Our Witness Is On the Line (Feb. 8, 2016)

Our Witness Is On the Line – 1 Cor. 6:6

We had a great 16th Anniversary Celebration Encounter yesterday with Evang. John Ramirez. If you don’t know who he is, look him up on YouTube. God delivered him from satan worship and he has an incredibly amazing testimony and ministry. He was really a blessing to our fellowship yesterday and those who came to be our guests to partake of his ministry. Please keep him in your prayers.

But there is a delicate matter that happened yesterday that I am compelled to write about. Let me make a few disclaimers first. One, I am not interested in shaming, embarrassing or appearing to negatively disparage anyone. Rather, my aim is to give those of us who are in the Body of Christ an admonishment. Secondly, since this is not about casting anyone in a negative light, I must be somewhat cryptic, although for those of you who are familiar with our church’s current circumstances, somethings will become readily apparent to you. Here it is…

In the Body of Christ, WE MUST BE EXTREMELY MINDFUL AND CAREFUL OF HOW WE TREAT EACH OTHER – THE WORLD IS WATCHING. Our church rents space from a local VFW Hall in Hicksville every week. It’s a great arrangement (FOR NOW, NOT FOREVER!) as we continue journeying towards our Canaan. There is another ministry that rents the facility at the same time. Our hosts – the management of the VFW – have been INCREDIBLY good to us (it’s undeniably God’s favor). With each passing week, they demonstrate to us just how much they really love our church. They make accommodations and concessions to us that they are not obligated to do and often without any solicitation from us whatsoever. I am grateful to God for that because it is undeniably Him, especially in light of the fact that our hosts do not make a claim or profession to faith. However, they honor ours. I have a sneaking suspicion as to why, but that’s another post. When our hosts began to conceive and grasp the enormity of our day yesterday, they instantly swung into action, making observations and suggestions as to some things we should consider to make the event even more of a success. And then, they took it upon themselves to make some other adjustments as well without our asking. The adjustments they made were harmless, temporary and not disruptive to our ‘neighbors’. Unfortunately though, our ‘neighbors’ lodged a complaint. Our hosts were extremely perplexed and disturbed by their behavior and expressed two evaluations about it that were frankly – truthful, shameful, embarrassing, and negative reflections upon the Body of Christ. Now let me be clear; they were not disappointed with us. Just extremely disappointed with our ‘neighbors’. However, we have to get back to understanding and accepting in the Body of Christ the reality that we all win and lose together. A large part of our problem is the “us against them” mentality. So to not understand and embrace that our hosts’ assessment about our ‘neighbors’ affects us too, (because again, we’re all on the same team) is just as bad as the behavior of our ‘neighbors’. It was so bad that I could not even defend, justify or cover their actions. THEIR ACTIONS WERE NOT A PLUS FOR THE BODY OF CHRIST, PERIOD.

Here are my takeaways from this incident. First, if you have an issue with your Brother or Sister in Christ, PRAY! Sometimes we make nothing into something because of some ridiculously petty misconception and misperception within us. If we would pray first, God is able to show us that the issue is within and not without. For instance, if the truth be told, a lot of us are envious and jealous, and spiritually immature to see that when one of us succeeds we all succeed.

Second, be man and woman enough, and GODLY enough to go to your Brother or Sister directly. Often, we have issues with people and they genuinely, sincerely have no idea that there is an issue. One of the reasons this is so is that often our OFFENSE and its reasons thereof are, although real to us, just…well…really…NOT THAT SERIOUS, and furthermore an indication of something wrong in me not them. God will often allow things to happen, not for you to go off on a tangent about someone else, but to show you He has somethings IN YOU HE WANTS AND NEEDS TO DEAL WITH.

Third, IF AFTER HAVING PRAYED, you believe you are to take action, PRAY AGAIN, asking God to give you HIS WISDOM of THE WAY AND THE WHEN of how to deal with the situation. Sometimes, HIS WISDOM IS THAT YOU DO NOTHING. Why, because He wants to work it out Himself. Or you MAY NOT BE READY TO CONDUCT YOURSELF PROPERLY. Or the other individual IS NOT READY TO DEAL CORRECTLY WITH THE SITUATION. Timing is critical. All premature births have decreased chances of uneventful delivery and full-term survival. This is a life principle not mutually exclusive to the natural event of childbirth.

Fourth, be observant. If the incident plays itself out in an arena where unbelievers are involved, REMEMBER OUR WITNESS IS INVOLVED – THEY ARE WATCHING. Jesus, said it so clearly; “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” – John 13:35, NLT. How we conduct ourselves with each other before unbelievers is a CRITICALLY ESSENTIAL component to the effectiveness of our witness. And invariably it adds to or subtracts from our ability to bring them to Jesus. The world expects (and rightfully so) us to demonstrate the power of God so evident among us that we are able to resolve conflicts among us in a way that supersedes their conflict resolution methods. NOTICE, they do not expect that we will not have conflict; they just expect that we will handle conflict DIFFERENTLY with incredibly better results. Even if that means we agree to disagree. Before the world, that should be done peacefully, admirably, respectfully and lovingly.

Let’s make a determination this year in the Body of Christ that we are going to do better by each other. After all, we market to the world that we have the answers. Let’s not be guilty of false advertisement. Let’s be who we say we are and do what we are called to do. The world is dying, taking an express train to Hell. We don’t have time to fight each other. We only have time to win the battles assigned to us in this war against the enemy. LET’S DO THIS.

Darren E Butler Sr