Why is it that some of us choose, on purpose, to live in a vacuum??? We go around touting that we are not part of this “cesspool” of a world but then say in the same breath “But we must be lights”
“No one lights a lamp, then hides it in a drawer. It’s put on a lamp stand so those entering the room have light to see where they’re going. Your eye is a lamp, lighting up your whole body. If you live wide-eyed in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light. If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a dank cellar. Keep your eyes open, your lamp burning, so you don’t get musty and murky. Keep your life as well-lighted as your best-lighted room.” – Luke 11:33-36 (MSG)
I recently received an email that was distributed to a large list of church people with an attached letter stating, “WE (meaning Christians) have no ability to influence decisions in the world, and that we shouldn’t even try. That anything we try to do, or attempt, in having a positive influence through our relationship with our Lord would be overthrown by Satan”… (paraphrasing)
Ok, is it just me or does this sound like something that would come out of the mouth of a Camp Davidian follower??? I’m mean really! How can we in one breath state that we are here to be “lights of the world for Christ” but in the same breath state that Satan has the upper hand and for us to not even try. Our goal should be to just sit back in our little “church groups” until the day our good Lord comes to smite the earth and raise us all up to reign in our overdue glory. I’m sorry that not only sounds downright WRONG and self-focused but most importantly it goes against the solid teaching of our loving and merciful God.
Now I’m not going to the other extreme in thinking that every last person will come to know and accept Christ, but what I am saying is that without doing the work He left us to do (bringing and spreading the gospel to all) than we ARE hypocrites and undeserved workers. It is not for us to judge others on their ability or willingness to accept God and Christ, as that is ultimately between them and the Lord. What I am saying is that we have been left with the responsibility AND privilege to “Do good and to spread the gospel” (paraphrase)
We wonder why the “world” thinks Christians are hypocrites. All we have to do to find the answer is to look within and self-reflect on our actions being totally honest and place ourselves in the viewers shoes. If you ran into a person who stated that you NEED their help because THEY are righteous and you are DAMNED without their “godly” influence. (yes I used the small “g” on purpose as this type of attitude is not representative of the TRUE God) would you really want this person’s help? Or would you even really have the ability to hear anything that comes out of their mouth??? If you felt someone was constantly looking down on you, or made you feel as though you were “inferior”, do you really think that person would sincerely have your best interest at heart? Would you really want their help??? I’m sorry to say but I think the majority of people would not.
The Story of the Tax Man and the Pharisee
He told his next story to some who were complacently pleased with themselves over their moral performance and looked down their noses at the common people: “Two men went up to the Temple to pray, one a Pharisee, the other a tax man. The Pharisee posed and prayed like this: ‘Oh, God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, crooks, adulterers, or, heaven forbid, like this tax man. I fast twice a week and tithe on all my income.’
“Meanwhile the tax man, slumped in the shadows, his face in his hands, not daring to look up, said, ‘God, give mercy. Forgive me, a sinner.’”
Jesus commented, “This tax man, not the other, went home made right with God. If you walk around with your nose in the air, you’re going to end up flat on your face, but if you’re content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself.” – Luke 18:9-14 (MSG)
How can we ever expect to help others when at the same time we are condemning them? We are not only making a mockery of Christ’s instructions to the Church, but we also bring tremendous damage in our ability to help and be seen as true Lights.
“With what shall I come before the Lord and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?
Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, and to love kindness and mercy, and to humble yourself and walk humbly with your God?” – Micah 6:6-8 (AMP)
Lord knows that I miss the mark many times in living the above, but we never flunk out as long as we stay focused on getting up and trying again. The goal will always be there unless we decide that HIS goal is no longer ours. I think we can all get confused between what it means to convict a person’s behavior vs. convicting and condemning the person. God loves each and everyone of us. That in no way means that He accepts and loves our choices or behavior, but that does NOT mean that He stops loving and caring for us.
I pray for you and me that we strive to keep kindness, goodness and humility in our hearts. To be proven at His return to truly stay attuned to His will and not create our own modified version. There are many hurting and suffering hearts in our world my dear friends all looking and longing for love and strength to endure. I strive to remember that words, actions and appearances can hurt others and Christ’s image of what others see. We have a very great responsibility placed within our hands. May we approach them AND be approachable to all with the goal of lovingly treating the wound without the appearance of trying kill the patient.
Be Forever Blessed,