But if anyone hates his neighbor and lies in wait for him and attacks him and strikes him fatally so that he dies, and he flees into one of these cities, then the elders of his city shall send and take him from there, and hand him over to the avenger of blood, so that he may die. Your eye shall not pity him, but you shall purge the guilt of innocent blood from Israel, so that it may be well with you. (Deuteronomy 19:11-13)
Let me apply this Scripture by paraphrasing it a bit:
If anyone hates his wife and sets traps for her and attacks her and strikes her so that her health is ruined and over time she sees herself dying, and he runs off to another church, the elders of his first church shall contact the elders of the church to which he has fled and he shall be put out of both churches, handed over to the Lord for the destruction of his flesh. You shall not pity him, but you shall purge your church from him, lest your entire church share in the guilt of innocent blood, so that the Lord will bless you and it might be well with you.
You shall not pity him! To pity him is to keep him in your midst, and in doing so everyone in that church stands guilty before the Lord of the wicked man’s evil! How many churches today are guilty then before the Lord? How many have innocent blood on their hands because they are harboring and enabling the wicked?
Continue reading “Do Not Pity the Wicked – Pity is Their Ploy”
Every Good Friday our church here in Tillamook holds a special service in remembrance of Christ’s death on the cross. We have followed exactly the same format for many years now, ending with everyone departing the sanctuary in silence as a reminder of the grief of that “good” day. Of course it was good in the sense that the work was finished. Christ atoned for our sins and the power of death was taken from the devil. The author of Hebrews puts it this way:
Continue reading “Good Friday: A Remembrance of Our Lord’s Passion on Calvary”
1Ki 18:17-18 When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, “Is it you, you troubler of Israel?” (18) And he answered, “I have not troubled Israel, but you have, and your father’s house, because you have abandoned the commandments of the LORD and followed the Baals.
When I arrived as a new pastor at Christ Reformation Church here in Tillamook (back then it was called Idaville Bible Church), I had a real mess confronting me. What had paraded as a fine, loving, Christian church when I came to candidate as a pastoral applicant, turned out to be anything but. There were a few genuine Christians in the mix, most of whom are still with us. But the majority were unregenerate people who had been assured in years past that they were surely saved and that, after all, Christians are just sinners who we have to be patient with no matter how ornery they might be. Yeah.
There was a lady in the congregation who was a skilled pianist and she had risen to the positions of pianist and choir director. The music minister if you like (though informally). This lady was impossible to work with and she made that plain right from the start. “I don’t go to committee meetings. The music is my area and I don’t need any help.” Boom. In other words, here was a person who was designing a significant part of the worship services but who refused to work together with anyone, including and perhaps especially the pastor.
It wasn’t long before I learned that she was a very nasty person and she had a reputation for that nastiness. Her own adult son took me aside once, trying to get me to “just be patient with her” because, as he said, “we all know that my mother is a bitter person.” It wouldn’t be long before he hated me as well.
Continue reading “How I Learned About Abuse Victims being Blamed Instead of the Abuser”