Yes, I Said It

One wrote, “I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day.”  Words to give those who deliver such addresses pause.  All of the clergy klatch have felt the sting of conviction by their own words.  If no one else is brought to painful self-realization by my admonitions, I am, and my brokenness is seen by God if no one else.  It is best if those who exhort are models of such behavior.  I said it is best- not that it is common, at least as common as hoped.  I know of one minister who, at the end of his homily, remdered several stern and convincing missives for every head to be bowed and every eye to be closed.  Being satisfied, he left the podium and knelt at the altar praying until; at length, he resumed his stance and concluded the message.

The human condition limits our actions from meeting our aspirations.  In saying this, I am not excusing imperfection (though it is, indeed, an impossibility), only admitting that we all fall short of our glory, let alone God’s.  Our failures give us lockjaw insomuch as it is hard to decry what we deploy.  Even if we don’t perform the actions we stand against, the sheer fact of peccablility reduces our shouts to whispers of discontent.  Many people feel genuine grief regarding their shortcomings, yet conviction that such failures should not silence their voices.  This is the correct line of thinking.  If weakness disqualifies then nothing will ever be criticized from the least to the greatest criminality.

Culpability is probably seen within parameters.  Most folks will give grace according to their lights.  We are all acquainted enough with grief to accept a level of deviance from divinity.  It is when the general characteristics of a life do not seem to match the conversation of same that doubt is cast.  It is not easy for the concerned to find comfort for weakness and courage to warn, even though they may have a grasp on grace.  The righteous, with difficulty, accept themselves and learn (hopefully) through their own faults to show leniency to others and lean on God.  While we live in a world diluted by sin, it is to be hoped that our personal lives and viewpoints with not be degraded to the point we lose our influence.

I have said it is best when our message matches our methods and motives.  Our lives will give power to our words if we are consistent in our deeds.  The testimony of a person can deal blows as of a hammer if the manner of life is gracious and good.  Perfection being unattainable, all but the most cantankerous will accept direction from the sincere.  While it should not be the goal of any individual to set themselves up as arbiters or judges of righteousness, it should be the goal of each to manifest an upright existence and encourage the same in others.  A part of this encouragement will necessarily be the making of value judgments while seeking to refrain from personal attacks and judgmentalism.

I know the difficulty of propagating the right while feeling less than, but I, also, know the delight of standing in and proclaiming the truth.  It is to be hoped that every believer in Christ will know more of the latter than the former.  Boldness is needed in desperate times, and our age is rife with conflicts on the temporal and eternal planes.  We may be less than stellar examples of the ideal but can still be upholders of God’s cause.  His grace will strengthen our weaknesses if we live in accordance with His design.  We will be able to speak unashamedly if we have confessed our sins unreservedly.  Make no mistake.  Voices for right are needed and, in some quarters, even wanted.  Yes, I said it, I said it, I said it ’cause I can.

Sterl

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