We can often feel that if we could just get our unsaved friends and family into a church, everything would be ok. Our responsibility would be over; we’d have done our part. Is this true? Could this be God’s ultimate plan? Is our only role to make the unsaved a churchgoer? The answer, I am finding, is not so much.
Unsaved and Bitter
I have a friend who suffers from extreme bitterness. It is painful to me because it is hurting them. A bitter person is a miserable person, not just an unpleasant person to be around. My friend can sport a good façade, but when they get comfortable or riled up, their bitterness squirts out. And it’s never a clean spew because it’s bitterness. Unforgiveness is simply defiling and infectious. It doesn’t shoot in a steady stream, it sprays like a shotgun. Like pride, bitterness tempts others to indulge and explore their own bitterness in its presence.
With this in mind, is my responsibility in my bitter friend’s life just to get them into a church? Is that my only duty, to cajole them into a church like meat parts into sausage casing? This is not what God is telling me today. Though it would appear to be easier for me, I don’t think I get the opportunity to just dump the unsaved into a church, like some recycling station. I am in the priesthood of God and I have more culpability then that.
Unsaved Friends and Family and Church
This is a very costly position, but to flee away and pass my responsibilities off on to another is to rob Christ and myself. I don’t get to say, “Hey, can YOU fix this one so I can come back and pick them up when they’re all clean?” No, church is not a dumping station for wayward toys. I am church!
Wouldn’t it be selfish if I just dumped my problems off on an unexpecting local pastor? But ask a local pastor if that is not what they find. Most prefer a quick fix if possible or at least having it fixed for them. While I shirk my part in this story, here is another thing I would be dumping on those pastors: my blessing and my seeing of Christ. I’ve not been called to cut bait and run. I am to follow the Spirit in my life and allow His Life to manifest through me.
I was tempted to begin to limit my involvement with this bitter friend until Christ said, “Is that My Will?” Ouch! I can’t treat the unsaved like a goldfish, just plunking them into a bowl and occasionally sprinkling food (prayers) on them. I am a disciple and The Disciple-maker gets to choose the path of my life because I am His disciple.
* Martha’s newest book, The Mystery of Discipleship, is a 91-day epic voyage as a disciple. Why is it EPIC? Because it will be the ride of your life! The disciple’s adventure is unlike anything you would’ve encountered and beyond your wildest dreams. It is the fulfillment of your design and the realization of your purpose. Epic is the only word that can describe this holy path. Look for this devotional book in August, directly after the Shulamite conference.