h1

“SILENCING CRITICS” – Oct 25

October 25, 2013

“For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.  Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.  Honor everyone.  Love the Brotherhood.  Fear God.  Honor the emperor.”  1 Peter 2:15-17

Killjoy, prude, wet blanket, spoilsport, party pooper…

Christians have been called all of these words and many more.  We have been mocked in movies, television, and political speeches.  We have been cast as being repressed, oppressed and regressed.  Popular culture frequently paints the landscape of Christianity with rigid lines, stark geometry, and drab colors.

I hate the representation of my faith that is commonly presented in the current culture.  I feel so misunderstood when my hope becomes lumped in with religions of works.  I cringe when I see grains of truth twisted in the legalism of a fear of the world that does not demonstrate the freedom that I know in Christ.

I understand that secular society and the media are not friends of Christ.  What is our basis to expect them to be fair in their presentation of Christianity?  Why would I expect them to give a fair and balanced presentation of what I believe?  Much of what is shown in the realms of entertainment and journalism comes from the ignorance of people who have not had their eyes opened to the reality of the God of the Bible.

We can shout until we are blue in the face about the injustice of our image.
We can fight a media campaign to spin our message into the world.

I think that all those attempts will fail.  Peter tells us how to fight the good fight.  We will put all those naysayers to silence by doing one thing – doing good.

church_lady_could_it_be_satanSo much of our Christian lives are spent saying “no”.  Many are saying  “no” because they are afraid that there is a demon under every bush and if they don’t keep a prescribed set of rules they might be thrown with the chaff into hell.  That is not living in freedom.  That is not doing good by saying “yes”.

We are to live as people who are free.  A free persons does not say “no” to enticements from a fear of the world.  A free person’s abstinence from the things of the world is a “yes” to living as a servant of God.  Therefore, our lives should be awash in doing what all people will recognize as good from a motivation of freedom.  Our good works are to come from a joyful response of getting to serve God.  Our good works are a response of love.

That is how the ignorant portrayal of the followers of Christ will be silenced in this culture.

When our friends and neighbors fail to recognize what is presented by Hollywood as the Christians that they know, then they will reject the culture’s portrayal of a twisted and false faith.

The problem is that even I see truth presented in many of these derogatory manifestations of my faith.

Consider a world where followers of Christ were consistently living as free servants of God:

 

Honoring everyone:  Those offensive signs condemning the lost would be gone.  The rude and insensitive debates would vanish.  Honor everyone does not mean that we have to agree with everyone but it does mean that we follow the “golden rule” and treat others as we would like to be treated.

first-ame-church-lawsuit-against-former-pastor-p1-normalLoving the Brotherhood:  The incessant bickering amongst the followers of Christ would be replaced by loving debate and respectful disagreement.  We would not be in the courtrooms of the world having our disputes settled by common law rather than the Word of God.  I don’t have the answers to how we work through theological differences that do really matter but I know that we can do it so much better than it has been done.  We should be cognizant of the reality that a lost world is watching how we treat each other.  Why would they want to be part of a faith that espouses love but whose members can’t even love each other?

Q9Fearing God:  The high profile scandals of the tabloids would not include the children of God.  Christians do a lot of really stupid acts that earn the title of hypocrite and diminish the power that we profess.  I know that we are all on the road of sanctification.  We all stumble.  However, the colossal moral and public failures of Christians should be much rarer than they actually are.  If we all lived with more of a fear of displeasing our Father in heaven rather than pleasing ourselves, we will be a better representation of what we claim to believe.

Barack Obama / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Honor the emperor:  The vilification of political opponents would not be cast in the mantle of the Church.  There are few topics more divisive than religion and politics.  There is nothing more divisive that the combination of religion and politics.  I realize that we Christians should speak out for many of the moral affronts and persecution that governments do.

DonkeyHotey / Foter / CC BY-SA

The issue is how we do it.  President Obama should feel honored by the religious right even though he knows that they disagree with his direction.  Our Facebook pages and discussions should not be strewn with disrespectful and offensive caricatures of our leaders.  Our obedience to Christ should extend through all aspects of our lives, even honoring and praying for leaders we don’t agree with.

Just imagine if these characteristics were the common experience of the world for a person who professed Christ.  It sure seems like the ignorance of false representations would be silenced.

I would love to see that.

