The Right Way and the Wrong Way

I know I’m a stickler for being early. To me, fifteen minutes early is on time. Five minutes early is late. On time is WAY late. Celebrate Recovery has helped me identify where this obsession comes from and is helping me with my anger when the people who influence when I arrive places are, shall we say,…… less time consciousthan I.
But even at my worst I’ve never attacked anyone for being late. I’ve grumbled; I’ve complained; I’ve huffed and puffed as I stared at my watch; but I’ve never committed assault and battery because someone kept me from being on time.
Recently a Memphis man was arrested for pushing and choking his wife for being late… [wait for it] … for church. Nothing says, “I love Jesus” like strangling someone for being late to worship.
I’ve always said that Satan works harder on Sunday morning than any other time of the week. Many a family has flown down the road on the Lord’s Day with Dad hollering to the kids in the back seat, “Stop messing with your sister or I’m going to come back there—we’re on our way to worship Jesus,”only to get out in the church parking lot forcing a smile and saying, “Good morning brother Jim—glorious morning to worship the Lord”as if nothing happened.
Hebrews 10:25 says not to give up meeting together, but it doesn’t say it’s a sin to be a little late (as much as some of us would like it to). It’s frustrating to be kept waiting, but strangling your wife isn’t the answer I would think you’d come to when you ask, “What would Jesus do?” It’s also probably not going to help your marriage. I’m not a licensed marriage counselor, but I’m making an educated guess that it’s not good for the relationship. And “We were late for church” isn’t going to hold water with either an earthly judge or our Heavenly Judge.
Part of being a disciple of Christ is making sure our actions match our beliefs, so that we don’t talk about loving others on Sunday morning and then mistreat the waitress or cashier when we go to lunch Sunday afternoon. Jesus’ character was the same when He was at worship and when He was being arrested on false charges—full of grace and truth. And if we’re going to be followers of His, that’s how we have to be.
I hope this man gets help while he’s in jail. I know Celebrate Recovery Inside could do him a world of good in overcoming his anger issues. And maybe if he does, he might be able to make amends to his wife. Regardless, here’s a good lesson for all of us: be on time to church—it just may help keep someone you love out of prison!