Updated: Jul 14, 2020
I'm seeing a lot of ridicule and mockery against the body of Christ due to our reckless, rebellious and senseless behavior - most recently regarding COVID 19. Pastors around the country are defiantly rebelling against the government by holding church services and disregarding the mandate to remain physically distant.
Today we learned of a pastor who publicly rebelled against not holding service, has died from the virus. I LOL' d upon hearing this story. I know that's wrong, but my morbid humor was developed by reruns of Wylie Coyote and The Roadrunner. Every time the Coyote died for being defiantly stupid, I laughed. It was hilarious. #Sorry. I know this is insensitive to the people that lost a loved one. I recognize this. And for those who feel discouraged or melancholy regarding his death, the Bible promises that God is near to the brokenhearted. His death, however, is a lightning rod to a topic that is currently trending regarding the Church, and I am compelled to write about it.
Upon reading about his death, I thought about the body of Christ as a whole - We honestly look like a bunch of clowns to ourselves and to the world. Most of it is our fault due to our rebellion and defiance against social justice issues and people in general.
Now, I want to be very careful and acknowledge that there is a difference between being ridiculed for what's right and being ridiculed for what's wrong. In my opinion, much of our mockery stems from being on the wrong side of social justice, and the cancer of hypocrisy that is rooted down deep into the bones of the Body of Christ. Conversely, there are a considerable amount of Christians who are holding fast to the tenets of their faith and who are taking major L's in the world, yet are storing up major treasure in heaven in glory to God. But is this an accurate assessment of the Church? And more importantly, does the Bible distinguish between being ridiculed for right and wrong?
It's important to remember that regardless of ridicule coming as a result of right or wrong decisions our identity as God's children is eternal. God's blood is eternally stamped on us. It's impossible to disgrace our way out of being a part of the Royal family of God.
When I laughed at the Bishop's death, I had a series of thoughts that lead me to several scriptures regarding being ridiculed for our faith.
1 Corinthians 4:9,
"For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all,
as men condemned to death; because we have become
a spectacle to the world, both to angels and men.
Paul described himself and the Apostles as having great humility, faith and authority; and yet they were treated like the scum of the earth by the arrogant church at Corinth--Like criminals being made a spectacle of ridicule as they march toward their execution.
Notwithstanding the smart choice that so many Christian leaders have made to obey physical distancing and avoid getting sick--For this is just and right under God to obey the laws of the land and to not be reckless in behavior--In parallel with Paul's description in 1 Corinthians 4:9, the Bishop was made to be a spectacle of ridicule for his defiance against a government ordinance for the sake of the Gospel of Christ. Three weeks after, he died a death that seemed so avoidable - Just like the death of a man who is ridiculed for being a spectacle and being condemned to death because of it, as in 1 Corinthians 4:9.
I'm not in agreement with the Bishop for disobeying the government order. I'm just highlighting the parallels of his story with scripture. Was it right that he risked the health of his congregation for his convictions? I think it's safe to say, no. Nevertheless, I'm sure those members were free to make their minds to attend or not attend church. They risked themselves. Yet, they did it all for the sake of Christ. In the book of Colossians 3:17 is says, "And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. It would seem that Bishop and his congregation were and are confident in God's word. How can we, the body of Christ, ridicule and judge a decision as wrong, if it was done in a genuine faith?
Why are we so linear in our perspective, that we are unable to recognize the layers of sin, righteousness, ignorance, and God's providence in a person's story?
I believe God is sovereign and He is so overarching that He doesn't address a Christians failure in the end. Before Christ, our story began at birth; after Christ, our story begins and ends in Him. In the end, God addresses Christ in your life or the lack thereof. God will use every layer of us for His glory.
The writer of Hebrews also wrote about being publicly ridiculed.
Hebrews 10: 32-34
"Remember the early days that you were in the light,
when you endured a great conflict in the face of suffering.
Sometimes you were publicly exposed to ridicule
and persecution; at other times you were partners
with those who were so treated.
You sympathized with those in prison and
joyfully accepted the seizure of your property,
knowing that you yourselves had a better
and permanent possession.
The writer of Hebrews addressed a rebellious community of believers urging them to persevere in their faith - to remember their pure hearts at the beginning of their faith. They associated themselves with the drudges of society and possibly broke the law resulting in the forcible seizure of their property and for others, the imprisonment of themselves. For some, at the beginning of their faith, their suffering didn't matter because they were filled with the Holy Spirit. Suffering and the gloom of death didn't phase them. This was the kind of faith the writer wanted them to revert to.
The book of Hebrews is a vivid picture that relates to today's Church members. We suffer so much due to fighting amongst ourselves, hypocrisy, and rebellion against the law. We suffer so much that the world is laughing at us right now. We are a joke at the macro level. We are trapped within rebellion and hypocrisy.
During my short study of this topic I noticed the word, seizure. I wondered why the word was referenced in my Bible. I did a little digging and Hebrews 10:34 is a reference for Revelations 4:1-11 that talks about the Lord seizing the body of Christ at the rapture. It's a word that means robbery or to take forcefully.
When I think about the body of Christ, I think about how by our namesake we are a joke to the world. On top of that, every one of us are held captive in some area of sin that makes us weak and rebellious. This makes us even more laughable when our sin or failure is on display and we proclaim the Mind of Christ, victory and/or the Gospel over a circumstance that is an obvious loss in the world. When I think about these things, I resolve to what's coming; just like Paul did when he described in 1 Corinthians, being lead away like convicted criminals in the eyes of a world that laughs at us.
Ultimately, Christ will come like a thief in the night and rob the enemy of everything he has stolen from Christ - i.e. us. He will seize his body and every member who has His stamp upon them. And guess who will have the last laugh, the glorified idiots whom Christ died for.