As I was out running this morning, I couldn’t help but reflect on the fact that today is the National day of prayer. Many of us are focusing on praying for our nation, other nations, the unsaved and many causes that are near and dear to our hearts. Many are storming heaven in prayer today over issues like human trafficking, violence against women, children and animals, terrorism, etc. As I was meditating on all of that I felt the Lord gently whisper into my heart, “pray for the forgotten ones.” This is a category of people that often get overlooked in prayer. Who are they? Here in America, I believe He was speaking to me that they are those who walked with the Lord at one point in their lives but walked away.
There are many reasons why people choose to walk away from God. You may be one of those people yourself at some point, and have since been restored to the body of Christ. Some people turn their back on God because they feel He has turned His back on them. They may not understand why God would allow a tragedy to happen in their lives or allow a natural disaster on the earth. They have tried to rationalize it in their own mind. We need to remember what God’s word says about that:
Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
In my opinion, it’s best to not over-analyze anything. We will not have all of the answers until we get to heaven, so it just trips us up.
Some people have walked away because of a bad experience they had while attending a church or religious school when they were growing up. Maybe you had a Nun who was absolutely brutal in Catholic school or perhaps you felt singled out and judged by a Pastor or Sunday school teacher . Many people mistakenly put the attributes of humans (who make common mistakes) on God. All of this stuff does not define who Jesus Christ really is (He is perfect love). Most likely, what these forgotten ones experienced was the Pharisaical, legalistic, religious spirit. These are not attributes of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Many times the rest of the world assumes that we Christians think we are perfect. I love the bumper stick that says, “I am not perfect, just forgiven.” So often the unsaved and forgotten ones expect us to be perfect. We are judged when we mess up because we can be so judgmental of them. We reap what we sow. If we’re going to look down our noses at others and not see the log in our own eye, then we should expect to reap judgement back.
Matthew 7:1-2 (ESV)
7 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.
I am not saying that we are never called to show a brother or sister in Christ the speck in their eye. As a counselor, it’s part of my job. I’m just saying make sure you have the log out of your own eye before you start looking at the spec in everyone else’s.
I believe if the body of Christ starts to really walk in the undefiled loved of Jesus Christ, those forgotten ones who have walked away from the church will happily come running back. Unfortunately for many, they have found more acceptance in the world than they have in the church. Many forgotten ones are standing with the unbelievers judging us unmercifully because of our religious spirit toward them.
It is my prayer that each believer ask God to remove all shreds of the religious spirit from the body of Christ, so we can show the love that accurately portraits who God really is. As this day of prayer comes to a close, please remember to pray for and show love to the forgotten ones.