Thursday, July 23, 2009

Paying the Price

The simplest definition of repentance is change. And its simplest application means growing up. The Apostle Paul said it this way, "When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me."
1 Corinthians 13:11

Most religious groups place a high value on the term repentance but often relegate it to moral types of sins. But what about a wrong understanding of God and His ways? We need to obviously grow up, change/repent, in order to come to a right understanding.

Now here’s the rub with this maturing process. What if you end up seeing differently than the group that you belong to and that so wanted you to change? I’m not even saying that you’re right and they are wrong. I’m talking about being true to your own conscience at that particular point in time.

You discover what you think is a significant truth but it doesn't fit the group you are in. Who do you share this “revelation” with? The catch 22 in this scenario is that you could very well be ostracized for going against the status quo if you are honest about what you think. BTW: This has happened countless times over the years with people leaving to form new groups only to end up ostracizing a new person who disagrees with their "new" perspective. Nobody questions that maybe belonging to a group isn't what Jesus had in mind for His church.

You read scriptures like "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
John 13:34,35

You already know that in our society that our "love for one another" is not exactly causing anyone to take notice, at least not in a positive way.

And you know from watching what happens to others that if you speak up, you will not be accepted. If you leave, you will be seen as rebellious or bitter and if you stay you will violate your own conscience.

Each week you hear a sermon that requires some form of change and you come to realize that exploring anything outside of the status quo is a very costly matter and repentance is really just code for fitting in with the group.

The Pharisees put such a high value on their group’s interpretation of being right (their identity) that when they saw Lazarus raised from the dead, they conspired to kill Jesus. They were notorious for expecting everyone around them to change, yet when confronted with their own need to repent, they chose murder instead. (Shunning is the acceptable method in our day.)

"What are we accomplishing?" they asked. "Here is this man performing many miraculous signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation."
John 11:47,48

Ahhh, the cost of "belonging" and the cost of "change". Make no mistake about this, you will pay for one or the other.

No comments: