Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Are there stones in that, "Amen"?

Have you ever sat in church and heard someone shout out, "Amen"? Well, I'm one of those amen folks. I seem to say it all the time when I hear something wonderful or poignant, or just meaningful. You know, something that touches your soul. I love hearing, "Amen". It's not only saying you agree, but more so that the Holy Spirit is moving in our heart.

I say it in my car, at Walmart standing in the aisle, at home and at church. I suppose I'm not really that quiet girl everyone thinks I am. At times I should probably be more quiet. I seem to say what others are thinking. I just don't feel the need to hide it. But there are those times I need to bite my tongue and those in which I need to speak a little louder. Finding our voice is important in finding who we are in Christ. Our voice is important.

Funny thing about those amens we shout or quietly add. If the subject of the sin is homosexuality  our amens get hearty. Divorce, they are just as loud. Throw in all those, "big sins", and we can all say, "Amen", but what happens with those sins that are hushed? You know them, just as well as me.

The backbiting, the gossip, the betrayal of friendship, the pious one sitting in the pew, thinking they are the super Christian. The sin of simply wanting to be seen. The big head. Those who know of needs and never add a hand. Those who we never walk across the pews to greet because they have offended us. Not encouraging people in the ministry because of jealousy. Not wanting to sit next to someone because they are of different color or maybe they just don't appear friendly. Assuming, judging, and most importantly, the looks we give others. Oh, there may not be words spoken, but a look can say a thousand words.

It seems when these subjects are spoken about there is a great hush. No one wants to admit them. So, here we go. I have been there in each of these circumstances. Guilty as charged! It's easy to say, "Amen", to a comment spoken about a HUGE sin, but what about those no one really speaks about?

Are you ready? There are no HUGE or little sins. Sin is sin and here's the kicker. We are ALL sinners. We cannot be more of a Christian than another person. We can't out do Christ. That sin we think we would never do. Never say never. I have learned that the hard way. We point our fingers at others and think we know so much, when in reality we don't know much at all. Why are we so eager to want to charge others? Shouldn't we be looking inside our own heart? Doesn't change begin within? It doesn't begin from the other side of the pew. We actually have to reach in our own heart first and admit that we are a sinner. Once then, well, the world looks different. At the foot of the cross we are all sinners in need of grace.

Inside that amen is there grace? Is mercy flowing? Is there compassion and forgiveness? I can't help but wonder how God reacts to those amens of mine. There's hope for me yet. I am a work in progress.

We shout, "Amen", against drinking and smoking. But what about over eating and chew that is found in the cheek? We say our hearty, "Amen", about music and movies, but what plays in our car and where do we find ourselves on Friday night?

We find murder at the top of the list, but what about that anger harboring in our hearts? Why do we seem to tear one another down instead of encouraging one another in the Word with God's love? We do this all the time to each other. Where is the love we speak about?

We all have those pet sins. We take sin and place it on a measuring stick. Well now, that a number 5 and that's closer to a 10. Goodness, we measure ourselves against others. We measure ourselves against this world. The only thing we should be measuring ourselves against is the Word of God. But if not for the grace of God, there go I.

Let's stop measuring one another. In fact, let's stop saying, "YOU" and begin saying, "Me". I have found I can reach the youth I teach more by simply sharing the Word of God and sharing my heart, instead of saying, "You should or you shouldn't". Might we be bold enough to share our own story of pain from sin? Might we be bold enough to share the consequences of the choices we have made? Even more, may we be humble enough to show how the grace of God has changed our lives for the better. Now, there is something to, "Amen!"

"For everyone has sinned; we fall short of God's glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when He freed us from the penalty for our sins."
Romans 3:23-24

"We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has give us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love."
Romans 5:3-5

"For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Romans 6:23

"Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on Him. For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."
Romans 10:12-13

"For the commandments say, "You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not covet." These and other such commandments are summed up in this one commandment: "Love your neighbor as yourself." Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God's law."
Romans 13:9-10

"Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God. So lets stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall."
Romans 14:12-13


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