This past Sunday, we had an experience at our church some of you may have seen at your church as well. We had a prophet of gloom and doom, along with a sign carrying sidekick, stationed at our parking lot entrance, preaching to our members and visitors leaving our first service and those arriving for the second to repent. When personally confronted by some of our members, the “prophet” hinted that he also took exception to the message I had written for our church marquee which read: “So what if you’ve lost a round or two? In Christ, you’re going to win this fight.”
I can understand how some hard line believers can mistakenly interpret the message to suggest that our church doesn’t take a stand against sin, but I wrote it with the purpose of encouraging those in the family of God who have suffered a spiritual mishap or two, reminding them that ours is a God who forgives and restores, One in whom we will eventually be victorious. If the street prophet took offense to that, it is apparent that he preaches a condemning, “you better get right or else” message. Long before Jesus came into the world and the message of grace through Him was introduced, David had written this about God: “He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities.” (Psalm 103:10) People, if God disowned us every time we sin, none of us would stand a chance, including that street preacher. Psalm 130:3 reads: “If you, Lord, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand?
One more thing: On Sunday night, one of our members asked me “Why did we not take the preacher and his assistant some bottled water to drink? It was hot out there.” Upon hearing that, I asked myself “Why did I not think of that?” In such cases, our first impulse is to retaliate in kind. That’s all part of being human. As God’s children, however, we have a greater force within us, the Holy Spirit Himself. When we let Him direct us, we react as Christ would react. To be sure, the love and kindness approach will not always work on everybody but the Bible says: “Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” (Romans 12:20) As I stated before, this method won’t work on everybody but its worth a try before we have to go to plan B. And if we should be revisited by this same street prophet and his friend, and you happen to pass by, resist the temptation to lash out. Smile and be friendly instead, but don’t engage in conversation with him. To try to reason with folks like him is virtually impossible. One last thing: someone asked: “Who sent him?” The answer is pretty obvious, don’t you think? Clue: It wasn’t God.
God’s word for today: (Romans 12:18) “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”