Friday, May 19, 2017

Beware the Stone Throwers Web

Since becoming a Christian in 2004, I have heard the message preached (several times) about how we should stay out of the world lest we become infected. I do agree with this on some level of conscience. But only in the sense where we need to be mindful of the allure the darker side of humanity can have on the flesh.

For example, if Mother Teresa hadn’t diligently pursued the Vatican to allow her mission in Calcutta, India, she might not have gone out into the world to help the impoverished people in the slums, embracing the people of different faiths that she found there. 

I have had many conversations with non-Christian friends and family members about their concept of God. Most of them confirmed their belief in God but perceived many in the church to be stone throwers rather than servants like Mother Teresa. 

And, as sad as it is, I do understand why the secular world could have this impression of the church. I have witnessed incidents of segregation in my earlier church life as well. But I still believe most Christians are fundamentally good at heart. However, as passive Christians, we cannot sit in silence and allow the aggressive personalities of a few stone throwers to be the loudest voice for the Christian faith. 

In Matthew 23, Jesus addressed the Pharisees about how on the outside they embodied the look of holiness while on the inside, their hearts, minds, and souls were filthy. They were the religious leaders of the day, who knew the ways of God, who selfishly stirred up the people, and who, at times, turned them into stone throwers. All in the name of religion.

Jesus analogy strikes a distinct contrast between religion and Christianity for us today. He reminds us to be more concerned with what is going on within, making sure our cup is clean on the inside because he knows that for us to live a life pleasing to Him, our outward life must match our inward life. Discernment should always be a virtue of the heart; a heart that’s in sync with God.

I'll be the first to admit that it isn’t easy to become less selfish and more selfless. It’s something I have to work on daily when dealing with the motives of my heart. However, to err is human. We can all be drawn into the "stone throwers web.” 

But it's up to us to resist this enticement. It's up to us to show the world the real heart of the Church, a heart where the majority of its members long to be more Christ-like. And if we can succeed at this, I believe the great works of the Church will stay in the forefront, opening doors for more people to join the fold.

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