A few weeks ago there was a news story about a man who’d done something so horrific it shot ugly chills down my spine. I couldn’t fathom its reality. Can such evil really exist today? But what concerned me more was a report that the perpetrator of this horrific act had posted the following on his Facebook status the day before his arrest:
“God is good.”
Having read those words on many a Christian blog and used them myself, it made me think.
The Bible tells us there will be wolves in sheep’s clothing and false prophets to watch out for (Matthew 7:15, NIV). Hitler even had Bible verses, taken out of context, to support his evil agenda.
So what do we do to separate ourselves from those who perpetrate evil? How do we advance the Kingdom of God when it can be associated with such things?
I’ve noticed, recently, many preachers, teachers and writers work to separate themselves from the legalistic brand by changing the lingo. Certain words and phrases used by the Christian community had become overused without a full understanding of their meaning, or aligned with incorrect or incomplete theology. Words associated with legalism, like religion or religious, and to some, even Christian, have been replaced with relationship, Christian spirituality and Christ follower. For some reason this never appeals to me. I guess it’s because when I worked in day care (years ago) I watched kids turn the, then, new term “mentally challenged” into the same slur the old term had become, without batting an eye. Changing the language had only given those intent to misuse it more fodder with which to abuse.
Words are words and are only given meaning in how they are used. Webster is forever making new dictionaries to keep up with the changing contexts of its vocabulary. Words can be used well, but even new and pristine terms can be perverted by evil.
What, then, is the solution? How do Christians, who seek to live their lives according to God’s Word, separate themselves from those who misuse it? I’d suggest, rather than spending your efforts in developing, defining and using a new vocabulary, to take back the meanings God intended for those we have, and expressing them through our actions. Be the tree bearing good fruit (Matthew 7:16). Show others what it means to live as God intended, righteous lives, filled with His Truth, His Love, and His Grace.
It’s good stuff and others need to see how it works!
He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:8, NIV)
Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:15-16, NIV)