The videos probably pop up in your Facebook timeline every now and then.
You know the ones I’m talking about. Making fun of how people raise their hands in church. Cracking jokes at the simple worship songs of the 80s. Poking fun at how repetitive worship songs are today.
Christians are easy targets it seems, even among their peers because even Christians take cheap shots at Christians. And while it’s perhaps harmless to tell a “how many pastors does it take to change a light bulb” joke, there is a point where it all goes too far.
There are some things that should be off limits.
There was a term that was often used long ago to define this. It was “sacrilege”. Sacrilege basically means that we have taken what is holy and made it common, we’ve defiled it, we’ve mistreated it, we’ve desecrated it; and we’d do well to reintroduce it to our vocabulary because while we’d look at certain sitcoms and comedians and immediately recognize that they’ve committed sacrilege, there are times when we don’t realize that we do the same.
Here are 5 reasons why we should never make fun of worship
1. It Offends God – Worship is an expression God created for mankind as a way to fully and intimately convey the depth of our love to Him. It is as intimate as a man loving his wife or a woman loving her husband. To presume that we have the freedom to invade another person’s intimate expression of worship, whether it be their physical expression of worship (how they clap their hands, how they raise their hands) or their creative expression of worship through lyrics or music, is offensive to God because that worship expression was a sincere act of an individual to convey the depth of their love to God and it was fully received by God with joy. Furthermore, that expression of worship was glorification of God and exaltation of God. It honored Him. It revered Him. It elevated Him above everything else that person loved, honored, and revered. To take that act of glorification and honor and desecrate with humor is offensive to God. It offends God.
2.It Desecrates Worship – Desecration of worship is a very serious thing, and God takes it seriously. We read in the Old Testament about two men – Nadab and Abihu – who dared to offer a “profane fire” to God. The fire of God went out from the censors and devoured them. God is a jealous God. He said, “By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; And before all the people I must be glorified.” To make fun of worship is to desecrate it. We fail to regard God as holy and to glorify Him when we take acts of worship that He has created and make them into a punchline.
3. It Distracts Us – Okay, so we didn’t realize how offensive it was to God for us to laugh along with the Christian comedian who poked fun at the way people raise their hands in worship. But Sunday rolls around, we sit in our favorite chair and the music starts. As people around us begin to worship, we suddenly notice how funny they look as they raise their hands at various angles, and we find it hard to enter into worship because all we can think of now is the silly video we watched the other day and how funny the comedian looked imitating how people raise their hands.
4. It Distracts Others – But what about those who overhear us laughing and talking about the funny hand raising, how idiotic it is to clap on the “1 & 3”, how only cool people clap on the “2 & 4”, or how lame it is to sing those old worship songs? Now when they enter God’s presence they no longer feel the freedom they used to feel. They can’t just let go of their inhibitions and worship because they feel like they are the center of someone’s attention who is going to make them the butt of a joke later on. Now all they can think about it is, “What do I look like when I raise my hands?” “Oh my word, am I the totally uncool person clapping on the 1 & 3? What is a 1 & 3?” “I know this song is not popular anymore, but I really love it. Am I going to look old-fashioned if I still worship to an old song?” Inhibitions that were never there before, suddenly distract as people realize that their privacy has been invaded by people who dared to desecrate that which was holy and intimate.
5. It Reveals a Cold Heart – When our heart burns with a love for the Lord, we enjoy a closeness and intimacy with Him that allows us to feel the joy He feels….and the pain He feels. Truly, the Holy Spirit inside of us will send warning signals when something is offensive to God. Some people call this “a check in my spirit”. But whatever you call it, you feel something is off, something’s not right. It is when our heart has grown cold and distant that we can no longer sense that “check”. We can’t tell when something’s off because our cold and distant heart no longer senses the Holy Spirit’s warnings.
When we can easily entertain comedy that desecrates the holy, that makes fun of worship songs, that changes their words to say something silly, that makes lists of worship songs that are “in” and “out” giving us the freedom to show disdain for the ones that are “out”, or makes people’s intimate acts of worship a punchline..when we can laugh at this and not feel how deeply it offends God we can be sure our heart has grown cold.