Circa 2015 – 2019
Many times, people have posed this question to me (both believers and non-believers):
“Isn't he a Christian? How can he do this?”
When our pastors were arrested and accused of criminal breach of trust over the church’s funds, the media had a field day stirring up ridicule and anger in their papers, including unkind remarks by other church pastors or Christians. Not only that, we even hear preachers mock or condemn our church on their pulpit, which is a complete turn-off for us.
Some of my friends expressed their concern and disdain over what they read, knowing that we are members of that church. One Christian friend forwarded me a hateful email that has been going around, accusing the church of being nothing more than an MLM and a Ponzi scheme. A high flyer in the marketplace, she was angry and indignant about what was obviously a ridiculous untruth, and demanded to know if I was still a member of that church.
Pondering how to respond to that, the Lord reminded me of these precious words from some time ago:
“Christians are not perfect, they are only forgiven.”
I have been broken enough not to get upset, uptight or concerned about the shortcomings of God’s people or His Church. I simply ask God what He thinks so that I can discern what is true, and what is right, or not, with Him. I then ask Him if I should or should not respond.
At times, He tells me what to do. Most times, He tells me to keep it in my heart and simply watch and pray. Once, He woke me up to pray for one of the disgraced pastors and told me to bring a word of encouragement to him. I felt nothing but the love of Christ for him when my husband and I met up with him, leaving him in tears. Yes, God loves us, even when we stumble and fall.
And to my enquiring but genuinely concerned Christian friend and to many others, I tell them the same words I was given: “Christians are not perfect, only forgiven”.
They get it. It applies to all of us too.
Over a meal or a coffee with them, I suggest that we should be careful not to behave like Job’s friends - not to be presumptuous lest we say something out of our ignorance, that we may end up offending God. (Read the Book of Job in the Old Testament if you are not familiar with these dudes).
Honestly, every time I hear of His people falling to sin, I feel the pain and sorrow in the Lord’s heart, especially for those who fall in such a big and spectacular way that the evil one is most happy to broadcast. Not only they suffer, but their loved ones and family too. We are part of the body of Christ. If one part hurts, Christ hurts.
“If any of our own siblings does something wrong or bad, would we join the world in ridiculing and condemning them? Or would we be sad and concerned? And be there for them?”
Sure, we have to seek the truth. Then, stand on what is right and good, and let justice take its course. But it is also in times like this that I check if I am like Christ or not; am I tender hearted, gracious and loving, or do I take our place with the mockers and the stone throwers?
The Lord once told me to love this lady from China who drove people mad with her trickery and lies. Her church pastor, cell leader and friends had given up on her.
God asked me, “Will you love this unlovable woman? Even if you know that she is going to cheat you or trick you, will you still choose to love her?”
How could I say no to God?
Today, I could not be more proud of her. I have spent many years – almost 10 years now – choosing to love her. She has transformed into a beautiful woman of God, madly in love with the Lord, willing to do anything for Him. Still not perfect, but definitely forgiven.
Occasionally, she is still up to her tricks and many times, she makes me angry and sad but I still choose to love her and help her when she falls. Her story has touched many lives in China and she has led so many to Christ, for through her, they have seen the lovingkindness of our God.
On another occasion, I was invited to join a group of women for a new Bible study program.
I got to know a Christian mother who was exasperated with her teenage daughter’s battle with depression. It was heartbreaking to hear her relate that every morning when she leaves her house for work, she was not sure if her daughter, having attempted suicide several times, would still be alive when she returns. I don’t know if I could live each day thinking like that.
I suggested that she take her daughter out of this top school, which was driving her crazy as she is a high achiever, and to take her to see a psychiatrist. She softly replied that her husband, who is a doctor and very devout Christian, did not think psychiatry qualifies as medical science. She added that they feared that this would also be a bad testimony to their unsaved family members, as they had fervently prayed and believed in God for their daughter’s healing and deliverance.
At the driveway as we were all about to leave, God gave me these words to say to her:
“You don't have to protect my reputation.”
Instantaneously, she broke into a “what was I thinking?” smile. It was a light bulb moment for both of us. :) We both started laughing, realising how absurd it was to even think that God needed our protection for His reputation.
Indeed, is anyone qualified or capable enough to protect God’s reputation?
Does God need us to protect His name?
We are simply imperfect, forgiven people.
No longer fearful, this mother took her daughter out of her high-stress, grades-driven school and sent her to study overseas. Soon, her daughter was thriving in a top university there, happy and fulfilled, no longer suicidal. Last I heard, she has graduated with top honours and has decided to take up child psychiatry to help others like her.
Hallelujah! Christians are not perfect, only forgiven.
God does not need us to protect His reputation. He is quite capable of proving himself.
Therefore in COBS, we have nothing to prove and we do not try to prove anything to anyone.
That is another aspect of brokenness. Having nothing to prove.
What about you?
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