Since sharing Tyler’s experience of being ordered out of church, a lot of people have asked, “Please, tell me that man apologized?!”
Here is the thing – It shouldn’t matter. We are asked to forgive before the apology. We are told not to fight with flesh & blood. We are reminded that the battle is not ours.
Like I told Tyler, that day – this does NOT define you or who you are in Christ!
. . . Your response can be one of three things:
- you can allow devil to use you just as that man did.
- you can choose to respond in your own flesh – irrationally & out of instinct rather than instruction – sabotaging the situation before the devil even has time to tempt you.
- OR you can choose to respond in Christ, trusting He will use what the devil meant to hurt you for your good
You see this isn’t an excuse or a Christian way of letting that man off the hook. This is fact. The Bible is clear about the importance of self-control & warns us of the devil’s schemes. It was the man who physically appeared to send my son out of church, but in the spiritual realm it was the one who was in him that attacked my son. That man, he was only being used. I’ve thought about this a lot & despite my infuriation (with that man), I realized I am not much different than him. I constantly act out of emotion rather Spirit every.single.day. at some point (or at least most days). I also continue to allow the devil to use me more often than I care to admit. And shamefully, my response is typically the first two choices before the last.
Like most of you, my initial anger was with that man personally. I told you, I wanted to eat him for lunch. Did I mention my personality type is that most like a lion. Which means I can be aggressive, demanding, take charge, overbearing, unyielding, cold blooded, impulsive, insensitive, stubborn, & unyielding. Yes, little ol’ me. Have you seen the Shakespeare quote, “She may be little but she is fierce”? That would be me. But then I realized who it was who really attacked my son. I had no right to judge that man in his weakness, but I had every right to be upset with the devil. Once I realized who the battle was with, I realized Who had to fight it. Not me!
You see, I had all the same questions & concerns as most of you –
That man, did not know my son. He had no knowledge of his story or what he had been through. And he was certainly not preview to my sons relationship with the Lord. *Thank God – Tyler is saved, has a strong faith, & wonderful relationship with God.
Pause right there – I said STRONG.
When God tells us throughout His Word to be STRONG – what does that mean? Physical strength? I don’t think so. I believe He is encouraging us to have SPIRITUAL strength. Because there is a devil who prowls around, seeking to devour us – who may attack us physically, but his true desire is to kill us spiritually. More so, He tells us where to find our strength – IN HIM. When we are weak (in ourselves) – HE is strong. In order not to respond out of flesh, or allow the devil to use us – WE MUST ALLOW GOD TO BE OUR STRENGTH. Because His word does not tell us “incase” we are attacked, but when we are.
So, Tiffany, what if Tyler wasn’t saved? What if he was a boy strung out on drugs, coming to church for the first time? What if he was a boy visiting with a friend who was misbehaving because he didn’t have any parents to teach him how to respect the Lord’s house? What if . . . Yes, I thought about all those things too. And since sharing this story, more than one person has shared a similar experiences with me. But it all still boils down to one thing – We have a choice. We can choose to allow a person or situation to dictate us or we can allow God to.
Which brings me to my next issue – Who was he to send my son out of church? What authority gave him the power to do such a thing? Simple answer – He had no authority. And he only had the power we chose to give him.
One thing I have learned is that before I can call anyone else’s attention to their sin, I must first address my own. It was not my place to judge that man. It isn’t yours either. That is only for God. You see, people leave the church for numerous reasons, but more often than not, it is because another believer hurt them. I have met so many anti-Christ who are really just anti-Christians because someone who stood in a church proclaiming the word of God on Sunday, yet Mon-Sat was doing the complete opposite. Hypocrite is the first word that most people associate with Christian. That is sad, yet we have done it to ourselves. It sickens me, it saddens me, it convicts me. Who was he to throw my son out of church? But the bigger question is, WHO AM I to judge him? How is attacking him for his sin justifiable, when I have a bag full of my own? For months I have sat & observed a relative’s Facebook page who is an atheist. I see the posts she shares & it grieves me because the “Christians” she is advertising aren’t at all a group of believers that I want to be associated with. Our pastor recently said, “When I get to Heaven God isn’t going to ask me what the other guy did. He is going to ask me what I did.” Like I said in my last post, there is a lesson for each of us in this situation. If, when, or how God convicts that man of his sin is not up to me – what my choice is – is how I respond to the situation. I could have raised hell (I thought about it), I could have left the church, & I could have completely slandered that man, but what does that say to others about who I am? Justified is not an excuse. As “Christians” we are called to do hard things. We are called to be lights to the dark world, to glow in the dark = not blend in. Loosing it on that man would not have made us any different. There was a bigger picture, an unseen test in this situation & from experience, I wanted to get it the first time around so I didn’t have to keep circling this bad boy. And most importantly, leading my son in the right direction – towards the Lord!!!
It was a very long week waiting for our pastor to return to further address this. But in that week I realized it was not my fight. And when I stepped back & allowed God to fight – You are NOT going to believe what He did!!
NEXT – “The Day He Better Not EVER Forget”