Sunday, December 18, 2005

Society and Christians

Society and Christians
By P. Davis
On the one hand we have an attitude of righteousness as Conservative Christians. We condemn certain lifestyles as abhorrent, and declare the judgment of God upon those people. Jesus did this, and it is good that we try to follow in his footsteps. I am told by Bible scholars that Jesus spent the great majority of his time talking about Hell and judgment for those who do not repent.
But let us remember that Jesus also taught us great compassion. One of the many poignant moments that define my life came when I was working with the homeless in Los Angeles. I worked with a friend whom I respected and admired very much. He would often pick out the homeless man who was totally emaciated, perhaps from his alcoholism. Lice often crawled on his shirt, which in any case was dirty beyond description. To these men my friend George would go, and hug the men, saying gentle things which I could not hear, but which often brought a genuine human smile from a poor wretch. Often as not, both would disappear into George’s office, and there he would try to reach through to the man’s soul.
When I think of George I often think of the pictures I would see on TV of Mother Theresa, hugging the lepers and the poor pitiful souls that she would give her life of service to. I am convinced that both George and Mother Theresa had something which I need- something which was also present within Jesus. Remember the woman taken in adultery and about to be stoned? Jesus stood by her side, not praising her lifestyle, but standing against the men who would have taken her life. Those people Jesus reminded of their own sin, and they, being convicted by their own sin left the woman to Jesus. He remonstrated her, telling her to go forth and sin no more.
How can we be a people who are not only counted as being against poor lifestyle choices? How can we become a people who are known for being as compassionate as Jesus, and not compromising His message of sin and grace?

5 comments:

Mr. D said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
David said...

Yes, Mr. D,
I see that the message of coming judgment was Jesus' message, as well as His message of mercy. He always unites the two, mercy and justice, and He does it perfectly. While Jesus didn't read it, His introductory verses to the Nazarenes quoted from Isaiah, included "To proclaim...the day of vengeance of our God." Is. 61:2. He was prophesied that He would "smite the earth with the rod of His mouth, nd with the breath of His lips shall He slay the wicked." Is.11:4. He accomplished His work. But it was quite the surprise to those who were waiting. The first and the last changed places! The requirements of God had been remade completely up-side-down from the truth. And Jesus straightened it all out.
"He shall not fail nor be discouraged, til He have set judgment in the earth."

But He didn't just go in and start slinging a machete. He taught through every means possible. And the result was that multitudes were converted, after His crucifixion, and many priests left tradition and clung to the truth.

I'm sure you know all this, Mr. D, I don't mean to insult your intelligence. But one of the reasons Jesus was so effective and spoke so authoritatively, was that He wasn't afraid to point out sin, and do it with utmost gentleness and kindness. His sword was two edged razors, of mercy and justice blended perfectly.

The church is going no where today until it starts using both edges of His sword. And only those who know His self-sacrifice and gentleness have any business touching the sword of His vengeance.

God bless.

David said...

Yes, Mr. D,
I see that the message of coming judgment was Jesus' message, as well as His message of mercy. He always unites the two, mercy and justice, and He does it perfectly. While Jesus didn't read it, His introductory verses to the Nazarenes quoted from Isaiah, included "To proclaim...the day of vengeance of our God." Is. 61:2. He was prophesied that He would "smite the earth with the rod of His mouth, nd with the breath of His lips shall He slay the wicked." Is.11:4. He accomplished His work. But it was quite the surprise to those who were waiting. The first and the last changed places! The requirements of God had been remade completely up-side-down from the truth. And Jesus straightened it all out.
"He shall not fail nor be discouraged, til He have set judgment in the earth."

But He didn't just go in and start slinging a machete. He taught through every means possible. And the result was that multitudes were converted, after His crucifixion, and many priests left tradition and clung to the truth.

I'm sure you know all this, Mr. D, I don't mean to insult your intelligence. But one of the reasons Jesus was so effective and spoke so authoritatively, was that He wasn't afraid to point out sin, and do it with utmost gentleness and kindness. His sword was two edged razors, of mercy and justice blended perfectly.

The church is going no where today until it starts using both edges of His sword. And only those who know His self-sacrifice and gentleness have any business touching the sword of His vengeance.

God bless.

Mr. D said...

David,
I agree with most of your thoughts. I like your reciting Is. 61, where our Lord so poignantly separated the two comings, sandwiched together in one thought.
However, I am not so sure he always did it with gentleness and kindness. I seem to remember him cleansing the temple with a whip (twice in his ministry)and calling people hypocrites, brood of vipers, etc.
If what you are trying to say is that we should be meek and gentle, I do agree. Jesus was God and had the voice to speak boldly. We are just "one beggar telling another beggar where to get bread".
But we do have the legitimate duty to annouce the coming of the roaring lion of judgment. To do less would fail our calling. And it is going to be simply awful. I just finished Revelation again and it is not a pretty sight!
Pat

David said...

Pat,
We are saying the same thing. John the Baptist and Paul had nothing on Jesus when it came to speaking candidly. Yet, tears were in His voice as He uttered His scathing rebukes. When Jesus came to the top of Mt. Olives on His truimphant entry, He began to weep and sob because the nation that He loved so much had rejected Him. And yet even after they crucified Him, He still held out His offer of pardon for any Jew to accept. We serve a wonderful Father-Friend. As it is written, "He shall be called...the everlasting Father."