Monday, April 6, 2009

A System of Guilt

It has been a while since I pulled out an Eldredge newsletter, but this reached back in the archive to retrieve this nugget regard shame in church. I recommend everyone signing up for these (www.ransomedheart.com/myprofile). They have some great wisdom. Enjoy.



Ransomed Heart

A System of Guilt
09/28/2008

God speaks to Israel through the prophet Isaiah when she is surrounded by enemies and making every effort to appease them through diplomacy, gifts, treaties, and bribes, and says this to her:

“You went to Molech with olive oil
and increased your perfumes.
You sent your ambassadors far away;
you descended to the grave itself!
You were wearied by all your ways,
but you would not say, ‘It is hopeless.’
You found renewal of your strength,
and so you did not faint” (Isa. 57:9–10).
God calls Israel to repent by admitting her weariness and fainting. Instead, she looks for ways to use her personal assets to redeem herself. Jesus spoke to the people about rest and thirst. The Pharisees demanded that they obey a constantly growing weight of religious laws and traditions, and chastised them for staggering under the load. They led people in the exact opposite direction from where their salvation lay—in admitting their weariness and fainting. As long as they hoped in their self-sufficiency, they would not call out to God and receive forgiveness, healing, and restoration.

So many of our contemporary churches operate on this same system of guilt. When our people are crying out for communion and rest, we ask them to teach another Sunday school class. When they falter under the load, we admonish them with Scriptures on serving others. One wonders what would happen if all activity motivated by this type of guilt were to cease for six months. Much of organized Christianity would collapse even as the Pharisees saw happen to their own religious system. As Jesus talked about thirst and rest, he brought people to the reality of their own heart.

No comments: