I once had a dream about a famous Pastor whom I’ve seen on TV. This Pastor has very suppressive views about women. Women are to be subjugated and put in their place. But, he’s still a Pastor and he still draws huge crowds when he speaks.
So, after hearing him say the most horrendous things about keeping women in their place, etc., I asked God what His view was of him and why He (God) continued to allow this man to preach and teach, He gave me a dream. I am not sure that this dream I had is actually God’s view of this man or whether God was giving me a viewpoint that I could understand. What I mean is that perhaps I am the one who sees a fault or problem with this man’s views on women but God doesn’t because He loves, accepts and approves of this man and his ministry. Perhaps, God’s graciousness is able to look past this Pastor’s view of women because this man does so much to promote Jesus’ gospel. Being human, I need a framework to understand why God overlooks what I see as such a glaring fault and to understand why God tolerates it.
In this very short dream I saw a very large pier that jetted out quite far, over the ocean. Then, my attention was drawn to the very end piece. It was the furthest out over the ocean and it was the end of the support beam that was underneath the decking. It was, in fact, the very tip or end of the support beam. It was the part of the decking that didn’t bear any of the weight of the deck but yet was necessary to keep the integrity of the deck. If the sea waves wore this part down, however, the rest of the deck would remain standing. This was not a part of the deck that people would walk on. Its purpose was supportive in nature and helped to stabilize the hand railing that was above it. It was an attachment piece put in place so that the posts that went down into the ocean bed and the decking up above it could be connected.
I knew this dream was about the Pastor that I had prayed about. So, I asked God what the dream, with the specific emphasis on this particular piece of the decking meant. What the Lord said to me was this…
He said that all people, even the best Christian Pastors, Preachers, Evangelists and Teachers were a mixed lot. Meaning, we all have our good points and our bad points. We all have our failings, flaws, weaknesses and prejudices. We all have taken bible verses out of context. We all have sinned even after we’ve been saved. We all have thoughts, opinions and ideas that we become stuck on that it would take Jesus years of work to soften, dig and uproot these ideas. But, if Jesus did uproot these ideas then He might run the risk of upending the person’s faith in His death on the cross.
There’s a parable that Jesus taught. It’s in Matthew 13 and it’s actually about something else. It really has to do with those who are enemies of Christ but outwardly appear to be Christians. But, here I am seeing a parallel.
24 Here is another illustration Jesus used: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a farmer sowing good seed in his field; 25 but one night as he slept, his enemy came and sowed thistles among the wheat. 26 When the crop began to grow, the thistles grew too.
27 “The farmer’s men came and told him, ‘Sir, the field where you planted that choice seed is full of thistles!’
28 “‘An enemy has done it,’ he exclaimed.
“‘Shall we pull out the thistles?’ they asked.
29 “‘No,’ he replied. ‘You’ll hurt the wheat if you do. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and I will tell the reapers to sort out the thistles and burn them, and put the wheat in the barn.’” (Living Bible)
Here, Jesus is saying that if the farm owner were to have the workers pull up the thistles (which actually were called ‘tares’ and resembled wheat) that they would also uproot the crop that the owner is trying to grow to harvest. If they were to pull up the weeds then they would uproot the wheat.
The reason I am bringing this parable into this explanation of this dream about the pier is that Jesus does the same thing with our faith. He sees that there are very false and deceptive Christians who appear to be almost dangerous in their beliefs. They preach things that could cause a listener to think that Jesus actually holds that same opinion. But, Jesus doesn’t pull them away from their pulpits, churches or even the worldwide scene. Why? Because Jesus doesn’t want to uproot the growing and budding faith in His death and resurrection. He sees He’s dealing with a mixed bag. But, if He strikes down the Pastor then He might also derail the faith of those who are this Pastor’s followers and congregation. Jesus would rather leave it all alone and be sure that He first did no harm and take them up in the rapture as He harvests the earth of His Saints than to pick at them about something that is not eternal and derail something that is eternal, ie: their faith in Him.
Now, because our world holds many people who hold the same beliefs about women as this Pastor does, Jesus uses this to advance His gospel. Who am I to say that Jesus didn’t deliberately form and fashion this Pastor’s life to be just this way? But, because this Pastor is just this way he attracts others to his church, teachings on the internet, and books who are likeminded. Through him Jesus has an audience that He might never have been able to reach. These people may have been closed off to hearing about His death on the cross and His shedding of His blood but were attracted to or drawn to hearing this Pastor because he speaks out so strongly about subjugating and suppressing women. Jesus will use whatever open door He can find into people’s hearts.
So, while I find what this Pastor says to be offensive, bullying and verbal abuse, God will use to promote the gospel of Jesus. Because, God looks at the heart and sees that this man is a part of the pier that is the sum total of those cleansed of their sins. This pier IS Christianity. This pier IS the sum total of each individual that makes up the very fibers of the wood that makes up this pier.
But, sadly for this Pastor, he has been relegated to the ‘fringes’ of the deck. His views and opinions against women have left him the most exposed to the waves and violent storms that will pound this deck. He will be the first to be overcome by the ravages of the salt water and erosion that are caused by being so exposed to the seas. But, he still is a valid part of the pier. He is ransomed, redeemed, called and chosen. Jesus loves him just as much as Jesus loves me. Jesus is honored and blessed that this man has chosen a life that is in service to Jesus. Jesus is honored and blessed that this man preaches His death on the cross, shedding of His blood and resurrection from the dead. Jesus is thrilled that this man’s ministry has led countless thousands to salvation. The seeds of wheat that this man’s ministry has implanted into the hearts of people is what Jesus looks at. Jesus doesn’t focus in on the negative because that is something He will correct as we rise to meet Him in the air at the rapture. We will be completely transformed into His likeness. All the wrong, hurtful, mental pollution will be replaced by His mind, heart, will and emotions. Jesus looks past the ‘tares’ that are in this Pastor’s heart and focuses on the ‘wheat’.
Even though we make Christianity about popular sentiments, feelings and issues of the day, Jesus is very focused in on His goals, mission and gospel. He’s not focusing in on all the clutter but on the heart of what He has called all of us to do and that is to tell others of the good news of His death on the cross.
In the end, Jesus isn’t calling me to bring this man to account according to my standards of Christianity. Jesus is asking me the same question that He’s asking of Him, namely, “Will you deny yourself, pick up your own cross and follow Me?”
That’s the only way the work of the gospel gets done and that work is at the center of Jesus’ heart.
That’s all from THE MIDDLE OF THE GARDEN (or the middle of the pier). Thanks for stopping by, sitting down and taking in the view.
Janet Williams…..THE MIDDLE OF THE GARDEN…..a blog to see!
4-29-20 @ 11:17 AM