But back to the street preacher- I knew the phrase was going to come, so I waited, and sure enough... "The Bible says to judge not!" ughhhhhhh. So at this point I had to jump in. I proceeded to say that while I agreed with them that this guy should not be out there screaming at every person that walks by and calling them whores, I couldn't denounce everything that this guy was saying. I had to set it straight that while the Bible says 'judge not, lest you be judged' you have to actually know the CONTEXT in which it was said in. Yes, it is true that if you are living in a particular sin and you are JUDGING someone who is doing the same thing, then you are a hypocrite. BUT, the Bible says for Christians to use RIGHTEOUS judgment, and I said to the person who had brought it up, "
Man, that sentence struck me. Not because it made me mad that the street preacher had done that, but because I realized that, even before this street preacher came and caused havoc, these girls didn't want anything to do with Christ or Christianity ANYWAY. I realized why people get so emotionally reactive to these guys....because they are JUMPING all over an excuse for why they denounce Christ and His teachings. They are jumping all over the opportunity to point the finger and blame someone else for their sinful lifestyles. One girl said, Sue, I grew up in the church and I believe in the Bible, but that guy just makes me mad and turns me off. But I wanted to say, no you grew up in church and you still have NO concept about the teachings of Christ and you may know some of what the Bible says, but you certainly don't believe it or you would be standing right next to me right now defending the truth with me, but instead, you are too busy being offended because he confronted your lifestyle. I didn't say that because that sounds really harsh, but I mean....what do you say? I didn't know what to say really; I didn't know where to go from there, I really didn't. Because for a second I saw the condition of my teammates. I saw just how confused they were about the truth and just how blind they were in their sins, and it made me sick. And sad. And it made me feel helpless, because I didn't have anything to say right then and there that was going to change their minds. I had shared the gospel with them earlier in the season, so they knew what it was about, but they didn't care. And this was proving it. Man, they didn't care about knowing the truth of the situation, they just wanted to condemn this preacher guy. Gosh, as I type that out, it really is so sad to me. They didn't care PRIOR to this preacher guy, so the issue at hand- as it became clear to me in the locker room- was not the street preacher at all. Instead, it was their hatred for the truth. And THAT is why I walked away from it all feeling so helpless. Only God can open ones eyes to the truth, we can only plant the seeds.
I couldn't help but think about how messed up everyone's view of love is. I mean true love. Most people have no concept whatsoever. And I thought about all the people that go out to the same spot on campus and preach the gospel and how from now on my teammates have lumped all of us into the category of the street preacher (because they have seen me out there before, and they will continue to see me out there in the future). It was such a weird feeling when my teammates were saying all this though, and then I realized why I felt so torn- literally, while they were talking I felt like the insides of me were being ripped out. And I think I know why. I thought about all the guys that I know that head out to turlington plaza (the place on campus where this guy was) and they bring their Bibles and they preach out of the love of their hearts to these students who are their own peers and who they know will mock them. But they do it for the remnant out there that might hear the word and believe, by the grace of God. I thought about how now whenever I go out there with my brothers and sisters and support them and help them, or when I am out there just sharing with people one by one, because I have a bible in my hand and I happen to be walking through turlington plaza, I am now lumped into this category of 'mean street preacher.' It made me so sad, because these are the people that truly love them; love them enough to tell them the truth. But instead they are mocked.
But then I thought about the verse in Galatians 6:7 that says be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap. Seeing the evilness in that locker room today and hearing all the mocking of God's truth really made me sick. I walked away wondering what it is that I could have said or done differently. I truly had felt like such an outsider (most of you are like, duh Susan, you are) but I mean really, I felt so alone at the time because I looked around and everyone else was on the same page but me. But when I racked my brain on why this was so and why I was feeling so helpless, I remembered that on the last day I will no longer be the one that is being ridiculed. But that comfort only lasted for a split second because it reminded me that I didn't want that fate for my teammates. I didn't want them to face judgment having not repented and turned to Jesus. So it brought me right back to where I started...the reason why people put themselves out there and preach the gospel and share truth even when they know they are going to be mocked is because they, too, are caught in the very same predicament as me. They are comforted that what they said may be mocked now, but be not deceived, for God cannot be mocked...but then they are driven with love for the lost and are compelled to share the truth with people even though it may hurt them at the time. Think about it, will the one sinner who heard the message and repented be sorry that you had hurt their feelings? No, they will be so overjoyed that you took the time to share it with them and that, as a result, they were set free from their bondage to sin. To this day I thank the person that spoke truth to me- he was also the one who 'hurt my feelings' the most for the time being-but there isn't a day that goes by that I don't thank God for compelling someone to love me enough to confront my sinfulness. The Bible says that angels rejoice in heaven when one sinner repents. So just because this form of preaching doesn't bring about an alter call in which a hundred people are deemed saved after saying a prayer, doesn't mean that it is unsuccessful or not glorifying to Christ (if done in humility and love).
Um, so, yeah. Street preachers. I love them (the ones out there for the right reason)....I am friends with many of them. But the guy that comes out and calls everyone a whore doesn't help the cause. And yet, I don't know what to think about the whole thing. His message is there but his deliverance is skewed? If anyone has some ideas on how to handle this situation when unsaved people bring this up please feel free to let me know. Because now, I have gotten to the point where I love people too much to just go along with their street preacher bashing. Even if I don't join them, not speaking up about it goes against my conscience because I know they are unfairly lumping all who stand on the street and proclaim the Gospel in love. I am so afraid of letting people think that their message doesn't hold truth and that they are doing a bad thing for getting out there and proclaiming it, because honestly, I don't think it is bad. I'm not Rob Bell who says, "bullhorn guy, I....don't....think...it's....working." No way, because who are we to say it isn't working? God's word will never return void. And think about the prophets of the Old Testament. You think Jeremiah wasn't mocked and talked bad about like this? Man, the people plotted his death, and it wasn't because he was out there preaching about 'asking Jesus into your heart.' No, he was calling out a sinful nation for what they were doing....turning their backs on a holy God and serving the lusts of the flesh...which by the way...leads to death. It is not a pretty message when you think about it for what it really is. But I don't want them to think that I condone them calling everyone a whore. And another thing, if someone goes out to preach and they are doing it in pride or arrogance, I don't see how that can be. The only thing that is keeping a Christian from being enslaved to sin like the world is the mercy and grace of God...and there is no room for pride in that case. And I'm afraid that the when someone is out there screaming at people and calling them every name in the book it is not a fruit of humble lovingkindness, that is for sure.
So there you have it. A street preacher came to UF and my team and probably 99% of the student population was offended by him. Go figure. The law is the schoolmaster, folks. When you preach it, it brings to light the true condition of unreconciled sinners, and well, they aren't going to like it. So if you find yourself being overly offended by one, maybe you should take heed to his message. Just a thought though. But thanks be to God that after the law reveals the condition, we have the remedy in Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross. Don't get so caught up in the first message that you forget the second part. The Gospel is indeed the Good News, announcing freedom from the Law through Christ, and we should be hastily getting that message out to the people.
Again, any thoughts about this are welcomed, as long as you don't have the approach of most when they say that all street preachers are mean and bad and not nice and ahhhhh I can't handle that, so please refrain. I agree that truth should be spoken in love, but that doesn't mean we exclude anything that is offensive to sinners ( I am not talking about the screaming and abuse, that is not only offensive it is just wrong.) I don't write this to sound mean, I just really can't handle the Rob Bell and Rick Warren approach to things, it is sickening. Thanks guys, God bless.