Salt & Light

17 04 2008

Does the way I view the world change anything?
Will I live any differently if I believe something about the world to be true or false ?
Does belief change somethings and not other things?

I remember a BBQ I went to a while back. There were a lot of Christians present from all sorts of churches around the city. Somehow the conversation got onto whaling and how evil it is. At one point in the conversation a friend of mine interjected with “forget saving those whales, save the babies.”
The comment had a new sting about it that I hadn’t felt in a while. It was the sting of something hitting close to home. That night amongst all the Christians was a girl who had just had an abortion.
Is this the way Christians affect change in the world? By Protesting? Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing bad about protesting. In our democratic country it should be encouraged. It helps keep those politicians in check. But does it really make sense as a Christian to blame the darkness for being, well, dark? Why don’t we accuse the light in this world of not being light enough.Isnt this what Jesus meant when he told the parable of salt and light? 

The more I read the accounts of Jesus the more I see how different His responses were from my friends at the BBQ.  Take the story of the adulterous woman. In Jewish culture a woman who commited adultery did so at a high price. She normally paid with her life. When this woman is brought before Jesus the Pharisees wanted to stone her. But Jesus did something extraordinary. He addressed the Pharisees and said “If anyone of you is without sin you may throw the first stone at her”
Immediately people started to leave, until there was only Jesus and woman left.
But the clincher is at the end of this story. “Neither do I condem you, go and leave your life of sin”

Sin demands punishment.

Sin demands death.

Gods law says so.

The Pharisees were right.

Legally. Technically.

Jesus’s response tells us a lot about the nature of God.

All sin is equal in Gods eyes. No one sin is worse than another.
Thats important, because today we do exactly the opposite. Sin has levels in the church today.
Church members who lie cheat, steal and swear are not as bad as those who get divorced, have sex before marriage or take drugs. 

Jesus also turned the question back on the Pharisees. If they were sinless then they had the right to judge. The question of judging others has always bugged me. I used to think that if I was “righteous” in an area of my life that that would give me the right to judge someone else who wasnt “righteous” in the same area. That logic had so many holes. But what I’ve come to see is that when I judge someone else I am in fact saying to God that I am sinless and this is my right. Essentially I say to God that I dont need his forgiveness of my sins, I can do it on my own, and I make myself righteous.  No wonder Jesus said when you judge someone you be judged.  Judgement is reserved for God and not us.

If I believe that God is the ultimate Judge and that no matter what He’s got the final word, then i stop judging others. If i stop judging them I can start loving them. Because ultimately i’m in the same place as them. If I see the Bible as a list of rules to follow, I start to judge myself against those rules. Maybe I’m good at keeping the rules so I judge someone else who doesn’t quite measure up. Maybe I’m not so good at keeping them so I try harder and eventually burn out trying to measure up.

What I believe about the world will change how I approach life.
How I approach life will change what I do during my time here.
What I believe affects every area of my life.

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