Back seat drivers.
Side line coaches.
Pew sitting pastors.
We can all identify with either being one of the above or being under the scrutiny of one of the above. Whatever the situation, none of us enjoy being "informed" of our failures or mistakes from those who have managed to keep their own hands clean, by refusing to get into the dirt with us.
People who have never raised a child are quick to give their exalted opinion as to what they would not allow "if that were my child". They are usually the last ones to ever offer to babysit or give a parent a well deserved break. After all, that is not "their child!"
Those who have chosen to submerge themselves into life, people, churches, or any group activity, will always be criticized by those who stay home, sit on the pew, or can never find the time to "get their own hands dirty".
One of my most cherished Bible intrigues is the one where Jesus had to deal with the religious group that was intent on stoning the prostitute. She ran from them to Jesus. Something about Him was like a beacon of hope to her. The Sin-Filled one found a shield in the Sin-Less One. He knew her sin. Everyone did. What He offered her was a place to admit it, and then to give her the hope to move beyond it's chains into freedom.
The religious ones demanded her blood. "Account for your sin", they screamed! Jesus allowed her to touch Him even in her sin condition, and turned to demand grace from those who held the stones in their hands. Jesus neither condemned the prostitute nor the aggressors. He simply brought into view the awfulness of sin whether it be the self-righteousness of the heart or the sexual promiscuity of the woman. Grace loosened those clenched fists, and the stones fell from their hands as they turned from the influence of the evil one.
He was one Who was not afraid to get His hands dirty in the lives of fallen men and women. Redeemed ones, who seek to follow their Lord in this life, will find that that same demand will be put upon them. They will seek to teach His Word, while grappling with their own lives, and the lives of those they serve. They will be misunderstood, judged, and even rejected, and yet, they will press on because the call is greater than themselves. They are the ones who cannot face the suggestion of the sideline.
They are in the driver's seat. They are on the field playing. They are standing in front of those knowing how desperately they need God's grace to stand and not become a "back seat driver", a "side line coach" or a "pew sitting pastor".
Next time you have an opinion that just HAS to be given to that minister...stop! Don't just try and assume what you would do. Get involved with that ministry. Find out what the cost is. Have the courage to employ God's love for this time. Don't distract the driver while they are trying to drive. Sit quietly. Observe, and then take what you observe to the Lord...FIRST! Ask the Lord to give you an opportunity to speak "if" it is His will. If you feel "driven" to speak...check your source! God leads. He never drives!
Hey, listen!!! We all need help. We all need support. We all need encouragement. Eventually, when we are safe, we will accept loving opinions of those we know we can trust. It takes time to develop that place like the one Jesus gave to the prostitute.
So, let the stones drop from your hands. Sit with Jesus as He embraces the vilest sinner. Feel His heart of compassion. Look at His nail scarred hands and feet. He once embraced you and I that same way. He touched our sin, bore it upon Himself, and covered us with His love. Use your hands (your life) for His glory!
Yes, you will get hurt. Yes, you will get dirty. Yes, you will know Him.
Loving Him and you,