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Monday, February 8, 2016

Scalpels, Cleavers, and Grenades


I really should stop giving this thing oxygen, but I can’t help myself. The reason I feel the need to revisit this situation is because I believe it is a teachable moment for everyone including myself, and though some seemingly no longer have need of teaching –  for they have reached the pinnacle of all wisdom and knowledge – I still learn something new pretty much every day of my life.

It’s not that I am a slow learner, but life is infinitely more complex than a soundbite, or a tweet, or heavens forbid a hashtag campaign. As human beings we can do the wrong thing for the right reason, the right thing for the wrong reason, and yes, we can even do the right thing for the right reason but go about it in a very damaging and counterproductive fashion.

Although a black robe might be slimming on a man such as myself I have always found it a dangerous practice to play at being judge, because I’ve seen far too many who have taken to judging others like a fish to water only to wither and slink away when the limelight inevitably turned on them, and they were shown the same level of grace and mercy as they had shown others in the past.

We confuse judging with being judges, I think, and this is where we veer off the path into the land of self-righteousness and spiritual elitism. We are called to judge; we are not called to be judges. When we judge a thing, we weigh the facts and if deception is present, we proceed to excise said deception from the body, but when we play the judge, we pass sentence, condemning someone to eternal damnation without the possibility of repentance, reconciliation, or redemption.

Maybe some folks really do believe that when James writes there is only one lawgiver and judge he was talking about them, but I’ve always been lacking in the self-image department, so I’ll pass on making that sort of claim.

The world needs both butchers and surgeons. It needs men who know how to wield a scalpel, and men how to wield a meat cleaver, but I don’t know if the church necessarily needs both. Butchers dissect dead things. Surgeons do their utmost to remove the offending growth while still keeping the patient alive. What victory can one claim if in getting to the tumor he has sliced through three major arteries and the patient has bled to death?

There are those rare occurrences wherein even a grenade is necessary, but you pull the pin and lob the grenade only after you’ve made certain there will be no collateral damage, no friendly casualties, and no innocents maimed, wounded, or even killed by the action. Anything less is dereliction of duty, and you hear of soldiers being court martialed for maiming or killing innocents even in live combat situations. The fact that it was live combat is not sufficient justification. A soldier is held to the standard of his office, and expected to carry out his duty in a manner befitting said office.

The Word of God calls us to be surgeons not butchers. It calls us to identify the offending member and remove it while keeping the body alive, intact, and causing as little damage as possible so as to allow for the healing and restoration of the body in the shortest amount of time.

As for those of you who took issue with my sarcasm it is a coping mechanism for me. I either turn the valve and let out some pressure once in a while, or I become bitter in my heart, and become of no use to the Kingdom. It is also my way of highlighting the absurdity of some of the arguments we make as believers, and my radio program next Thursday is actually entitled ‘Christians Say the Darndest Things!’

If all it takes is a little sarcasm to offend you unto death, then I fear for you, for the future holds much heartache and tribulation for believers, things much worse than a wee bit of dripping sarcasm. You are in my prayers.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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