Person 1: Where are you guys going to church?
Person 2: Church of the Mattress
*mumbled words between the two in which 2 said something about God not taking a roll*
1: Well we are supposed to fellowship with other believers, that's in the Bible.
2: It also says that women aren't supposed to talk in church and they are supposed to cover their heads.
Person 1 looks and me and another women on the other side of the table and says: Did you hear that ladies? You need to cover your head and never speak in church again.
*lady and I look at each other uncomfortably*
Person 2 walks away, down the tables looking at the yard sale items, and Person 1 follows. They talk briefly at the end of the tables and then they each start talking to other people.
Obviously I did not hear the entire conversation, but what I did hear made me sad. This is not how Jesus would want us to treat people. Neither person was right - both acted like children in my opinion. I don't think Person 1 meant anything ugly by the first question and I don't think Person 2 was trying to start anything by answering the way they did. But, as you can tell, things got out of hand and both parties were so incredibly rude, sarcastic, childish, and did not represent Christ in their speech. And both are professing Christians... I saw how one person, with a chip on their shoulder about "church" anyway, and another person, who welcomed an opportunity to argue (and engage in sin when they could have not necessarily "let it slide", but been humble and firm in what the Bible says), stoop so low. This is what happens when we allow our sinful natures to rule in our hearts, even for just a few minutes. People get hurt, people say hateful things about the Church, people vow to never set foot inside another church again, people ruin the image of God (we are called to be Christ-like and when we engage in sin that's what people see and they associate that hatefulness with God - we can not ruin God in any way, but an outsider looking in doesn't know that - all they see is a "so-called Christian" behaving in such a way that "ruins the image of God").
I should have said something, I should have reminded them that we are to build one another up, I should have remembered Ephesians 4 and the reminder that we are to have unity within the body of Christ... I failed today, I sinned. I caused the Holy Spirit to grieve just as much as they did by staying silent. Like I said earlier, my heart hurts. I witnessed an awful conversation and did nothing, absolutely nothing.
What did I learn today? When the Holy Spirit is urging me into action I need to obey. I need remember that I am just as "important" in the body of Christ as anyone else and not be timid. Christ called me to be obedient to Him and not be mindful of others' opinions because their opinions don't matter anyway. I learned that I need to be firm, but loving. I do not agree with what some people believe and think that they've really got their thinking so wrong, but are hate and malice going to get me anywhere with them? Am I going to reflect Christ in arguing with them - no, I will get no where, just like in the conversation I heard today. I will hurt people and they will use that hurt to fuel their anger and hate and frustration against the Church, Christ beloved bride.
I think this problem of silly, petty things is common only to the American church. When TJ was in Egypt those people devoured the Word and strived to live their lives worthy of the calling that has been placed on them. They are only concerned with Christ and His renown. Here, we've decided that we are smart, we have the answers - and that's where Satan attacks us. We have to debate denominations or theology or petty crap to see who's "smarter". I tell TJ all the time that I bet God looks at us, who think we know it all, and just shakes his head and laughs. We are a ridiculous people, debating crap, when folks are dying daily without the hope that God has for us through His Son, Jesus. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life - no man comes to the Father except through Him. Let's stop the silly debate and live our lives worthy of the calling that has been placed on our lives. And by the way, the calling is to glorify God in all that we do and say and also to love others and tell them the Good News.