May 6, 2007

Vail Vision May 6, 2007

Satisfaction Guaranteed?

Judge Roy Pearson isn't satisfied with his cleaners. The story began in 2002 when Mr. Pearson took his pants into the cleaners to get washed. The cleaners lost the pants and so they gave Mr. Pearson a check for $150. Then, three years later, Mr. Pearson brought a different suit into the cleaners. Strangely, this suit was also lost. This time Mr. Pearson demanded $1500 for the suit. The cleaners balked so lawyers got involved.

Eventually, the cleaners offered Mr. Pearson $3000 for the suit. Mr. Pearson didn't accept the deal. They offered $4600, still no deal. Finally they offered $12,000! Mr. Pearson said, "No deal. I'll see you in court... Today, two years later, Mr. Pearson has filed a lawsuit... for $67 million. The judge has yet to throw the case out.

Meanwhile, the cleaners have been taken to the cleaners in lawyer's fees. They are so shaken by the ordeal they simply want to go back to Korea and leave the land of milk and honey and hyper-litigation. Did you know the United States has almost 15 times as many lawyers per capita than the rest of the world?

So what does this have to do with the church? Well since we live in the United States the church might mistakenly believe that we should operate like the US jurisprudence system: when someone wrongs us we should sue. If that doesn't work, we will annihilate them! But Christ calls us to a higher standard. Jesus says love your enemy and turn the other cheek.

So how do we guard our church from this behavior? I have a couple of thoughts.

First, we keep ourselves busy with the real task at hand. An idle mind is the devil's playground. We have plenty of work ahead of us to keep us busy. We are all in a battle against Satan to spread the gospel. When we remember who the real enemy is, we recognize that we need each other to fight this battle.

Second, we remember that each of us is part of the body of Christ. Most of our frustrations come because we simply do not understand our neighbor. Our natural human nature is to be much quicker to condemn than to listen. Seek first to understand. Pray that God gives you the wisdom to see through your neighbor's eyes.

Third, we learn to forgive. If Mr. Pearson had simply forgiven the cleaners for losing the suit, it would not have escalated so far. If the cleaners had offered to replace the suit at the beginning, it would not have escalated so far. Forgiveness is a uniquely powerful and Christian tool. The whole gospel is based upon it! Use it.

And finally, we must remember that our situation is substantially worse than these cleaners! Our sins against God are considerably worse than losing a suit. And no dry cleaner could ever remove the filth of sin in our lives. But Jesus took upon Himself all of our stains. He washes us up and makes us white as snow. No dry cleaner in their right mind would ever use blood to wash out a stain, but Jesus is no ordinary cleaner.

Let's weave this into the fabric of our church.

Blessings,

David Hook