The more this lesson of the copper pipe sinks in, the more peace I find. I’m so focused on what’s in the present. I’m so aware of what’s going on at any given moment. I’m so mindful of my own feelings and reactions.
I might be driving down the road and a guy cuts me off and gives me the finger. It makes me so mad! I realize how much I want to snap on that guy. But I don’t. Now I realize how irritable I am before I snap at someone.
And you know that in the past, I have snapped on that guy. I’ve been angry. I’ve been frustrated. I have cussed somebody out. And yes, I have flipped somebody off. I’ve done all those things. As a believer!
And I still feel anger or frustration. I’m just getting a lot better about not acting on it. That’s because I have the ability to calm down. Now I can head off the anger and frustration by accessing the hot water.
You always run into that believer who says, “Well, before I met Jesus I did those things.” He’ll tell you, “Yeah, before I met Jesus, man, I swore all the time. Before I met Jesus I was drinking and smoking. Before I met Jesus I was lusting.”
I always want to say, “Oh, really? I don’t smoke, but I still drink. And I still lust. And I was angry just this morning. And you know what? I have Jesus! So how come it’s so easy for you? That kind of stinks!”
Obviously I don’t believe those guys. Those are people living in a fairy-tale world, where they try to look the part. They think, “I’m a Christian, so I’m supposed to say these things. I’m a Christian, so I’m supposed to have a perfect marriage.”
But you’re not. Seriously! You’re not! If you never sin and your marriage is perfect, then what do you need Jesus for?
When we fear not looking the part of the good Christian, we judge. We try to make ourselves look better by judging the motives of others. We try so hard to play the part of “sinners that are saved,” that we forget who we truly are, “saints that sin.”
We get worried about the people we hang out with. Some people are afraid to let their kids hang out with people that are not Christian. They are afraid to let their kids hang out with kids that are not believers because non-Christian kids may not see things the same way. They might teach Christian kids the wrong stuff.
It’s not for me to say how other parents should raise their kids. But here’s my take on it. Maybe your kids will teach them things. Maybe your kid’s non-Christian friends will go home and their parents will see them love differently or act differently!
We’re so worried about who we hang out with because of influence. We’re so careful “lest we become like them.” But I think you have to keep an even keel. Whether you have believing friends or non-believing friends, you have people in your life that you have to witness to. You have people in your life that you have to be around. And you’ve got to be okay with it.
I think the people that are judgmental are the ones that fear the people who are outside the faith looking in. They fear them because they’re constantly judging them. And it’s no fun. It’s no fun to be around people like that.
I have a little more to say about fearful judgment. See you Thursday.
Lately I’ve been writing about how we can use the metaphor of the copper pipe to avoid passing judgment on others, as Jesus instructed us in the Gospel of John. Here’s the bottom line. Every human being, in their flesh, is a copper pipe. As such, we cannot change. We can’t change ourselves any more than a copper pipe can be anything but a copper pipe. But we can be changed. We can be changed the same way a copper pipe can be changed. A copper pipe can heat up when hot water flows through it. Hot water can change us. So if you want to change, you need hot water. And the hot water comes from Jesus.
Jesus was God Incarnate, but that doesn’t mean He was just a copper pipe like the rest of us. Jesus was the whole thing. He was the copper pipe and the hot water. In fact, He was instant hot, a hot water pipe that’s hot all the time. He was always perfect.
You know what else? He knew He was going to die. He knew that if we could accept Him for who He is, and let the Spirit of God run through us, then we could change. And that’s why He said, “I am what you need me to be. I am God, I am everything, I am the great I Am.”
That’s why I think sinners followed Jesus. He hung out with sinners everywhere. That’s all He hung out with! He loved them! He loved on them because He saw them as copper pipes. He knew they were in the flesh. He knew they had nothing going for them. But He didn’t say, “You’re a bad person to be around, because you’re angry or you’re jealous or you used a cuss word, so I’ll never hang around you.” No! That is not what He said. Jesus looked at a sinner and said, “I created this copper pipe standing in front of me. I know the issues they’re having. I know their struggles.” And He loved on them.
And I think that as the church, we have to try a lot harder to love like Jesus. We have to get to the point where we can look at outsiders, outside the faith looking in, and love on them. We have to stop looking at them in judgment. We have to stop saying to them, “Well, you don’t go to church, so you must not be a Christian.” We have to stop saying, “You don’t believe in Jesus, so you’re not as good as me.”
Just remember this simple fact: without Christ, without the hot water, you will never change. Anyone you feel like judging is just like you, a copper pipe. The only thing that makes you different is Jesus. Jesus is the one that changes you. Without Him, you’re still just the same copper pipe.
We can look at people and say, “You know what? The reality of it is, if I didn’t have Jesus, I would be exactly like you. I am exactly like you. I still make the same mistakes you make. I just have the ability now to access the hot water.” When we access the hot water, we can say, “I choose not to do those things, because in Christ I can be different. In Christ, I can change.”
If we can remember that, then we can love more like Jesus. More on this next week. See you Monday.
You really should try out this copper pipe idea. Here’s what I’ve discovered: if I see the copper pipe in everyone, I don’t judge them. It’s no longer my goal to judge them.
Let’s take anger as an example, because there’s plenty of that going around. When I see the copper pipe in someone, I don’t look at them and say, “Hey man, you’ve got a serious anger issue. You need to clean that up.” It’s not my goal to even think it.
Why not? Because I’m a copper pipe too! I could have a serious anger issue. In fact, it would be very easy for me to have that same anger issue. Suppose I never asked God into my life. If I always looked at life a certain way, and did it without God, I would also be a very angry person. I’ve been there! I’ve been a very angry person!
Think of those times when you come home from work and you’re irritable. And in your irritability, you speak sharply to your husband or wife, or you’re mean to your kids. Your spouse and your kids are thinking, “Why is she so angry? Why is he being mean? Mom/Dad is always so angry. I don’t understand!”
Well, everybody’s angry. Everybody experiences irritability after a day at work or at home. That’s why we don’t judge each other for having anger issues.
The lesson of the copper pipe teaches us to look past judgment and discover the value of a choice we can make: a choice to let the Spirit of God into our lives.
Try this. Go back to those times that you come home from work and you’re irritable. You don’t want to take your anger out on your family, but you have to go in the house. So you pray. You tell God that you’re irritable. You tell Him, “God, I know I’m angry, so I need to access You. You are peace. You’re my understanding. And You calm storms. I would like to access that right now.”
This is what you do: you turn on your hot water. You turn it on and let it flow into your soul. You say, “God, I need the peace that only You can give me.”
Once you’ve done that a few times, you’ll start doing it quicker. Once you’ve begun, you’ll start believing it sooner. And when you start believing it, it happens. Your irritability will leave you, and you’ll become peaceful. You won’t enter the house with anger, you’ll enter with peace. Now your family sees you and knows you as a happy, joyful person. But you have to choose to turn the hot water on.
There are people out there that do not make that choice. But you don’t judge them as being a bad person for that. You don’t look at somebody having the exact same struggles as you, and say, “Why are you always like that?” No, you don’t! Because you know why they’re like that!
The only difference is that you choose – hopefully – to access the hot water. You choose to live by the Spirit of God.
Next time, I’m going to share some thoughts about why I think Jesus didn’t judge, and what that meant to the people around him. See you Thursday.
The initial concept of Eden was complete beauty and peace. We would live in harmony, and we would love each other. We would look out for each other. We would all want to help each other.
But what we live in right now isn’t paradise. We live in a judgmental society. When sin came into the world, judgment flooded right in with it. We saw it with Adam and Eve. Read more…
I met a guy last year who gave me quite a workout with a word picture.
He put a copper pipe in front of me. Then he asked me, “What is this?”
I said, “It’s a copper pipe.”
And he said, “Yes, it’s a copper pipe, but what is it?”
I said, “Okay. You have a faucet on the end of it and you have a red handle. I’m going to say that it’s a hot water pipe.”
“That’s right,” he said. “It’s a hot water pipe. “ “Okay,” I said.
But then he asked me, “Does it ever change?” Read more…
The Bible tells us, Judge not. Most of us try to believe we’re good at not judging, but the truth is, judging is a really natural thing to do.
This is how normal it is to judge. You hear somebody say, “Well, I don’t have a problem judging,” and you immediately want to say, “I doubt that.” Right? But that means you’ve just judged them! It’s that natural.
Sometimes our discipleship makes it even harder. You’re trying so hard to be a good Christian that it almost makes you more aware of your beliefs about other people. Because you’re so conscious of trying to be good, you might look at someone in your life and think, “Well, I’m good, and he’s not.” Read more…
You must confess that Jesus is Lord in order to be saved. I truly believe He died for you. There has to be an admission there, and it has to be real.
Think of the man who lives a good life, a decent life, and does the things that Jesus told His disciples to do, but this man doesn’t acknowledge Jesus as Savior. Would God look at him on the Day of Resurrection and say, “He loved me, he believed in me”? I don’t think so.
The Bible says you must make a confession with your mouth that Jesus is Lord (Romans 10:9). Good people are not saved in the absence of this confession. They may do good things, but the key to salvation is the acknowledgement and confession of who Jesus is.
But I also believe a lot of people say “Jesus is Lord” and they don’t mean it. Read more…