So this past weekend, the Rapture was supposed to happen. As in the return of Jesus. Apparently, it didn't happen. Many people involved with the individual who claimed this return, spent their money and in some cases, their life savings on advertising and trying to "reach the lost." Or at least warn us that they knew something that the rest of us didn't know.
Monday on Facebook, I saw a "counter active" billboard posted that said something like, "Awkward" with a scripture verse stating that none of us knows when Jesus will come back. Basically, this person was saying to those who had warned us all about the rapture, "I got it right & you got it wrong." And apparently those people got it "so wrong" that the whole world knows about it. I even heard secular sports talk radio mocking their predictions...
This past year, a Christian came out with a book about a popular topic. The topic of heaven & hell & the after life and what that might look like. This topic would be popular in a religious context or in a non-religious context. This Christian was rebuked, slandered and "black balled" from many Christian societies.
Interesting. Two individuals who claim to follow Christ. Two "campaigns" extremely opposed and "condemned" by many Christian societies. We have mocked them. We have ridiculed their statements and predictions and in some instances, condemned one of them to hell!
Huh. I don't remember Jesus ever doing this? I remember a time when a woman had been caught in the act of adultery and was dragged in front of Jesus. They all stood around her in a circle with rocks in their hands; ready to stone her. Jesus said not to. They were in essence saying, "Look Jesus, we are better than her! We don't have any problems or issues. We are perfect." They didn't exactly say that; but by their actions they were saying it.
The prophet Isaiah made this statements, "We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags..." Not our sin, but our righteousness is like filthy rags. Those things we use to brag about and build up our walks with God. Our consistent prayer lives and quiet times; our offerings, our service to the homeless, church attendance, etc. They are all righteous things; but when we use them to put others down and lift ourselves up - they are filthy rags. From the research I've examined, the translation of "fifthly rags" is the equivalent to "dirty [used] tampons." Enough said. I don't need to elaborate. So when I come to God and reflect to Him and society how this person or that person is off in their theology or their interpretation of God and then go on to condemn them to hell; in THAT moment, all my righteous deeds, are pretty much just like dirty used tampons - disgusting and good for nothing but to be thrown in the trash.
Trust me, I am the first in line to claim that in the words of Paul, "I am the chief of all sinners....and the least of the apostles." But these recent current events in our world, have caused me to examine my heart. How often do I stand in my secret prayer closet of my heart and proclaim like the man in one of Jesus' stories, "...I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don't cheat, I don't sin, and I don't commit adultery. I'm certainly not like that tax collector!"
Does any of this mean that we turn an eye to sin or wickedness or false prophecy, etc. No, it just means that we don't pick up and cast the first stone. We may need to be like Jesus was to the woman caught in adultery: Yes, you committed adultery. But I don't condemn you. I forgive you. Go and don't sin any more in this area.
Can you; can I; drop our stones and reach down and pull up those who get it wrong? Those who misinterpret what it looks like to follow Jesus and lead them after Him with love and not judgement and condemnation?