Night-Whisper | BECOME
For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. NKJV
Peer approval is a most terrible thing for it limits unique vocal expression and molds plastic sameness, stiff safeness and silent soundness. The Christian world and all of its fragmented sections are full of peer approval, where righteousness has been replaced with a base and local, culturally Christian respectability. You can feel it, you can touch it, you can clearly identify it, for it is a foul smell, it is an insidious stench of arms-length Gospel separation and Christendom is full of this offensive odor.
I have observed that doctrinal statements, mission statements, statements of practice, articles of incorporation, board accountability, supporter base comforting and keeping, can all act like ‘Chorleywood bread,’ continuing to ferment in the bowels of the eater as they all trumpet their position of protectionism. “Ah now, we have to be careful here because…” Look now, all you readers of Night Whispers, you know how I am thankful for separation and in no way seek any false Shangri-La forces of unity, however, there is a felt and smelt spiritual difference between righteous separation and respectable separation and it is this latter monstrosity that makes me kick and gag.
Righteous separation judges the actions and statements of others. It says, “This is contrary to the clear teachings of Scripture. It is damaging to the truth of the Gospel. It does not glorify God. Therefore we cannot associate with it and therefore do prayerfully and respectfully ask you to reconsider your position and desist from these practices, actions and statements. If not, then because of your continuing erroneous practice and position, I am afraid we cannot be associated with you.” Fair enough.
Respectable separation says, “The way you are doing things is rather embarrassing to us. The manner of your expression we consider to be trite, silly and offensive to our cultural sensitivities. Your approval rating is low, your following is minimal, your shame factor is high, your manner is offensive and frankly, it’s all rather embarrassing. Therefore, for the sake of our own continuing peer credibility, mutual accountability, wise use of donor funds and a thousand other respectable reasons, though we like you, (from a safe distance) we didn’t get where we are today by associating with the likes of you. ‘Goodbye Reggie!’”
Righteous separation protects the truth of the Word and rightly promotes the one true Gospel. Respectable separation promotes self-righteous sectarianism, superfluous standoffishness, and in the so doing, destroys spiritual unity, like minded assistance and healthy propagation and promotion of the truth. Respectability is a pox on the peace of paradise.
I put it to you, that this kind of unholy and self-righteous sectarian respectability will stop you walking the paths of God. I put it to you, that this kind of respectability will foster spiritual separation rather than true spiritual unity. I put it to you, that this kind of respectability, would have sidelined Hosea, banished Amos to street preacher status, put Jeremiah in a pit, left John the Baptist in prison, gagged Agabus, sidelined Paul, put Thomas into Theological college, John in Therapy and made Luke the Pope, just because he was a Doctor! I put it to you, that this kind of respectability, crucified Christ and is from the pit of hell.
I have observed that the Lord Jesus deals with self-righteous respectability in two ways: First of all, He allows all the diseased to gather together and then watches them die the slow death of mutual but suspicious ego stroking. Secondly, He greatly humbles those He would save from the self-curse of cultural respectability, that He might use them.
Once, having been exceptionally prone to peer respectability myself, (many people enter the full time ministry to gain such respectability) I have had to thoroughly investigate how we might evade both the necessary humbling of the Lord and the terrible slow death of mutual sectarian ego stroking? My remedy is simple, “Get over yourself.”
Listen: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men — extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:10-14 NKJV.)
Pray: Father, I would be delivered from this stench. Lord, change my diaper and talcum powder my behind. Father, I would be weaned from this. Lord, grant me the meat of a mature outlook. Father, I would grow in understanding and humility. Lord, humble me under Your mighty hand that I might be both pleasing and useful to You. Amen and let it be so.