By the providence of my heavenly Father I have been given a day for reflection this Sabbath. As I look outside my window the rain is streaming down in torrents; a fitting symbol to mark the fourth year since I was removed from my beloved church for my love for the begotten Son.
I am transported back to that night and I remember well looking into the night sky just as I was leaving for that meeting and saw the moon broad and full. The scenes of that night pass before me and as I reflect I am monitoring my heart. Is there any tightness in the chest? Are there any moments that cause irritation and possibly anger at the injustice?
This was my greatest concern. What would be the benefit in giving my life in open confession to the Son of God only to be engulfed in bitterness at the treatment I received for that effort? Truly the gate is narrow. Any seeds of bitterness undetected will likely grow into a spirit of defiance, aggression and rebellion. Whether in passive mode or in direct attack, the desire to prove others wrong and expose their folly finds it motivation in the bitterness of rejection and abuse.
It is a sad thing to contemplate that many Adventists who find the begotten Son will not find their way through the narrow gate of peace and tranquillity into the arms of the Prince of peace. Why? It is an inability to forgive those who have hurt us. This is the great test. This was the most important thought in my mind. The words “Father forgive them” must be repeated in every believer who is called to sacrifice their position in the church for the begotten Son. We must scan our hearts carefully and ensure there is no unforgiveness residing there.
I see the faces of those who voted me out. I question myself; do you love them? Do you desire only good for them? Then I consider who it was that was being voted out of the church. I represented the begotten Son of Scripture. It was my confession of Him that caused this despising and rejecting by those around me. I tremble at that thought. My brethren have treated the begotten Son with contempt and cast him from the synagogue thinking they are doing the will of God. If these deeds remain unconfessed they will fall like great iron weights upon their souls and crush out their hopes of eternal life.
Lord Jesus I ask you to forgive them. I feel your love for them in my heart. I don’t want any of them to be lost. I want them all to be saved and spared this crushing guilt of rejecting you through my testimony. How I pray that you will help them to awake to the reality of what has transpired. If only they could know the peace I experienced that night in the face of their charges against me.
I recall with sadness the times over the past four years where self has been manifested. Selfishness expressed in self-pity and hurt feelings. Lord I am sorry to have misrepresented you at these times. How subtle are the thoughts of self-pity and frustration at being rejected.
Today as I scan my heart for any land mines still lurking in my soul I feel nothing but peace. This is a miracle of grace. This is a blessed victory. Yet there is no time to celebrate for how easy is it to fall out of this place of peace and be drawn into a spirit of irritation at past events.
Dear Father, I pray for all those involved in removing your name from the church role. Forgive those who have done this to you and please help them to realise what has occurred and find peace. I confess that as I am born of the same flesh, the ability to do the same thing resides in my heart and so I ask forgiveness on behalf of all my brethren.
I also pray for all my brethren who currently are being silenced in the church. I pray for those who have been sidelined by church nominating committees. I pray for those who have been treated falsely and accused of believing that Jesus is a created being. I pray for those accused of not believing in the Holy Spirit when this is clearly a false charge. Help my brethren to endure these trials patiently. Give them grace to love those who persecute them and speak evil against them. Grant us the victory to love those who reject, shun and mistreat us in your name. We need your grace to bear this patiently.
Lord I also ask that you still the raging seas in the hearts of many who confess your name. There is a profession of the Son of God but there is a spirit of attack and self-righteousness. There is no virtue in knowledge for knowledge without repentance always puffs up. Please help these brethren to see that the greatest obstacle for people seeing the begotten Son are those who profess Him without repentance. Let us work humbly and patiently and appeal to our brethren in the church with gentle grace and patient utterances. We pray for the Spirit of Hannah, Abigail and David which was Christ in them the hope of Glory; a Spirit of humility that recognised those in authority and remaining respectful of their positions in the church.
To all my friends facing church discipline, I pray you will be given grace to love those who persecute you and that the joy of finding the Father and Son are not destroyed by the spirit of persecution in the church. What profit is it to gain the knowledge of the Son of God and yet lose your soul in bitterness and unforgiveness.
Psalm 23:4-6 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. (5) Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. (6) Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.