When I was in high school, my dad purchased a franchise for a hamburger place called “Ollie’s Trolley”. He gave me a few hours a week there to earn some spending money.
Not counting babysitting or leaf raking in the fall, it was the first of the many employment opportunities that would merit my career title given to me by Russ as “Queen of Part-time Jobs”.
The manager was in his early twenties and some nights, just prior to closing, he would make up a few extra burgers and fries. No customers meant the excess could be taken home or given to friends of his that came by while we were cleaning up.
It bothered me and seemed like stealing, but at 15 years old, 20-something counts as an adult authority figure and I didn’t like conflict.
So I never said anything to my dad. It was like I had two bosses and one was cheating the other. I didn’t want the manager to be mad at me and I didn’t want my dad mad at the manager.
Recently I have been thinking about the awkward feeling of that short season in my life.
And I think it symbolizes what bothers me when we, as Christians, let our own affections blur the lines of truth.
Our first series for Room for Doubt included a video with a young man who had grown up in the church but as he grew into adulthood he made friends with people of different beliefs and some with no beliefs and he began to question his own faith.
There are so many aspects to this. I certainly would agree that the church IS the place where people of all ages and stages should be allowed to ask questions in a supportive environment where we don’t give glib, pat answers. I also agree that we are called to be Christ’s hands and feet in this world, showing love and mercy to all people.
But I think what makes me squeamish in my spirit lately is when professing Christians ignore God’s truth if it means choosing between God’s truth and offending friends.
So we, who are saved, begin dispensing a grace of humanistic design and sympathy. And that kind of grace is like the young manager handing out food that wasn’t really his to give.
And there is a lot more at stake…(sorry…pun intended…) than hamburgers.
If we really do love people with God’s love, then why would we want anything less than His Salvation for them?
Which, according to His own Words, comes only through Jesus Christ, His Son.
So yes, people should ask questions of the church…and yes, let’s discuss the differences in our faith and beliefs…
But it is, ultimately, the most unloving thing we could do to allow our human affections to override the Word of God.
As painful as it can be to live it out sometimes…your love and mine, no matter how fierce and loyal, will not save anyone.