"The wicked plot against the righteous and gnash their teeth at them;" Psalm 37:12
Caution...today may be difficult for some people to read. The truth hurts and today through this verse I feel as though I'm being called to speak the truth in Love...
It is a difficult world to be a follower of Jesus Christ. This verse is a strong reminder of the hate the true followers of God will feel as they travel about as virtual vagabonds in this life. It makes no sense to the person who doesn't know Jesus that a "Man of God" or "Woman of God" refuses to set up their own idealistic roots on Earth during this lifetime. Half of the hate we feel is because we seem crazy (which in some aspects is justifiable) considering we do believe that the one true God came in human form to take our sins (and theirs) to the cross and die so that we may have life and bring us back into a personal relationship with Him. (Ironically, these same people refuse to believe that anything is bigger or smarter than themselves which is even crazier to me.) The other half of the hate we feel is in the non-believers amazement and disdain for us because we believe in the love of God and the truth of His Word so strongly that we actually do not treat this life like it is the end all. To somebody who strictly lives for pleasure today, that is incomprehensible.
As followers of Jesus we constantly feel the pressure and persecution of those outside our worldview. We are ridiculed for believing in absolute truth, in the definition of marriage (no political messages on here please), and in the "shallowness" that redemption is strictly through Christ. We also feel the hate as we are forced to taste (definitely not chocolate) the words that are constantly shoved in our mouths by those who are against us. The sadness I feel most in this life is that the definition of being a follower of Christ is actually defined by those who hates us. And our response to their definition is a "line" about what we're against instead of what we're for. Amazing!
Here is where today gets interesting though. If you don't want to examine your own life in Christ, I suggest you stop reading after the "Amazing!" line above. I want to speak of the The "gnashing" of teeth statement. It is one constantly associated with those who live in darkness, practice evil and quite bluntly live a life outside the realm of God. Every time Jesus speaks of "gnashing of teeth", he speaks of those who are possessed by evil, those whom the hypocrites will end up with, and those who are outside a life in the "Kingdom of God". Basically, we can find the "gnashing of teeth" anywhere that there will be eternal pain and an absence of the presence of God.
So...Here is what I just don't understand about followers of Christ, if we are told that the evil will plot against us and "gnash their teeth" at us, and that those who are "gnashing" are outside the Kingdom of God, why do we desire to be like them and show them that we're not that much different? Do we not realize that to join this group is to be part of the same group of "The wicked who plot against the righteous...". Is it because we think we are the ones who do the "saving" that we think by faking enough to get close to a person we can "win" them to Christ without His divine hand? Do we actually think that the way to bring the people who are plotting our destruction and doing evil to Christ is to take on their world view so that they think we are just like them and expect them to think we're authentic? How does that show the love of Christ? Being inauthentic is not the gospel, the gospel is God's love through Christ! His unfailing, unconditional love to those who both hate Him and love Him. Loving people doesn't always mean agreeing with them, and in many cases loving people is speaking the truth even when it hurts. I have many non-believing friends, but I don't live like them, or overstate our similarities just because I want them to feel good. The truth of Christ pierces the heart, and if you're massaging egos, you're missing the point.
Also, If you are the "Christian" guy or girl (man or woman) who is living a life of selfishness, saying you "trust" God but are constantly trying to find new ways to "live the dream", you are a friend of the world. If you are sleeping with your partner before marriage, getting drunk on the weekends because you are just trying to have "fun" and using the "be all things to all men" excuse out of context then you are living alongside the "teeth gnashers". If you struggle to love those not named "(place your name here)" and have some anger issues with those who aren't like you, please understand that you are then missing the point of Christ. Maybe you experience a lack of forgiveness or hate me because what I'm writing right now is "judgemental", then you need to get in God's Word in order to understand His truth. Just so you know, constantly being with the "teeth gnashers" and then going to church on Sundays, reading a few popular Christian self-help books, having a Jesus fish on your car or a bumper sticker that states "My Father was Jewish Carpenter" and then claiming you are not like those you "party" with makes you a liar and a hypocrite. I didn't say we cannot be around non-believers, and I never said not to love them, I am strictly saying that if you are living like them (this includes "Christians" living this unrepentant lifestyle) and telling them you are "not like those weird Christians", then you better be aware of how God sees you.
My goal today is to help you understand that without realizing it, we have fallen into the lie that living a life with the "teeth gnashers" doesn't mean that we're not plotting against God's righteous people. If you're living like the people of this world, than you are one of the people of this world. As we've previously mentioned in this blog the righteousness of God can only be obtained by letting go of yourself enough to let the Spirit take over your life. Those trying to make yourself "righteous" are being deceived and are truly no different than the "teeth gnashers" as you are only living for yourself. I have to repent of the fact that all of those areas in the paragraph above are feelings and/or situations I have personally dealt with. Not until I have begun to let go of myself for Christs sake have I begun to understand that I have to make a choice even if it hurts. I either choose to let go of this life, or I have to choose to hang on to it so tightly that I become one of those "Christians" who actually leads Christs sheep astray as we lie to ourselves and others about where we stand.
If you are living a life like those who "gnash their teeth" at us outside the Kingdom then guess what...you are also outside the Kingdom. Abandon yourself to God and trust that He loves you, and will protect you eternally regardless if the "wicked plot against the righteous" in this life.