Diet Eman was a Dutch Resistance worker (against the Nazis) in Holland during World War II. In her book, Things We Couldn’t Say, she tells of her life in Holland before the German occupation. Her family was quite close to another family IN THEIR CHURCH. Two girls in that family were her close friends. Diet’s family often had Dutch soldiers for Sunday dinner before the war, since they lived next to an armory. But her friends’ family always said that they could not do that because they were so busy. Then came the Nazi occupation. One Sunday Diet was sickened when she entered her friends’ house and saw a portrait of Adolph Hitler hanging above the piano. Even worse, that family entertained German soldiers on occasions. Diet Eman (who worked for the Dutch resistance) would point out, “This family has forgotten their ‘Dutch-ness’. They were dangerously eager to fall in line and blend in with the Nazis.
Those two families both regularly attended the same church. Both sang the same songs at church, prayed the same words at church, quoted in unison the same Bible verses at church, listened to the same sermons at church, observed the same communion at church, However, those two families lived their lives in two different worlds; one in the “Kingdom of His beloved Son”, the other in “the domain of darkness.” (Col 1:13). One mother and father were living faithful lives for their daughter to see and imitate; the other parents were training their children in the wicked ways of compromise and cowardice.
Why bring this up so many years later? What was true back in the 1940s in Holland, is sadly just as true today in America and just as dangerous. Sitting on the same pew isn’t proof of having the same faith. Bowing together during the same prayer at church is not necessarily evidence of the same relationship with Jesus. If you question the truthfulness of this, let me share an example from right here in Pampa.
Several years ago, more than a dozen different churches here in Pampa, gathered in the Heritage Room in the M K Brown Civic Center to celebrate our unity in Christ. I was the emcee that evening. After welcoming everyone to our evening of worship, I called on my brother in Christ, I. L. Patrick (now home with the LORD), to lead our opening prayer. FYI- I am freckled white, I L was black.
One of my church families had arrived late and so were sitting on the back row. When I called on I L to lead the prayer, an older man sitting in from of them, leaned over to his wife and said, “If they are going to let a ****** lead the prayer, we are leaving.” And they got up and left.
That couple lived their lives in “the domain of darkness”. I’m not playing judge, just quoting the judgment reality from the LORD Himself. “If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.” 1 John 4:20-21
They may have attended their church every Sunday, maybe even were the #1 financial supporters in their church. But that hatred in their heart put them in a different world than faithful believers who live in “the Kingdom of His beloved Son.”
Know who owns your heart. Know what fills your heart. Why is that so important? Because the heart is where God measures each person for eternity. God bless.
Mike Sublett is a pastor at Hi-Land Christian Church, 1615 N. Banks St., Pampa, Texas 79065. Email him at email@example.com.