I know you’re probably thinking, “I’m really gonna read this post since Matthew used the old word ‘diss’.” I never claimed to be the coolest, most happening guy in the world. Now on to the post.
Over the last few days, I have had tons of past memories come back. I’ve had way too much thinking time since I have only slept a few hours each night. These thoughts included old songs from worship services years ago and other ministry memories. Those memories led me down another road. I was reminded of how I have “dissed” my past. Yes, I have been in circles and experienced things I wish I had not in the church world. In my own pilgrimage through the accompanying emotions, I have made a lot of jokes about my ministry past that offended many people. My goal is never to offend, but I do realize that some people will defend something to the death if they feel that they or something important is being attacked. You have your rights as I do mine. Here are some things I learned through my difficulties for which I will not apologize:
- I am no longer denominationally minded. I affiliated with a particular denomination for many years, but I am nondenominational and kingdom-minded now. The church I attended or serve is not my kingdom. It is a small part of God’s greater kingdom. I will not proclaim that Baptists, Wesleyans, Pentecostals, Presbyterians, or any other denomination have it all together. Each has its issues. My focus will be Christ and helping people know Him.
- I am no longer married to tradition. Tradition is great. We all have them, but they are a means, a vehicle. One may sing all hymns, another sings the latest and greatest, while a third group does both. I am not going to engage in bashing churches or pastors for what they wear or don’t wear, Bible versions, and song selections. Too many people have gotten discouraged by such debates and walked away from the faith. I don’t want that on my hands when I stand before the Lord Jesus.
- I will unapologetically stand for many whom the institutional church has marginalized. While many are hurling stones, I want to be the one whom people say helped them see the love of Jesus and find victory over their sin rather than shame from those who love to condemn.
- I will continue to be honest and authentic in a world where many professing Christians know how to fake the part. I spent too many years trying to conform because it was the thing to do. I am who I am – a sinner saved by grace who still struggles but strives to be like Jesus.
The experiences I had in the past were the means to get me where I am today. Those included toxic working environments, hateful church folks, loving church folks, critics, encouragers, affiliations of which I am proud and some of which I am ashamed. Such is life. It’s time to stop dissing and start accepting.
What thing in your past keeps you bitter? What ministry experience or relationship do you diss in efforts to cope with the pain? These are some serious things to consider. Keep dissing and you’ll bleed all over those who didn’t cut you.