Glen's gonna kill me for this one....
Confession: Stuff Apostolic's Like is guilty of the sins on this here post several times over. Today is the day we get real, and get right with the Lord... I'm so sorry.
At some point, we Apostolics will do the half-backslidden two-step of either going liberal and/or rebellious. We will sneak to the movie theater. The girls will wear seductive skirts just above their knees causing us boys to go "whoa now" out loud but in our head we say "whoooo." Our sexual pursuits will be more forthcoming. We will read Rob Bell and make Christianity all about God's love and his acceptance of us just as we are. We will learn new words like "Moderation" and "Tolerance" and we will think too much about the term "Godhead." When talking about God, the word "Grace" will spew forth from our lips at an astounding 4 times per minute. We will all have a secular band we secretly like. We will listen to rap and hip-hop way too much on the radio and hate that we have to turn the beats down when we pull into the church parking lot. We will pray hard and we will play hard. And that's that.
But then there will come an occasion where our sins have found us out. We will be confronted by someone about our mischievous deeds. If they are for us, they will try to motivate us to do better. If they are against us, well good luck but everyone in the church will know about you and what you have been doing. When confronted someone may try to tell you that it was the Lord who told them what you had been up to. But be rest assured that if this is true.. we have a HUGE problem with God. Because if God whispers to church elders/parents about our playful sins to other people then God is just a tattle-tale. And no one likes a tattle-tale. And certainly no one should like a tattle-tale God. Especially when he could be just right over there in Africa, giving them a few cups of water and Tattle-Tailing on AIDS to a doctor so they can just get that disease done and over with. But no, according to our church ministers, God would rather tell them how one girl in the youth group wore pajama pants around her friends.
(Special Tip: Take this from personal experience several times over: When God tells someone about your sins, be rest assured that a vast majority of the time, "God" is the code-name for "Youth Group Gossip" who couldn't shut their trap. Usually they just make up gossipy rumors for the heck of it. No one knows why. And sadly, some of the guessing rumors will be true some of the time.
The worst is when "Youth group gossip" girl starts feeling real bad about towing that "cover-up/make up" line and also sneaking out to see Twilight. She will sneak up under your scrutinizing gaze to the altar and start to cry and like tremble real gently and basically get all sincere with the Lord and may God so help you because you know the formerly-cool girl is just the type of BAD PERSON who won't be able to shut her mouth about YOU and EVERYONE ELSE that she saw do something a little inappropriate. It's not like she'll be confessing about what she just repented for.... but she may just find the room in her mercy-filled heart to go ahead and let everyone know that yes YOU have been driving your drunken friends to parties as a designated river... even though she came to one of those parties and got so drunk that she made-out with 1/3 of the high-school football team's O-line at the party saying "OMG, I've never been this drunk before...what am I doing?" to every guy she comes around and then proceeding to make out with them. In a separate incident she also made out with your friend's 14 year old little brother.... and yet there she is repenting and you very well know she doesn't have the integrity to keep her mouth shut about anyone else.
Anything that she is not doing currently in her life, she will judge those who do it. This means if she doesn't read her bible, the people that read their bible will be bible-geeks and laughed at. And when she stops wearing make-up she will tell on the girls that still do. She goes from most-uncontrolled Apostolic sinner to most-judgmental Apostolic in two seconds flat and in this light, it's almost impressive.
Except it's not. Because people in church put up with her... since she has gone completely the right way and by "right way" she looks right and listens to only worship music in her car for the time being. She also tells a mean "I'm a victim and I have a depressing background" self-pity story that makes naive people feel bad for her. But don't be fooled... through and through she is just a BAD PERSON. And sometimes bad people are just bad people inside or outside of church.
Oh and she is going to Bible College next year to just about wreak havoc on all those poor innocent momma's boys there, and may God help all of them. To he who survives, congratulations... she will be your pastor's wife.
Anyways, long-story short... her codename is "God" when it comes to a minister pulling you aside and saying "God told me what you have been doing and we are thinking it's time you took a break from the platform and reflect on life a little. And I'm telling you this because I love you and not because I'm anal-retentive." I've seen this happen multiple times. We're all just human right? Who cares if we mix up God with "Youth Group Gossip?"
So you get confronted about your deeds. And questioned. Possibly interrogated. At best, you can call it an intervention. You will find yourself sitting in a tiny concrete room with a small table and two chairs and a spotlight and nothing else. This spotlight will be focused right on your face and it's real bright and the man across the table will be smoking cigarettes and have coffee wreaking from his breath and he's asking how much you know. And your sweating.
Okay, it's not quite like that. But it's close enough.
Do you fess up to your sins?
