Speaking Of Life 1003 | Being Evident to All
Hide the beer—the pastor’s here! Is a cliché lots of us have heard at one time or another. Hide all those bottles and cans—the Christians are coming! They will judge us for sure! Aren’t we growing tired of being thought of as judgmental hypocrites? I know that I am.
It’s not as if we haven’t earned this reputation. Much of the world sees us like Ned Flanders, the tight-laced neighbor on the old Simpsons cartoons. Although this a somewhat unfair stereotype, we can still stop and learn from it.
Christians are often perceived as perhaps reliable and trustworthy, but also over-serious and out of touch. We are seen as unapproachable, not especially kind and definitely not fun. Too often using our religious subculture as a thin mask to cover a spiteful and fearful spirit.
In this vein, we are often encouraged to witness to people in a way that is confrontational and manipulative. If you can’t best someone with the gospel’s logic, then slip it through the back door with slick presentation.
Yet this is not what Paul, the most successful evangelist besides Jesus himself, tells us to be known for. In Philippians 4:5 he writes: “Let your gentleness be evident to all” (NIV). In this passage the word gentleness conveys the meaning of reasonableness and fairness. And being gentle, reasonable and fair is how we reflect Christ to other people. Are we known for this?
Should it be something more like, “Open the door the pastor’s here” or maybe even “Pour a beer, the pastor’s here!” May we be known as someone who welcomes, who brings out the best in someone’s humanity—draws out the image of God in them. Let this be what is evident to all, let this be our witness, that we are the fully loved people of God living out the kingdom of that love in the world.
Not only would this be a vast improvement in public relations for the church, it opens the flow of his love to be shared through us.
I’m Greg Williams, speaking of life.