How My Judgmental Attitude Prevented Me From Showing Hospitality This Easter

WLO_openhomeAfter attending an Easter Sunrise Service at a neighboring congregation, I have a confession that I hope will propel you to extend hospitality to those who appreciate a different style of Christian worship than you do.

Let me explain.

Shortly after the early morning service began, I became disappointed with their choice of songs – no traditional Easter hymns! I thought the service itself was a little too long for a chilly Colorado morning – the metal bench I was sitting on was cold! I was also distracted by a few people who were sitting close to me. One man was reading the Easter story out of a version of the Bible that I don’t care for at all. A few other people had Charismatic episodes of hand raising and body swaying. And yet another lady was decked out in a Christian bikers outfit with the Jesus headband and full leather outfit. I have to admit that I quietly began judging the church itself and many of the attendees that I just mentioned.

It wasn’t long though before I began to inwardly cringe. I realized that I had become one of the “old fogies” that I had despised in the church of my youth. You know . . . the older folks who always sat in the same pew, sang the same music, accepted only their version of the Bible as holy, and demanded that you light the altar candles like so. I remember their frowning faces of disapproval  And now . . . I was frowning just like them!

And the truth was, I didn’t know much of anything about the church or the people that I was judging. I chose to get upset over the way that people expressed their love for a savior that had sacrificed his life for them instead of appreciating the “godly diversity” that was represented at that service.

I’m grateful that the Lord stopped me in my tracks before this had a chance to fester, but through this experience I recognized a tendency in myself to judge first and show hospitality later (maybe).

One of the lessons that we learned this month was that Christ showed hospitality to those who didn’t share his values. He showed hospitality to strangers–to his enemies. The folks at the sunrise service were certainly not my enemies, but they were a little different than I was. They dressed a little differently and they worshipped a little differently than I do.

By immediately judging and caricaturizing them, I refused the Holy Spirit’s work of hospitality in my life and theirs. According to the Scriptures, hospitality has to do with the receiving and loving of strangers . . . but unfortunately I was too busy judging them to receive them or love them.

In all fairness, the Lord does give us discernment and the ability to exercise judgment. I’m not making a blanket statement that we should never judge, only that my judgments were premature–and wrong!

If I had been properly prepared to show a love of strangers on Easter morning, I might have come to a conclusion closer to the one non-charismatic David Watson did after he visited a charismatic church. He said,

Let’s face it: we often caricature Christian groups who don’t think, worship, or experience God like we do. This is a huge mistake. It’s time to stop caricaturing and start listening and learning. Should we turn off our critical faculties? Of course not. Should we listen for God’s working in new and powerful ways that will challenge and stretch us? Absolutely.

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How Do North Korean Christians Evangelize? (These Are The Generations Bonus Material, Part IV)

generationsFourth in a series of weekly posts by Mr. Bae, the co-author with Pastor Foley of These are the Generationsthe story of third generation North Korean Christians. For Part I, click here. In today’s post, Mr. Bae details how his evangelistic efforts were greatly increased as a result of his time in prison, even as his family was driven from their home.

North Korea tried to force me and my family into becoming homeless vagabonds, but God used this to enable us to become traveling evangelists!

North Korea wanted to deny education to my children, but God gave my daughter the gift of healing. And whenever God used her to heal the sick, she would share God’s word with them. Everything that the enemy intended to break us, God used to establish his kingdom more fully.

The Apostle Paul said it this way, in 2 Corinthians 4:10: “Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.”

Yes, it’s true that we lost our home, our health, our reputation, and education, and our jobs. But with that we also lost our fear. Without distractions, our lives became completely focused on him.

But please understand: When you think of the greatest evangelists in your culture you likely think of those who share the gospel in front of thousands and ten thousands, or who lead hundreds to Christ. But in my culture, if a person leads three or four people to Christ outside of their own family, that means they have been used by God to do the impossible—to accomplish something only God can do.

One of the people I evangelized was the former head of a military unit. After he was discharged from the military, he struggled to make a living and this caused him to question what he had always believed. He received the truth of the Gospel because God had been preparing his heart.

Another person I evangelized was a business associate. He saw how my family and I lived, how we never fought and how we always seemed to have such joy. He opened his heart to learn the source of this peace, and it changed him into a peaceful man.

Another man I evangelized was someone who had a bad relationship with his wife. He came to know God and to make peace with his family. I shared the Ten Commandments with them, as well as the God whose grace makes it possible to live by them.

Keep in mind that all this happened because we were reduced to homeless vagabonds by the North Korean state. If we were still wealthy and influential and in good standing with the government, I doubt any of this would have happened.

Keep in mind that all this time we were still having to figure out how to survive in this idolatrous land. When Kim Il-Sung and Kim Jong-Il’s birthdays came around each year, we and our fellow citizens were still required to bow down and offer flowers to their statues or else be punished or killed. But my family and I started to not attend these events. We were nobodies, after all! God had saved us by making us worthless in the eyes of the state.

The North Korean state made me a nobody, but that is how God made me a somebody, raising me up to write a book and testify around the world about how God, not Kim Jong Un, is ultimately in charge today in the country of North Korea.

North Korea chased us from our home, but God is now opening homes to me around the world.

North Korea tried to make me write a confession of my sins, but God has now made it possible for me to write a book sharing the story of his faithfulness to my family into the fourth generation.

North Korea made me unable to sit in a chair, so now I stand to proclaim the gospel around the world!

(To be concluded next week…)

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Video – Are You Robbing Others Because Of Your Hospitality?

Pastor Tim says that many Christians are very hospitable and giving, but they have a problem with accepting gifts from others.

We never want to stop being hospitable, but we must make room in our lives to accept the hospitality of others.  If we don’t we not only stunt their Christian growth, but we rob them of the opportunity to accept both the messenger of the gospel and the message of the gospel.

For all of the latest podcasts on Opening Your Home and on past Works of Mercy visit our Seoul USA Podcast Page!

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