If You Hate Ugly, Sit on the Sidelines!

“War is hell.” (General William Tecumseh Sherman)

“It is fatal in any war to enter it without the will to win it.” (General Douglas MacArthur)

“Nobody ever defended anything successfully; there is only attack and attack and attack some more.” General George S. Patton)

General William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, received a message from a lieutenant in a distant city: “While preaching on the streets today, we were attacked by saloon keepers and their mobs. Some of us ended up in jail; some in hospitals; and the rest of us are fearful. What shall we do? Surrender?”

Booth immediately sent a reply: “Surrender? Never! It looks like you’re finally having some success in your city. Continue the battle.”

Looking at today’s Salvation Army, it’s hard to envision the militant spirit of General Booth (1829-1912). His motto, “Go for souls, and go for the worst,” compelled him to preach in front of gin joints, saloons and brothels. Night after night, he returned home, bruised and bleeding from stones, beatings, hot tar and whatever the angry mobs threw at him. At home, he would then pray with his wife, Catherine, for souls. Then, the next day, he went back on the streets, preaching salvation to angry crowds.

His preaching converted thieves, prostitutes, gamblers and drunkards. Then, these converts were encouraged to become  evangelists themselves and join him on the street, preaching and singing to crowds. In this manner, cities were shaken and slums changed for the better.

His secret: all night prayer meetings and tears.

Booth never cared that newspapers lambasted and ridiculed him. He just figured it went along with his calling to save souls. Even when spat upon, he thought of it as a badge of honor.

During the course of Booth’s life, he traveled 5,000,000 miles and preached 60,000 messages, mostly on the streets. His advice to his Salvation Army: “Work as if everything depended on your work, pray as if everything depended on your prayer.”

If ever America needed men like General Booth, we need them now.

Christianity’s tolerant, wish-washy, lovey-dovey, “God loves you no matter how you live and how big your sin” message is not working. Sin now abounds in America’s cities, especially San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle, but where are the grace messages, confronting and combating this sin?

Where are the General Booths who are willing to stand in the streets of Compton, South LA, the Castro District of San Francisco, other inner cities and gay communities and speak the truth to them? Where are the men who have the courage to proclaim: “Go and sin no more?”

If you hate ugly messes, find a comfortable seat on the sidelines and keep quiet. Why? Because this will be a messy, long war to deliver people in gay communities, inner cities and out of gangs.  Well-meaning Christians with soulish pity will end up on the wrong side in this war and will oppose Spirit-backed men and women with the word of the Lord in their mouths. It will be an absolutely ugly mess. Christians against Christians. And Christians against the world system and its media.

You need to overcome the tug of people against you as you reach for high goals. (General George S. Patton)

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9 Comments

Filed under Christianity

9 responses to “If You Hate Ugly, Sit on the Sidelines!

  1. Last month while in prayer, I felt God share about the homosexual community and America’s part in that. . .
    Thank you, Larry, for the look into the future, ugly as it may be.

  2. Debbie,

    Thanks. We are called to be lights, not candles hidden under baskets.

  3. “Work as if everything depended on your work, pray as if everything depended on your prayer.”

    I like that a lot.

  4. Thank you for your proclamation, Larry. Remember though, there are many other unknown General Booths and Elijahs throughout our nation who continue to proclaim the Word in obscurity. (Romans 11:2-4)

  5. Had to read this again. It is no wonder we see so little evidence of God among us. We labor at the wrong things too much and the right things too little. In my little way, I feel that is what I am wrestling out.

  6. Mike,

    Thanks. What a great way of putting it.

  7. Derrick,

    I agree. Unlike Elijah who believed he was the last man standing, I believe there are thousands who proclaim the Word and I also believe there are thousands who have been prepared for this moment.

  8. annaldavis

    On the way back from SeaWorld in San Antonio, Texas last week, we planned to make a quick stop by The Alamo before heading home. We ended up not doing this, because my daughter became ill and we needed to come home quickly. But we did drive by, and briefly explained to the kids why it’s important for us as Texans, and for anyone who fights for freedom, to “Remember the Alamo.” Even though they fought a losing battle and every one of them lost their lives, their courage and commitment helped to win the war. I love how you said that our spiritual battles, when we stand for Freedom through Christ (and not a false gospel), will be an “absolutely ugly mess.” I love this because it’s true, and good, and timely in my own life.

  9. Anna,

    Thanks. I love stories about valiant men who are willing to pay the ultimate price for the freedom of others.

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