Ephesians 4:1-4 Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. 2 Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. 3 Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. 4 For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.
So you’ve probably seen the video going around lately of “Cosby’s reaction” to Victoria Osteen’s short exhortation at their church. Some guy thought he was doing Christians everywhere a great service by adding an old clip of Cosby saying, “That is the studpidest thing I have ever heard” to the end of the video. And the response has been pretty overwhelming in favor of Cosby’s side. YouTube comments have ranged from “That IS the dumbest thing I’ve heard in my life” to “I need a paper bag,” etc.
What’s most alarming to me is not the poor choice of words of Victoria Osteen (yes, just a poor choice of words – NOT heresy as some want to call it), but the haste in which many Christians shared this video. I’ve had bible college friends, pastor friends, people from high school, etc. share this video, all thinking that they were somehow helping people in their walks with Christ by doing so. In reality, though, they were causing great damage and disunity in the Body of Christ.
I have a few thoughts on this that I hope you’ll consider before being quick to side with Cosby (I’d actually love to hear Cosby’s actual thoughts on this).
1. We need to have more grace for each other. Ephesians 4 tells us to always be humble and gentle, being patient with one another, making allowance for others’ faults because of our love. I haven’t really seen this here. I see a lot of mockery, slamming, spiritual arrogance. Not grace, covering, concealing, love, unity – all things scripture tells us to do.
2. We need to protect unity. At all costs. And it’s not just this video… All the time I’ll hear people just flippantly bash churches like Lakewood (who is reaching about 100x more people with the Gospel than most churches) as if they’re on a different team. I know that when most people say thing like that it’s of no ill-intent, but we need to realize that what we’re doing is causing more damage than it is helping.
3. We are all the Body of Christ. We’re on the same team! We need to remind ourselves of this often.
4. The Gospel is being preached. Keep the main thing the main thing. Paul came to this conclusion in Philippians 1:15-18. If the Gospel is being preached, that is a GOOD THING. Unfortunately, one of the ways that the church has followed the world is in the way that we’re really quick to jump all over people as if God has called us to the high calling of discerning others’ motives and critiquing their doctrine. We’re really good these days at taking it upon ourselves to discern the motives of others, but we’re not so good at actually discerning the intent and spirit of what is being said. Let’s be quick to celebrate the Gospel being preached, and let’s be a bit slower to critique those who are doing it a little differently than we are. And when the time comes to challenge someone in their method/doctrine, do so in love, out of a desire to protect the unity of God’s church.
Just a few thoughts. Let me know if you agree or disagree!
P.S. One of the BEST ways to be happy is by worshiping God (I know this from personal experience). Happy IS NOT God, but happy IS good. Depressed, sad, lonely? Spend some time in Worship and let God affirm you and lift your spirit.
P.P.S. This is in NO way a response to any of my friends. If you shared the video, no big! Hopefully I stirred the pot a bit! Love u all.