hatred in the church of God? This was difficult to reconcile for this young man, especially as he had noticed that this type of attitude has begun to appear in the attitudes of some of his friends against an unknown minister of God. This young man recently joined his parents as he moved into the city in order to improve his access to better schools. He had practically grown up with his maternal grandmother in the village. He was sure that this will shock the old woman. He wished he could just find a way to go back, but the cost of driving back and forth between the village and the city made that difficult. All the same, he remained unhappy with this example of so many distractions like this in the house of God.
This is a danger that the Church faces today. Hypocrisy, such as it is being projected by these apparently powerful group of congregants cannot but push young minds such as my friend to revisit the truth about God and Christianity.
A biblical truth such as 1 Peter 2:17 is a basic inherent in Christian moral guidance. For instance, how does one love a member of the brotherhood whom he disrespects at the same time? Yet, anything short of loving fellow church members belies this instruction. It is beyond disrespect when you collude to encourage other people to express dislike to your neighbor. There is no doubt that ego and determination, which are great attributes themselves are being exploited by hatred, when church officers needed to coach the youth group against another man.
The more I look at this scripture, the more that I remember the greatest commandment (Matt. 22: 36-40) as it talks about the love of God and man being the cornerstone of morality, and the basic rule for making it to heaven. These scriptures do not give much leeway at all. They are so coached that there is no thought or action of man can be concluded to be either of two ways; sound Christian morality or ungodly behavior.
To hate or instigate hatred against any member of the church is to contradict God’s instructions. The consequences of God’s wrath when we constitute a stumbling block to work of the presbytery are well documented in the scriptures.
Pastor John blogs on practical life issues at the Jesus Blog and is Director of APGO publishers of Christianity 101, Christian Sacraments, Baby Steps in Christ, Islamic Jesus