Last Sunday at church as I headed upstairs to the media booth , I looked over and saw what seemed to be a homeless guy sleeping on the couch in the upper foyer. For a minute , a minute I am very ashamed of , a thought crossed my head ; “Why is this guy being allowed to sleep here at church ?” I quickly had to rebuke this thought . Where else should a homeless man be than in the house of God? This whole situation made me question myself .What is the initial impression or thought that crosses my mind when it comes to the placement and position of the broken within the church? It seems today , the agenda is to take in the disenfranchised and broken, as long as they feign the appearance of being put together . The irony in this situation is so sad . We have created a culture where we discourage you to come to a hospital broken but rather hide your wounds or the perception of pain . You can be addicted to porn , but don’t talk about it , because it’s not gauche. You can be struggling with self esteem or your identity , but let’s not be to loud about that . Matter of fact , it’s perceived as not cool to be really loud during worship so make sure you raise your hands and voice only so high . You can talk about Jesus all day at work but don’t bring anyone to church because it will mess up our church flow . I’m not saying these things from a place of judgment of church; I’m not absolved from any of these transgressions. My preaching if anything comes from a place of inward conviction rather than outward condemnation .
In Mark chapter 2 , Jesus has arrived at Capernaum and was in a house, Presumably the house of Peter, speaking . There was a man sick of the palsy that wanted to see Jesus . Being that the house was full , he had his boys take him to the roof , break a hole in it , and lower him in . At the sight of this man, seeing faith expressed , Jesus states ,”Rise your sins are forgiven .” Now I don’t if the transgressions that Jesus spoke of; perhaps Jesus is labeling the sickness itself as sin, but I know that this man’s actions of coming now , coming naked and unashamed brought about healing. The impetus behind such bold action is faith that stretches beyond. Beyond the cares of others, transcends the need to impress, to be in control; The faith that this man and his boys exhibited is one totally focused on the majesty and power of Christ rather than a fear of perception . The belief in the Father was so strong that the need to be in His presence superseded any fear of how he was perceived by others.
The Amplified Bible defines faith as ” The assurance of the things we hope for, being the proof of things we do not see and the conviction of their reality.” The actions described in Hebrews are all driven by a conviction. This was man was so convinced by the providence of the Father, that there was going to be no thought of shame , judgement , conventional processes/ protocol that would withhold from him the healing found in His presence. If we truly are assured in our Father, in his mandate, just imagine the walls that would be broken in church. Our first inclination would not be to judge how people come, how they look , how they worship but rather total focus on being Christ-like and bringing them in however they come. The fear of bringing certain people, or laying ourselves prostrate at His feet in worship would be removed . When you look at the Church from the perspective as a hospital, we are all broken. Our brokenness takes different forms but nevertheless we all fall short of His glory. Our perception of the broken or our boldness to chase after Him lies in our Faith. If we submerse ourselves in a trust in Jesus Christ, fear becomes removed and replaced with an assurance of salvation . Judgement is replaced with compassion and empathy. Faith removes us from staying in an inward-looking place of apprehension and judgement , to an outward-looking looking place of compassion.
My initial reaction to this man sleeping was one borne out of fear not faith. I saw a man who was “ruining” protocol. How this situation would be perceived was more important to me than giving a tired man a place to rest his head. Faith is grounded in a blessed assurance that Jesus is mine. It truly is the conviction of a reality that is not present now, but is sure to come. We judge out of fear. We condemn out of fear , we move hastily from situation to situation out of fear. Faith will have us broken , transparent , operating in love , fearless. For it finds its foundation not in the whims of this broken world , but rather in the warm embrace of a promise from a loving Father. I would encourage all of you to be people of faith. To show thanks to a Merciful father by walking in faith. Exhibiting our belief in the yet-to-be present return by letting His majesty and grace influence our perception and actions on this earth. It doesn’t matter what people think about you and how your perceived as long as your actions are pleasing to the father and are chasing after him.
Happy thanksgiving Fam