The answer: No. Stick to your guns. Become the offense. Play the blame game. Because you have some tricks up your sleeve.
See Primary Excuse Exhibit A:
Fat Apostolics. Fat preachers. Unhealthy eating...
Tell them. Tell all Apostolics. Point out that "hey now, I may have a few skeletons in my closet but at least I'm ashamed of them. But you Apostolics, well no one around here seems to be pointing out that you get a whole belly full of sins. And I'm pretty sure gluttony is one of the seven deadly sins. So who are you to judge me? We all got problems okay?"
So let us review the argument:
Accuser: You are sinning.
You: There are fat people in church.
Usually the accuser answers that maybe being fat is a problem and they know they need to be more healthy to respect the temple of God and what not. And perhaps Apostolics should be more outspoken against their little obesity issues.... and then they'll turn the table back on you and completely avoid your point.
And then you'll do the same. Everyone blaming everyone else to justify why their sins and their behavior isn't really that bad. And the liberal/rebellious type of people will say all they are guilty of is that they are involved with some allegedly illicit behaviors that they were raised to believe were culturally unacceptable but that sins are all kind of relative. You'll say people hate the sins that are most foreign to them and overlook/forgive the sins nearest to home.
And you are absolutely correct. Overeating is a sin just like making out with 1/3 of the offensive line at a high-school party.
But even though you're right, to even make this argument is just stupid.
Conclusion: Someone else's sin is never justification for your wrongs.
Because when someone says "hey your sinning" and you say "well your committing different sins" nothing has been established other than the fact that we are Fallen creatures and as fallen creatures we will forgive our own sins quicker than someone else's sins.
If you are one of those liberal types... let's agree to stop using fat people as an excuse to justify your misdeeds. If you're guilty, you are guilty. Paul does remind us that we are supposed to live as Christians according to our convictions. But this doesn't mean that if you don't think what you are doing is a sin that God is agrees with. Whether or not your heart convicts you about something doesn't determine what is right or wrong. But it's a start.
If you sin and know it's wrong, don't point to the pulpit and babble your lips that "there's a fat guy up there though." That accomplishes nothing.
If someone accuses you of committing sins that you don't believe are sins in your heart of hearts, then step-up and say that. Tell the accuser about Romans 14. Do not regret what the Lord has not placed in your heart. But also take responsibility for your own actions at the same time.
Pointing at fat people who judge others in their free time is just too easy of a cop-out. I'm not fat. But I know being fat is a tricky issue in terms of genetics and eating habits. God may indeed judge obesity, I'm not sure. But at the same time I'm certainly not going to use fat Apostolic preachers as my crutch to justify my own failures. That's just being dull and lazy.
Here's a secret: Judgmental, Gossipy Apostolics are just bad people who mettle in the lives of others because they're really lonely & boring, and would rather look at everyone else's shortcomings than to have to face their own lonely/dull life. My advice to you is to not put yourself in conversation with them. You don't have to answer to them. There's just too many good Apostolics to get yourself caught up in an "Us vs. Them," whose a better sinner argument. If you start giving the bad Apostolics an audience by judging them for judging you, you may just start to confuse them as being the truth of all Apostolics. Which would be incredibly unfortunate and sad.
So stop using fat people as your object lesson okay?
Man-up if you're a man or lady-up if you're a lady about your behavior. If you think a rule is ridiculous just say that. Don't brag about it or put it in other people's face, but when all gets serious and you stand accused of wearing gender-confusing attire, tell the accuser, "hey man using Deuteronomy 22:5 is absolutely asinine and pathetic to justify the whole skirts/pants thing. For one thing, it's in the Torah which should be enough to throw the argument out. But also one glimpse at the Hebrew and a little exegetical research will tell you it's bad biblical scholarship to use that verse to defend the whole male/female clothing argument since that's not even what that verse is about. And sure you can wear what you want and believe what you want, but I'm not having it. So just toot your little horn all you want but I'm gonna like sit down right here and wear these capris whether you think it's an abomination or not. Because I'm god-fearing, and unlike you, I've done the homework."
And when they tell you that "okay buddy, you are so off the platform," accept it and shut up. Don't fold either. Also don't point fingers. If you are being honest about your beliefs and you think it's the Truth, there's no need to get in an "I am rubber you are glue, whatever you say about me bounces off me and comes back at you" kind of accusation session.
Besides, it's probably a platform you shouldn't want to be apart of anyways. Take exhibit A on the platform: The gossip-stricken 19 year-old girl that told everyone you wear capris, who made out with a 14 year old, who also was awarded a scholarship to bible college and rumor has it, has naked pictures of herself floating all up and down the Eastern seaboard.