Friday, March 18, 2016
Times, customs, and people’s attitudes change and we are seeing and talking about things today we probably never imagined many years ago would become a way of life, particularly as it pertains to social issues. God, on the other hand, never changes. Malachi 3:6 tells us that He does not change and Hebrews 13:8 says that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” That being true, that means Jesus is the same today as He was when He walked the earth. He does not now, all of a sudden, see things differently than He did before. Keeping that truth in mind can help us, as God’s children, to confront and deal with the controversial social issues of the day.
It is as normal as drinking water, for us to have questions and be ready to speak out against things around us we certainly do not approve of or condone. Whether it is genuine holy indignation or not, many Christians feel it is their duty to strongly speak out against what they deem as sinful ways of living and many of those who do, feel they would be failing or dishonoring God if they kept their mouth shut and did nothing. That is understandable. Before we act, however, it would do us good to carefully consider how Jesus dealt with the same issues as portrayed in the gospels. Remember that He came into a world which was no different than today’s.
It is a fact that Jesus was accused by the Jewish religious leaders of His day of attending events where He mingled with all kinds of sinners. I bet among them were adulterers, abusers, perverts, prostitutes, drunkards, embezzlers, slanderers, and thieves. Yet, there is not one hint in the gospels that He ever rebuked, condemned, or even addressed their particular sin. He did not have to. In a story in Luke 19 regarding His encounter with Zacchaeus, the well known tax collector promised he would repay fourfold whatever he had illegally taken from others without Jesus ever telling him he needed to confess and repent. This came about just because he found himself in His presence. The bottom line for us, then, is to try, as much as we can, to be like Jesus and treat others like He did. He did not come into this world to condemn people, but to save them. (See John 3:17) Our obligation, therefore, is to share the truth and the love of Christ to those we meet on a daily basis. That is our part. The Holy Spirit will do the rest, and that includes convincing sinners of their need to repent and giving to all who are sincere, the faith to believe and reach out to Christ. I am reminded of the words of instruction we all got when we learned how to color in first grade: “Stay inside your lines!”
Memory verse for the week: (Psalm 119:72) “The law from your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.”