I was caught off guard by a pastor suddenly pointing at me whilst telling some of his congregation members, “it was her, it was her, she was the culprit”! So there I was facing an angry pastor literally pointing his finger at me with a scowled face and members watching me without blinking an eye. The pastor rattled off many accusations that were totally irrelevant to the situation and began to condemn me saying that I was walking in the flesh, that I was a false worker and that I was full of the evil spirit. He gave his reasons all based on his assumptions and judgment as this pastor had not even once spoke to me before nor have I ever attended his church. This was our very first ‘dialog’ – or perhaps I should say monologue as it was a one sided communication. God had warned me earlier that this was going to happen. I attempted to clarify the misunderstanding that caused him to attack me personally – both my character and my spiritual walk -which had nothing to do with the “cause” in the first place. I also gently told him not to judge me as else he would have to face God in accountability to HIM as this pastor had no idea as to who I was and what I was doing.
Interestingly I was accused of trying to disrupt their worship as I had asked to reduce the base that was so loud affecting the floors upstairs to the point of windows vibrating – where myself and others were.
I prayed afterwards asking God to forgive him as he obviously didn’t know what he was doing or rather saying and that God would convict him so that he can change his ways. In trying to safeguard their ‘worship’ which has to be ‘loud’ and defending his church, this pastor ended up violating so many biblical principles in one instant. The way he was scolding me left me feeling as if my clothes were ripped off from me in front of virtual strangers.
I couldn’t help think of the woman caught in adultery. Mind you the Bible is clear that this woman was caught in the act – there was no room for assumptions. The religious leaders brought this woman to Jesus who in return first ignored them. Jesus was seated already in the temple teaching the crowd when the leaders approached Him. He stooped down and began writing on the ground with His finger.
I found that fascinating. Why did Jesus do that? Maybe he was giving time to the Pharisees to realize their errors and pull away… I don’t know I’m just speculating here. He was writing on the ground – in the temple so it wasn’t even sand or soil where one could read what He was writing let alone where it would ‘last’ to be read. Perhaps He was showing that what was written in law was going to be abolished or rather fulfilled by Him.
The law had said that the woman caught in adultery was to be put to death – it hadn’t said that she was to be stoned. Happily the religious leaders added to the law. Jesus decided to finally speak up and asked the one who hadn’t sinned (the Greek Word used in this instance was derived from the word “missing the mark”) to throw the first stone. All the leaders slipped away leaving no one to condemn the woman. Jesus told the woman that He wasn’t condemning her either but to go and leave her life of sin.
Isn’t it encouraging to note that Jesus PROTECTED / stood up for a woman who had been CAUGHT in sin. How often do we do that? How often do we ASSUME someone is sinning and throw stones – stones of condemnation in public either with our words or our acts of rejection and even ostracising?
MEN ARE OFTEN VERY ZEALOUS IN ACCUSING OTHERS OF THAT OF WHICH THEY THEMSELVES ARE GUILTY – Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament for John 8:11.
Is it of any surprise that it is to the Pharisees, the religious leaders that Jesus says,
You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of – Matthew 12:34
We worship God with our lives not with the ‘noise’:
By making a lot of religious din we assure our faltering hearts that everything is well, and, conversely, we suspect silence and regard it as a proof that the meeting is “dead.” – A. W. Tozer
If we don’t worship God with our lives, no matter how beautiful or touching the words that flow through our lips to worship Him, they have no meaning whatsoever. God rebukes those who worship with just the lips while their hearts being far away as ‘hypocrites’.
I agree – and I admit that this includes ME: All of us, every single one of us have fallen short of the glory of God… We are all a work in progress being constantly renewed in His image as long as our hearts are yielded to Him. However, it is not our gifts that reveal our walk with God, but rather the FRUIT of the SPIRIT that is increasingly displayed in our lives.
If we have experienced God’s grace in our lives, we will surely extend that to others too. If we have experienced God’s love in our lives, then we also will be vessels of love to others. If we live in condemnation (which we will obviously try to hide and cover up) we will be quick to condemn others. However, if we know that our Heavenly Father is compassionate and sees our hearts, we will desire to hear the hearts of others too.
Our words will then speak knowledge and our words will build up not destroy:
Gold there is, and rubies in abundance, but lips that speak knowledge are a rare jewel – Proverbs 20:15.
However much we operate in the Spirit, whether it be speaking in tongues, having faith, uttering prophecies, giving out finances – without love it all amounts to NOTHING – 1 Corinthians 13:1-13.
May we recall the life of Jesus in every situation and remember that how we treat others is how we will be treated – and God will hold us accountable. May we constantly be led by God to have a repentant heart in the times we fall and also to mirror the way of Jesus when someone is caught in the act of missing the mark. May we also ask God to guide our tongues and our thoughts – to slander someone and spread false rumours. May our lips speak knowledge in all situations and may the fruit of the Spirit be increasingly evident in our lives.