I’m a sermon junkie. I’m also a live-worship junkie. I get the majority of my favorite content the same way as most of you, from YouTube. While most of my consumption of that content is a very positive experience, the comments section can have a way of grating on my nerves. I’m sure you can relate. I *hope* you can relate, and that aren’t one of the ones that I am currently complaining about.
To put things into context, I just watched a video of a celebrity leading worship with probably the most popular worship band in the world, and the comments section is filled to the brim with judgments completely devoid of any sort of grace. Whether it’s a preacher they disagree with or a secular musician making a heartfelt attempt at worshiping the Lord, the Pharisees will always come out to show their sympathies for the prodigal sons’ older brother, and their favorite verse to pull out of context to sling these deadly accusations at their brothers and sisters is Matthew 7:21, which reads, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
A classic text-grenade. You did it. You just blew him up. Now he’s going to think twice about leading worship ever again, because that’s certainly not what God would have him do. Why would he? He’s not good enough. His lifestyle isn’t as good and upright as yours, so clearly God hates him and has no grace left over for him. Right?
Ok, I probably need to settle down, because the root of the issue isn’t necessarily with the individuals that are blasting these preachers and celebrities. The root, in my opinion, stems from an awful mixture of law and grace that is found in the vast majority of churches across the nation. I believe this disgusting, lukewarm mixture of law and grace is what leads so many believers to praise God for his unending grace in their own lives but then from the other side of their lips come condemnation and judgment.
If you’re one of these Pharisees, then please understand that if the grace you think you have received has not caused you to approach even your enemies with compassion (Luke 23:34), then I challenge you to dig deeper into understanding his incredible grace. It’s for your own sake, but more importantly it’s for the sake of others who are looking to you as a way of connecting with God.