I have heard it said that chutzpah is illustrated by the man who kills his mother and father and then pleads to the judge to let him off because he is an orphan. In other words, chutzpa is that behavior that knows no self limitation.
This evening a friend sent me a link to a web site which denounced Church A for associating with a man who associates with Group B. The author knows beyond a shadow of doubt that Group B is apostate and therefore Church A must also be apostate because they associate with someone who associates with Group B. I’d give you a link to the web site, but frankly it’s not worth reading.
The author of the web site condemned a whole bunch of people because of who they associate with. There was no indication that those condemned were leading people astray. There was no evidence presented that they were teaching heresy. They were condemned solely on the basis of association.
This reminds me of many of the encounters that Jesus had with the religious purists of his day. They condemned him for hanging out with disreputable people on a regular basis.
I’m not saying that what we believe doesn’t matter. I’m not saying that Scripture isn’t narrow and that the Gospel is not a narrow gate. Yes, Scripture is the truth and any belief that deviates from Scripture should be repented of immediately.
My point is that Jesus, not the self-appointed doctrinal policeman, is the gate-keeper and Jesus will know who is in relationship with him.
Jesus said to the would-be judges of his day, “he who is without sin should cast the first stone.” As I read the judgmental web site this evening, this phrase kept rumbling through my head. Who has the chutzpah to ignore his own sin and condemn someone else? Is that what we are to be about?
Can we stop with the condemnation of others and teach the truth? I know that the author of the web site in question is trying to be helpful. I have every reason to believe that he intends his work to be used to build up the church. Yet to me it seems rather to pull down than to build up.
How much damage does it do to create confusion where it need not be? How harmful is it to call someone’s character into question based on flimsy evidence? It seems to me that these tactics do more harm than good to the body of Christ.
I’ve heard it said that it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. Can we agree to teach the Bible without compromise? Can we strive to preach “Jesus Christ and him crucified”, as the Apostle Paul did?
My brother who wrote the article meant to do well but his words and the seeming emotion behind them hurt me. I was not encouraged, I was not built up, nor was I instructed in the truth of Jesus Christ. I was drug through the mud.
And in spite of this type of stuff, we wonder why the world thinks that the church is useless. Shame on us, we should know better.
Jesus said that the world would recognize us by our love. He did not say that the world would recognize us by our doctrinal purity. Love must be the priority.