Pettiness and Persecution
June 5, 2013 by Open Doors in Stories of Persecution
Confession: I am a pastor’s kid.
My dad has been a pastor for over 30 years and many of my childhood memories are associated with the church.
I remember the feeling of pure childhood bliss while playing tag with my friends on the lawn in front of our church. Likewise, I have memories of being bored out of my mind waiting for my father as he counseled someone after church.
Growing up in the church I saw a lot- I saw people who genuinely loved the Lord and served him in quiet and humble ways. On the other side, I saw people who were showy and seemed to have their own agenda. My sister and I used to joke that we should open up our own ‘discernment’ consulting firm for pastors after all that we had observed.
Even after growing up as a ‘P.K.’ and seeing all that I did, I still have a love for the church. The Bride of Christ has done a lot of good. If I am honest though, there is one thing that continues to bother me: pettiness.
Here in a country where we are not persecuted, it seems like we replace persecution with pettiness and drama. I have observed church splits over minute and eternally insignificant matters. I have seen people so caught up on certain theological stances that they cannot commune with a believer who does not share their exact theological beliefs. Additionally, being relevant has been hailed as one of the most important things in our Western churches.
In their book Privilege of Persecution, Dr. Carl Moeller and Pastor Dave Hegg talk about this:
“While there may be things in the gospel that we do not understand or that make us a little uncomfortable at times, it shouldn’t mean that we can no longer trust God to be there, or for the gospel to adequately change lives. And none of these issues or questions should ever mean that we should stop preaching the gospel. The persecuted church has been given no alternative than to trust God and they do. They don’t have high tech, or great buildings, or the best music. They have God’s word and nothing else, so they learn to trust God…and each other.”
What an amazing parallel! What if we set aside out pettiness, our drama and our ‘relevant’ technology to focus on God’s word alone? Persecution brings faith and trust- something I think we need more of in our churches.
What do you think? Do you think pettiness exists in the western church? Do you think persecution would alleviate this? Why or why not?