“And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God, and all the people answered, “Amen, Amen,” lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground.”
Bullying hurts. We teach each of our children how to avoid the devastation of bullying from other children. Hopefully, we are also teaching our children how to interact with others who are different from them without putting the other child down.
But what about bullying in our churches. Oh, it may not be as obvious as some of the things that happen in our schools, but it’s there. There seems to be such a division in our denominations that we use their beliefs as put – downs against each other.
For instance, I overheard as I was leaving a church one time. First man:”I am having some pain in my back today.” Second man: “Just think, if you went to the Pentecostal church down the road you could go up and let them pray you well!” And they both laughed sarcastically. When did praying for a healing become a negative? Maybe one church is more open about their prayers, but does that make them wrong? Or….maybe God is trying to open our eyes to pray more boldly.
If we raise our hand to swat at a fly in church, we may be labeled as charismatic. If we want music with more praise to it we may be labeled as new age. And f we DON’T want praise music, well, we get labeled as stuck in a rut. If a church is huge they are following the world. If a church is small, they don’t have anything to offer. Why do we have to label??? I have seen large churches that have prayer warriors working inner city. And I have seen large churches that are just for the notoriety. I have seen small churches with Holy Spirit power. And I have seen small churches that were led by the few who were left from a bygone era and don’t want it to change.
Personally, I let the Holy Spirit direct when and how I worship. I often am driving down the road, listening to K-Love (my favorite Christian station), and a song will touch my heart right where I need it. I will raise one hand in praise (don’t worry, I don’t close my eyes) and thank God for sending that message to me. In my prayer room, I often kneel with my head bowed and my hands reaching upward to my God. And how I pray is however the Holy Spirit leads me. Quietly in worship, loudly to let Satan know his place, or in an unknown tongue because I don’t have the words. All I want is to be able to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit without being judged.
Let’s stop the bullying and name calling. It’s time to accept the Holy Spirit as our guide and if a person raises their hands in praise in a Baptist church, well, let’s praise with them even if we don’t raise our hands. And if a person sits quietly in their pew and praises in a Pentecostal church, then let’s praise with them however God leads us. Together we can bring revival. But separate we can bring destruction to the family of God.