The last thing I want to do is become an analyst of current events and news. I especially want to Stop Yelling At Our Culture.
Oops, scroll down, quickly!
I just went there, didn’t I. But let’s not stay there long.
When someone’s specific sin is brought to our attention, what is our very first response? I’m not just referring to celebrities, church leaders or famous evangelists. I’m talking about our friends, our family, our children, our parents, and the conservative Anabaptist guy in the pulpit Sunday morning. Is our first reaction surprise? Well, it certainly can be a surprise in the way that we didn’t see it coming; but it should never be a shock of unbelief.
I think it’s fair to say that we as Christians do in fact try to see each other as Christ sees us. Even if we put a conscious effort into it, it can be difficult. I think an easy way to reveal how we are doing at that is simply by our responses to sin around us.
Maybe Facebook is just manipulating my news feed like usual, or are we Christians not talking about Josh Duggar? If so, why not? Hmm maybe because we all relate in one way or another. It’s easy to talk about lions, flags, homosexuality, riots, racism, and butchering babies because we are above all that. Right? We don’t want to touch the stuff that happens in our own church…I mean, our own family…er, I mean our own lives. (This post entitled “I Am Josh Duggar” is the first one I saw in my news feed since it became news.)
Why did he try to hide it? Perhaps for the same reasons we try to hide sin from our friends, parents, or church people. Why are you keeping that sin a secret right now? The reason is probably just like his reasons a month ago.
We are smart people, us Christians, that is. We know what is sin and what it isn’t. If we did not think certain stuff was sin we would not keep it a secret. This is good — it hopefully means we have not completely numbed ourselves to the Spirit of God, and that is good.
There is an important thing to remember. For us, this Duggar stuff is being viewed by a Christian perspective. Now let’s consider non-christians who witness this type of situation. They most likely will see Christians as hypocrites, and they point out that they thought our Christianity was supposed to keep us from this sort of thing. Hmm. The fact is they are partially right. The Holy Spirit can help us avoid these situations. A Christian living with the power of the Holy Spirit can’t commit a sin unless he chooses rather to the obey a lie or the flesh rather than the Holy Spirit. Basically I didn’t really say anything there, but what I said sounded very robotic. The fact is, we have an inborn sinful nature and we believe many lies day after day. One of them is that we are better than other people. Another is that it’s up to us to classify sin in various categories of severity. Remember, those are lies. (Also, stressing that we are all sinners does not work as a “cover your butt” tactic. God calls us to a much greater standard of living.)
What’s this about injecting context into our testimony? (and what does the syringe have to do with anything?)
Now I finally come to the title of this post as a call to action. I want to challenge you all to think about the context of your testimony. I’m not going to tell you how to use social media, how to treat others, or what to do next time you are made aware of someone’s sin. I only ask you to THINK the following three things. You don’t have to say them, use them in a comment, or make a poster. Just think them. (I made them short and easy to remember.)
Note: The syringe is just a cute picture to help us remember to inject ourselves with these three things before we leave a sick testimony for others.
1. Talk to yourself
Define Christianity to yourself. It’s not perfection, and it’s not freedom to sin. It’s love and grace. The former compels the latter, while the latter compels the former. Tell yourself all about it. (Go ahead, it’s okay, we all talk to ourselves.)
2. Play a game
See if you can determine exactly which lies the person believed/is believing. It can be pretty interesting. Are their patterns of evidence, like, are their signs that a certain God Shaped Void is trying to be filled unsuccessfully?
3. Turn it up
When I think of a guy like Josh Duggar, my attention doesn’t stay on him very long — it turns back on me. (A mirror works here as well.) But if you remember my post about How To Be Unworthy Correctly, this is only healthy if we remember to turn that attention back up to God.
Great! Now when we comment, talk about someone, or read about them in the police log, we will automatically inject a balanced Christian context into our testimony that the world sees of us. They in turn will have a much better understanding of what it means to have Jesus Christ in our lives.