Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Do They Say There Is No God Because Of You?

Being religious in our thinking is no help to anyone. For a Christian, to be religious in our mind is when the head becomes more important than the heart; when our intellect is more important than our compassion; when rules become more important than mercy. It is easy to become religious but not so easy to be like Jesus. We can fault the Muslims and the Jews for being trapped in a law that they cannot fulfill but the Church is falling into that same trap.

Paul the apostle pointed out that there was no one like a good Jew and pointed out their attitude:

Indeed you are called a Jew, and rest on the law, and make your boast in God, and know His will, and approve the things that are excellent, being instructed out of the law, and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, having the form of knowledge and truth in the law. (Romans 2:17-20)

When we fail to remember what Jesus has saved us from we can fall into this place of self-imposed instructor. We think it is our role to demonstrate righteousness to a world struggling under its own filth. But Paul asks another question of these "teachers":

You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal? You who say, “Do not commit adultery,” do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor God through breaking the law? (v. 21-23)

You who preach against the sins of this world, do you also sin? Can any of us afford to cast that first stone? Do you not remember your past? Do you not remember what you were? And who made the difference? Did you save yourself, or was it Jesus who saved you even though you were his enemy? Now here is the punch:

For “the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you,” as it is written. (v. 24)

Is our judgmental attitude and our failure to walk what we talk causing people to blaspheme, to say there is no God, to consider that the Church is a joke? Would attitudes be different if we truly had the desire to be like Jesus, to be compassionate, merciful, forgiving, where relationship becomes more important than rules. We need to ask ourselves if we are here to be law enforcement or representatives of the greatest Advocate we could ever know. Are we trying to hold the failing world to a greater standard than what we are able to live?

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