PRAYER: Lord, forgive us for not living as a servants of God like we should.  Father, do your work in me; fill my life with good works that come for a heart that just wants to serve You.  Help me to be honoring to everyone.  Help me love those brothers and sisters in Christ with whom I have disagreements.  Help me to fear you as I should.  Help me to honor and pray for all my leaders, especially the ones I don’t like.  Lord, be with your church.  May I be a part of a larger working of your Spirit that silences the ignorance of foolish people.  May the good works of a people set free in Christ be a beacon to a lost world.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son,  Jesus Christ.   Amen.

17 comments

  1. I have a hard time being respectful of the man who is destroying my country. I am supposed to give unto Caesar that which is his–meaning taxes, and respect for his position. The Bible tells me to follow my husband, but not into sin. If I’m not expected to follow my husband into sin, then it stands to reason I should not follow Obama into hell either. He has no respect for America or its citizens. Obama is a terrorist dressed in a nice suit. When Obama, his wife, and the rest of his followers have respect for me, my God, and my country; then I will, like wise, give them the same respect. In the meantime, I will continue to pray for them and my country.


    • I agree to some extent that it is difficult to respect some folks — political animals or lots of others in our human zoo!

      To pray for all, and even to pray for a country, can hardly be anything but good-hearted. We ought to remember, all the while, that the biblical injunction to pray for leaders does not have political, temporal purposes at its roots. Rather, peace is a goal. The Kingdom of God in human hearts transcends all earthly matters.


  2. Reblogged this on quirkywritingcorner and commented:
    Those who are not followers of Christ nor have Him in their hearts, do not have a clue what it means to be a Christian, or what is expected of one. I feel sorry them. They degrade me, yet they’re the ones missing out on so much.


  3. Very well said.

    From my experiance the best way to share the message is to walk the walk before we talk the talk. In other words we must live the Christian life. That will draw curious people to us, then we present the message. The majority will reject it but the few that do we then must commit to teaching about Christ and our life of love which is exhibited through service He directs us to.

    God bless you with peace, love and joy.


  4. I came by to check out your blog after you liked one of my posts. Thanks for that. As someone who did not grow up in “church culture,” it’s hard for me to feel at home or welcome in many so-called Christian groups because of the same kinds of things that you mentioned here, yet as soon as I mention or identify myself as a follower of Christ, I am often lumped in to the kind categories you talk about at the beginning of your post. It’s frustrating and sad, so thank you for voicing your thoughts.


  5. A good focus! What you remind us of, overall, is completely biblical — that “the king” is to be honored in some sense. The religious right is not famous for honoring all the kings — only the ones they like better.

    “Slimjim” expressed an imperative to be biblical politically. Hmm. I don’t think such a behavior exists. Maybe he means that certain political issues have moral implications, and our morals should be biblically based. If so, definitely yes, but that doesn’t mean being biblical has anything to do with earthly politics.

    I have always questioned (and continue to oppose) the assumption that Christians should speak out politically. I don’t think we have any appreciable scriptural principle or precedent in that realm, and the speakings-out I’ve known of seem to be focused on temporal goals rather than eternal ones. If we’re speaking with respectful love — and with the knowledge that this world, with its systems and politics and national boundaries and ethnic groups, is temporary, it can surely be OK to speak out, but it’s not a necessity, in any event.


  6. […] Silencing Critics […]


  7. AMEN!!!!! Thank you for this!


  8. Valid points, persuasively written, JD! As usual, I find myself “amen-ing” your prayer all the way through, especially, “Fill my life with good works that come for a heart that just wants to serve You.” Oh, yes!


  9. Excellent post


  10. Reblogged this on jkinak04 and commented:
    Well said, well written.


  11. […] via “SILENCING CRITICS” – Oct 25. […]


  12. Thank you for this post. I have not heard this explained in such a profound and biblical way before. I believe all believers would benefit from not only reading this post but applying it.


  13. Lord help me also, for my hypocrisy as I spend time each Sunday praying for the leaders of this county and then am not diligent about what I say about them during the week. I, too, want to be a witness of light and love. Thank you Jesus for sending us The Holy Spirit to empower us to change.

    Thank you, JD, for some “correction of direction ”

    ,


  14. I think while we must be biblical politically, there is a way of going about expressing our disagreement with Obama’s policy. I think we should also be careful of making sure we don’t believe every sloppy or fallacious arguments against him either, so that the World knows it’s not just “politics as usual” but conviction if we disagree with something with him. Thanks for this!


  15. So true! I once heard a woman say about a former president, “He’s not my president.” I totally agree with you. I think, even though we may not agree with people’s leadership, we need to act like Christians and be respectful. Great post.


  16. This is one of the best blog posts I have read in a while.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: