For over one hundred years, a voice has been heard from pulpits and sanctuaries throughout the land.
The Good News, or bad news in some cases, has been proclaimed loudly. The voice of the Prodigal has been kept silent.
The truth is that the elder brother was not happy to see his younger brother return.
I think Christ knew that would be the scenario in many homecomings down through the ages. Let’s leave the elder brother alone for now. I wish to talk about the Prodigal, the strays, those scattered and those overtaken in a fault.
I believe the Prodigal could have saved many a young person great heartbreak, if he could have shared his experiences with everyone.
If people who left our churches, could have stood before the congregation and reasoned with saints over whatever caused them to leave, or explain what happened to them, perhaps many would have been saved and spared.
If those who had been overcome by faults, could have told others just what it was that caused them to miss the mark or slip, just maybe, we all might have learned something that could have helped each of us to be alert for in our own lives.
Most often, these slips, or errors, did not happen on the spur of the moment, but one thing likely led to another. Silence is not always golden. The voices of the scattered, the failed ones, the outcasts, have been kept silent. Until now.
If I can be honest, I never intended to be here. I didn’t even know about Facebook. I only wanted to make some videos, singing and playing and put them on YouTube.
I had been surfing the net for 7 years and saw no harm in putting some of my feeble attempts to begin anew on with the world of everyone else’s stuff.
I have known for many years now that God does things differently than we think, and that He uses whatever he pleases, if it brings about His Purpose. He doesn’t have to ask us.
I had no idea that He might have decided to use Facebook to bring about some purposes, other than what the inventors may have had in mind.
Perhaps for the first time, a door was opened for everyone to speak, and as long as you kept it clean, you could communicate with untold numbers of people whom you had not seen or spoken to in decades.
You could share your heart in an open forum, in a way we never knew before. And you could talk about your experiences in the Church openly, without being benched or made to leave.
Perhaps, for the first time, a voice began to speak, that had prior to now, been silenced. Sparks began to fly.
Let’s kill some myths. It may be assumed that those who left Churches, for whatever reasons, did not love their Church, that they did not love their Pastor or many of the saints.
Many who left, had spent their entire lives dedicated to what they believed was the work of God. You see, nobody allowed most of these people to tell of the traps that had been laid for them by the enemy, as well as by some of their close peers.
The fact that envy and jealousy had reeked havoc on many of these, was not considered.
Since the pulpit had complete authority over what happened in the Church, even though this is not scripturally correct, obedience without question was often the rule of the day.
Many folks still in the Church today, think the outcasts do not know that there are good shepherds, fine and wonderful men and women gracing pulpits and there are not also beautiful, loving saints who are an asset to their Churches and communities. That is also a myth.
These fine pastors have good reputations that have gone all over the world. They are know by their cities, and even the sinner folks, as loving and good Christian people, who are moved with love and compassion for all.
To believe that the outcast thinks there is nothing good in the Church is simply untrue.
But what about those who were not loving. What about those who ruled with iron fists and taught things that were forced on their congregations and that had no Bible basis?
What about unreasonable rules and traditions that could have been more harmful than helpful?
This attitude that “we alone have all the truth”, has not only hurt us, but it has caused harm and damage to those whom we used it on. And NO ONE is to speak up against this.
How dare anyone suggest that we might have been wrong about some things. Oh you can believe that there were some who spoke up in camp meetings and conferences, that some of our stuff might be tradition, rather than Bible, but not many.
The price was too high. Politics and hierarchy forbid too much speaking up.
Better keep silent if you wanted to succeed up the ladder of success and recognition. Measure up or get out. You knew where the door was when you left, and you know where it is, if you want to come back.
Jeremiah wept for the things he saw in the house of The LORD. The Word of The LORD came to him as it did to Ezekiel, as to what his plan was for those who have been scattered and those who have done the scattering.
It is sadly clear to me that many can never go back to the Churches they once attended. It is not a safe place for them.
It’s not about bitterness or rebellion, those issues have been dealt with a long time ago by fallen people. It’s about survival and finding a place of peace and love where you can be loved and accepted as you are, not as what others think you ought to be.
I say again, God will have a House where all are welcomed who love Him and wish for His appearing. That you can be sure of.
There are so many wandering now without a place to worship, because they don’t fit in anymore and they cannot live by the rules of others.
The loving God whom they have come to know does not expect them to subject themselves to the same harm that caused them to falter.
Many outcasts feel they love Jesus Christ more today than they ever did before. They know Him in ways they never even knew about. The God of our understanding will not reject them and He will heal their wounds and mend their broken hearts, without the help of the elder brother.
I close this by saying to some of you who are listening to these words. You are at a crossroads.
You are good people, loving caring folks who know there are things all of us could improve on in the way we love people and you care about the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
I say to you, you do not have to compromise your own personal convictions or even your personal dress codes to reach out to those who need help and healing.
People will respect your own personal choices. But you can minister to people and love people back to God without forcing the same old patterns on them that even you have pondered and questioned at times.
So many have already returned to Him and have a greater love for their fellowman than ever before. They just need a place of rest and peace where they can worship The LORD and fellowship with other like people.
This voice has begun and it cannot be stopped.
I must be honest. We are under more duress than we’ve ever known in our lives. We have done everything in our power to show the right spirit and temper our thoughts with love and compassion, realizing full well that we are only here by the grace of God.
The outcasts are doing everything they can to love others, be forgiving and to love even those who might have persecuted them in the past.
That is what God wants us to do. That is not easy, but that is why God has given us another chance and a new voice.
But I promise you this, if for some reason our voices are made silent, there will be others who will lift up theirs. We’re not out to hurt anybody. We gave that up long ago.
Our salvation depends on whether we can stay focused on the Greatest Shepherd of all and help somebody else who has lost their way.
I love Him, in spite of what anyone else thinks and that is my voice.
“If I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto Me,” that is His voice. That is the only voice I need today. The voice of the true Outcast.
First published: July 28, 2010.
~ Robert Blackburn