Leaving People Room to Grow / by John Hailes

Our modern day culture is summed up to me in one man…Justin Bieber. Having been discovered as a child on YouTube he quickly rose to fame. In his younger years he always held tightly to his faith. However, over the last number of years, as he began to come to terms with being a celebrity, he has flip flopped back and forth between what the World has to offer and his faith.  Of course he hit some extra low points along the way; however, in more recent months he set out to turn his life around and he began by allowing himself to be roasted and humbled by comedians.

Many have been skeptical of Justin’s attempts and many have passed final judgement that he is a ‘lost cause’; sadly, many of these people have been Christians. Last week though, I’m sure the World was a little surprise to see that Justin took a week out of his busy schedule to attend the week long Hillsong conference in Australia. It seems like a serious step towards deepening his faith in Christ and aligning his life to that faith.

One of my concerns for the Church is how quickly we are to put people in boxes that are labelled by their behavior. We so often suffocate people from hope because we look at them and make assumptions about them through lenses of their individual sins. I often feel like we push people into a corner and leave them no room to move or grow beyond our preconceived expectations.

Justin Bieber’s life is a great example because he is where he is today because of a Mother who loved him in spite of his issues and some key Pastors, who went out on a limb at the possibility of being ridiculed, to extended grace.

The Church is called to be a hope to the World but in order for us to be effective in that role we must adjust our attitude and learn these lessons:-

1.      No One Is Beyond Receiving God’s Grace

We say it but do we really believe it? There are some people who have done some pretty terrible things out there; do we really see hope for these people? Quit resigning people as a ‘lost cause’.

2.      Other people’s sin is no different from yours

We love to shout about ‘sins’ that other people struggle with; but we are usually pretty quiet when it comes down to gossiping and gluttony. We all struggle with different things; quit making a huge deal about areas where only other people struggle.

3.      Trust the Holy Spirit to Work in People

Sometimes God is working in people, but its not been fully worked out in their lives yet. Trust the Holy Spirit to convict and work in people; quit doing his job for him!

4.      If you’re not willing to journey with people, quit commentating about them!

Those pastors who journey with Justin Bieber in his faith rarely speak publically about him. Truthfully there is no need to shout about people’s sin…they are exposed for people to see. Be more invested in people’s lives. Quit just seeing a problem, be a part of a solution!

5.      Pray for people

Christians are always desperate to do something, yet not often enough is it to pray! We have huge power in prayer and yet instead we choose to do things that diminish our standing with people.