Wow! Today was our second day of class. In class, at this moment, we are only going through some boundries in school, admin stuff and the culture of this great church.
This culture of the church is what is really blowing me away. It feels like my life is x-ray and this culture is the bright light that you put the x-ray against. This culture of honour just opened my eyes to our own culture back home. May I just step on some toes and say it blunt..our back home culture is that of critsism. Maybe you are not like that, for that I honour you and beg of you to be my friend, with the hope that your culture can rub of on me.
With all honesty though, I can say that in my experience, we as South Africans have a very critical mindset about each other.( and I am including myself here!) I am not here to challenge that. I am just here to tell you what I have learned today.
With a mindset of honour I believe that the church will reach the non-believers more quickly. If we understand the gospel, we will know that God has no space in His big mind and His very big heart to be critical on you. He just looks at you and loves on you abundantly, yet we as Christians mostly look at other people, believers and non-believers, and find something wrong with them. We label this act as wisdom or even discipline.
Don’t understand me wrong, in a culture of honour there is enough space for conflict. However, conflict is suppose to lead the one receiving it to a greater place of loving himself and understanding his value more in God’s eyes.In other words, honour always points out the identity that you are in Christ, and through that challenges your fleshly thinking. Conflict in a atmosphere of honour always communicates love verbally or non-verbally. Conflict in a culture of honour bears positive fruit in people.
For example: There was a guy that got convicted of an offense here in Redding. His punishment was a couple of years in prison. Just after his verdict he got to know Jesus. The judge could see that he changed but still had to punish him, so he sent him to prison just for 6 months. The people here at Bethel treated this guy as God’s son and not as the convicted prisoner.Just before he went to prison, they prayed for him and commissioned him to bring Jesus’s love there where he was going. In the six months in prison, more than half of his fellow inmates got to know Jesus. Just because this guy believed who he was in Christ, because the culture of honour communicated that to him.
Honour gives people value and helps them into their destiny.
Another testimony that came out today was of a staff member of this church who has made some morally wrong choices. Instead of making it public and using this person as an example of God’s wrath, they just kept on helping this person and his family. They never removed him from staff, because you just don’t fire family. They walked with him, encouraging him into his identity in Christ. Today he is fully restored, more in love with Jesus and has a great marriage!
This excites me so much. Just imagine a church where all spheres of life feels welcome and valued. This sounds more like Jesus! If you as a person feels valued then you most probably will welcome some straight talk but of you only get the straight talk and never the value it really hurts. I think what most of us must remember is that we belong to Christ and that we must value each other as the most valuable possession that Christ has.
Honour also empowers people. When I went out of ministry, I coached netball to little 7 year olds. Children can be very cruel sometimes, mostly learning this cruelty at home. One of the girls was really bad in catching and throwing. Most of the other children always made fun of her. I guess her defense mechanism to this was to be really naughty and complained about everything. At first I fell into the devil’s trap and was so impatient with her. Then one day the Holy Spirit just whispered in my heart how He felt about her. I started to change towards her and encouraged her into who she really is, After a while the complaining stopped and she stoppped being disruptive in class. When I left, she played for the team!
What a great honour to see how your words can make a big impact in someone else’s life and change it for the better!
My request to all my fellow South Africans is to really start to belief the best of other people and let them know it. Just imagine the possibilities!