It's difficult to wrap our heads around the idea of letting God be God while we obey and follow Him. So, what does that mean exactly? We as Christians have tried to place upon ourselves the role of “Judge, Jury, and Executioner.” You know what I mean?! We love to tell people when they are wrong. Pointing out others' sin seems to be a delicacy that “Christians” eat up at every opportunity. Adding to that joy is the advice we give of how to "get right" in those sinful situations as well. We love to do the work of the Holy Spirit. However, it appears that Jesus has something else in mind when John quotes the following in his gospel.
When He comes, He will convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment: About sin, because they do not believe in Me; and about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will no longer see Me; and about judgment, because the ruler of the world has been judged. (John 16:8-11)
We tend to think that when Jesus spoke these words, he's saying that we might be the tools that He uses to do the convicting. We arrogantly feel that we can employee the office of the Holy Spirit and convict those around us. In an Old Testament theology, we may've had a valid argument; the veil was up and only a few had the ability to come and convene with the Spirit of God. However, when Jesus tore the veil in his death, something changed. In this passage, I believe that He was speaking of the individual’s relationship with the Holy Spirit.
These words written in John were spoken
to His disciples
about the Holy Spirit’s role in our lives.
However, I see many people taking this as their role in others’ lives. You see, I believe that Jesus called us to be missionaries. In Matthew 28, Jesus told us to go, teaching and baptizing in the effort to make disciples. Regretfully, we have decided to be the one who also convicts non-believers. The idea is that we can guilt or even scare them into believing in Jesus. Now, we all know that this is not what Jesus had in mind when he gave us the call to go, to tell, and to love.
When non-Christians see Christians trying to place blame on others, this places a lot of negativity on the Christian culture. However, I don’t blame today’s Christian culture completely. We may not know any better. If our knowledge is only based on what we've been taught, and we never pursue a relationship with God and strive to understand His knowledge on our own, then maybe we should carry the blame. Today’s cultural understanding of the Bible has merely been passed down from one generation to another. Along the way, some people step out of that sphere of "hand-me-down knowledge" and question it. Sometimes, it's a good thing to distinguish between what man has adapted as interpreted truth and what is really the truth. I don’t believe all those who have come before me are wrong. There are a lot of really smart men, much smarter than I, who have done a wonderful and exemplary job in the field of theology. Without a doubt, these men have provided us with a wealth of knowledge to grow. However, some have gotten it completely wrong as well.
I may be wrong as well.
And you know what?
That is perfectly okay.
The last time I checked, the truth is the person and work of Jesus! We are not. I don't think that any one man has a complete knowledge of the Bible, knows exactly what God is trying to tell us, and what it all means. How many times have you realized that you interpreted a passage incorrectly? I absolutely have had bad interpretations. Sometimes, it's okay to disagree on matters in the Bible as long as we do not disagree with the core items: there is only one God in a triune form, Jesus is the only way to the Father through His death, and (more importantly) His resurrection. God sent Jesus and they both send the Holy Spirit to live within us.
As Jesus said, the Holy Spirit’s job is to convict.
It is not our place to convict others of their sin.
So, in saying all of that, ForgettingWalls is about one main focus. We exist to present Jesus to people and show His redeeming love. We do this in the most loving way we can without letting ourselves get in the way of God doing His work. We know that if a person comes to a true decision without being forced (no person truly comes to the decision of Jesus by the point of the sword) and follows Jesus as the Christ, then God will, through the Holy Spirit and His Church, convict us of our sin and turn us toward repentance. However, this only happens through Jesus and not us.
So think about this:
Let's say we meet a person who does not believe in Jesus and they have a lifestyle that we may not agree with. What would happen if we would just love them, build relationship with them, show Jesus not just through words but also in actions, and allow the Holy Spirit to change that person without condemning or casting judgment upon them? I could go on and on. However, I think that this is a good start to open the door of conversation to see how we can keep ourselves from rebuilding the walls that Jesus has torn down.
ForgettingWalls is about recognizing that there is a rift between Christian culture and the world outside of the traditional "church." And we're aiming to minister to those on both sides of the "wall," because it was torn down through Christ.
I hope that you will join us on this journey to where ever it leads us!