Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Don't Be a Freight Train!

Yesterday as I approached The Oaks retirement center to visit some church members, I pulled over to finish a phone conversation, and to take some pictures. The center has a serene corridor of oaks at the entrance including a walking path and benches which make for a peaceful setting (perfect for finishing up a phone call!). See what I mean...Suddenly, the railroad crossing signals began to blink and clang, and then the blast of a freight train. I wasn't that far from the tracks, so the noise definitely disrupted my conversation.

While talking to my friend, a sermon illustration hit me (better than the train hitting me for sure!). The train reminded me of how easy it is for well-meaning (well sometimes) Christians to tackle an issue with such fierce meanness, that they shut down all dialogue about the issue. It's so hard to have a decent dialogue with a freight train coming through the conversation, yet the effect is the same when our passion for a cause manifests itself in shouting and stomping our feet.

Sure, we need to get angry sometimes, but we need to make sure it's at the RIGHT time, toward the RIGHT object, and for the RIGHT reason. Someone once defined true spiritual meekness in just that way. We need to get angry as Jesus did! When He got angry, it usually involved those religious people who got angry at everyone else (i.e. Pharisees). You don't see Jesus "going off on" the women at the well, Zacchaeus the tax cheat, or the woman caught in adultery. Think about that last one! She was guilty, but Jesus' response to the angry religious mob who dumped her at His feet is a wake-up call to many; "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." (John 8:1-11) Sure, He deals with her sin..."go and leave your life of sin," but He is kind to her!

Freight trains are not kind. They aren't usually loving, or joyful, or peaceful, or gentle, etc. (You know, the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22,23.) Finally, just because a person is "right" on a particular subject, does it give him or her the right to be mean? Didn't Paul (under the Spirit's inspiration) write in 1 Cor. 13 that being right (i.e. "can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge") without love still leaves you with nothing? Pretty powerful words!

Do we give into sin? Of course not, but we better make sure we're not being freight trains on the warpath for sawdust in other people's eyes while we've neglected to see the planks of our own sin in our eyes. Love people! That's why we're here! Our Father (Who is really good at it) will show you how!


Anonymous said...

Andy, you did well!!! A teachable moment which you captured in fine style!

Anonymous said...

I came across this blog while searching for the email address for the church. What a wonderful message - and a great reminder to us!