Sunday, September 30th, 2012
Outsiders Looking In (Part 1)
Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.
Romans 12:9 (NKJV)
As Christians in the United States, we live in glass houses. Everyone can see us. Including atheists, agnostics, Jews, Muslims, and all the religions in the world.
But what are they are seeing? Fancy houses? Jesus said, 'It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God' (Matthew 19:24). Apparently, many of us are willing to take that risk.
Prosperity preachers have their favorite Bible quotes--like Jesus' words comparing Satan's mission to His Own: 'The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly' (John 10:10).
However, this famous scripture falls within 39 verses of Jesus as our Shepherd--not our stockbroker. (See John 10:1-39). Is it possible that the abundant life Jesus promises refers to green pastures, still water, and paths of righteousness?
What else does the world see through the glass walls of the American church? Condemning words and 'Holier than thou' attitudes (see Isaiah 65:5). But what is our justification to judge outsiders? Jesus did not condemn them. Instead, He found common ground with them. He sat at their tables. He helped them.
But Jesus did condemn insiders: 'Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness' (Matthew 23:27). Hypocrisy is a loathsome and lying sin that fools the innocent and alienates the questioning.
Consider our glass houses to be the eyes of a camera. Multiply those eyes by countless millions. Then call it media. And we own it. It's our #1 American export. Therefore, what witness do Christians in the United States present to the rest of the world? Because of media, we have the greatest potential to do good or harm.
To Be Continued...
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Outsiders Looking In series.