My wife came back into the kitchen visibly upset; “those guys are really messing with me!” She explained that a table full of drunken men were hitting on her, saying things about her, and making disparaging remarks about her marriage. We had been married less than a month and had both gotten jobs for the summer at a small restaurant, I was the cook and she the waitress. We were college students and were home on a summer break. That particular night the owner of the restaurant asked if we could hang over past our normal shift to help with the bar crowd, and we agreed.
I had been saved for a little over a year and had come out of a pretty rough background. I was a college football player and was used to a hell raising sort of life. In situations like this (someone messing with my girl) I would have handled with intimidation and/or physical violence. Jesus had obviously been working on my temper but I wasn’t as mature as I am today.
Before I knew what happened I had stormed past my wife (who was probably telling me not to do anything crazy) and was heading out to the area where those drunken creeps were sitting. A zeal had taken over me and I sprang into action. I remember looking at the table full of men as I headed towards them. From their look I realized I must have looked pretty fired up.
I knew I couldn’t just tear into them, because I was following Jesus, but I didn’t know what to do because they had just messed with my bride and I was very fired up about it. Instead of grabbing them I did the only think I could think of short of hitting them, I yelled, and I think it was the Spirit prophesying through me, “WHAT GOD HAS JOINED TOGETHER LET NOT MAN PUT ASUNDER!’
It even caught me by surprise! Wow, I didn’t hit them and I quoted Scripture, pretty cool! Recognizing it was God, I settled down and spoke to them about God’s plan for marriage, our marriage, and what Jesus had done in our lives. Obviously with my actions I had a captive audience (those men as well as the rest of the customers who were looking on expecting a fight). The men ended up being apologetic and I witnessed to them about their need for Jesus.
Second Story Same Zeal
A had a similar experience a little over a year ago. I was listening to a couple talk about all the problems he had with the church (Jesus’ wife). The more I listened to him talk that more I felt that slow burn of anger rising up on the inside of me. You may know the feeling. It was similar to the feeling I had when my wife came in and told me about the guys messing with her.
It’s that feeling when someone is slamming something or someone who is important to you. I get especially upset when someone is slamming someone I love that they don’t know very well or have very little concern for. It is even worse if it is someone whom they should know better.
The couple I had been talking to lived in another state. I had not seen them for several years and was catching up with their life. At one time they were leaders in churches I had been involved with. Now they have been out of church for several years. Some of the problems they expressed were legitimate as they had been in some difficult church situations.
But as they were expressing their disappointment with church, I felt that they crossed over a line. It became more of a bashing session that had no constructive design in it. They kept making points over and over about how the church is failing and not doing her job. They really began expressing this about “all” churches, not just the ones they have been a part of.
As they kept making points about how the church was not doing her job, I began to think of all the people I know who are sacrificing greatly in many areas of church life. These people making their blanket statements about the failure of the church were clueless about others who make sacrifices daily to help the church become all God intended her to be.
These same people I know are also deeply committed to also seeing some of the things my non-churched friends were complaining about. My thoughts were “these people are not lifting a finger to do the very things they are complaining bout. They aren’t even casually involved in a church, let alone serving at any level the way many of my friends are, yet they complain.”
To quote a radio host I have listened to, “This just makes me want to drink battery acid.” People who stand outside the church and fancy themselves experts about all the things churches are not doing, is like a person standing outside of a natural house and throwing stones at it. It is easy to do when you bear no responsibility to sacrifice for her improvement. This isn’t the attitude of Jesus or Paul.
Eph 5:25-27 NASB Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, (26) so that He might sanctify her…
Col 1:24-25 NASB Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions. (25) Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God
Please don’t insult my wife or His, especially if you don’t have enough commitment in you to lift a finger to help.
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