Friday, February 01, 2013

No Longer Ignorant

As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance." Peter 1:14

ignorance - "the state or fact of being ignorant : lack of knowledge, education, or awareness."

The passage "your former ignorance," reminds me that many people who do not know Jesus live life differently than Christians.  Why is this significant?  If I begin to expect someone who does not know Jesus to live and act a certain way, than I am doing the kingdom of God a disservice.

Learning that people who are exposed to sin, just you and I are, and have not yet surrendered their lives to Christ, must be a reminder that: a) This world desperately needs Jesus Christ. b) My desire for someone to act a certain way is out of line.  You and I cannot save them, but only point them to Christ through our own surrender to Him.

If I joined a country club that required dues plus certain criteria were met in order to gain entry, it would be solely based on if I could afford the membership and met all the requirements. These members might act and live a certain way and might possibly treat non-members poorly.

The body of Christ not a country club.

At some point in our lives we were ignorant to His kingdom, but through His grace, we have been restored! You and I need to extent such grace to those who need Him now by loving anyone who might cross our path (agape love, which comes from Christ).

Jesus laid out one requirement, "Follow me."  Scripture expounds on what Jesus says in this statement, but it basically means, He wants you and I to completely surrender our lives to Him (heart, mind, soul and strength).  Romans 10:9-10, "because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved."

This makes me consider several questions:
  • Are you and I telling those who might be ignorant to the knowledge of Jesus Christ?
  • Are you and I treating those who might be ignorant in a Christ-like manner?
  • Are you and I allowing our former "passions" to control us now?
  • Are you and I being "obedient children" to Christ?
May the word of God continue to change you and I, that we may point others to Christ; that anyone we communicate with would see, hear, feel and smell Christ all over us.


1 comment:

jayiin mistaya said...

"b) My desire for someone to act a certain way is out of line."

I think this line is a reflection of a lot of things that have helped shape my journey - both before I came to Christ and after.

You and I have talked about this a bit (or maybe more than a bit) before.

I came to a certain understanding long ago, and it hasn't failed me yet: following Christ is a choice. When we, as Christians, demand others live by our 'rules' and 'standards - from how we're 'supposed' (please note the dripping, seething scorn here) to dress in church or what kind of people we're 'supposed' to hate and/or condemn, who we're supposed to vote for - even who and what we're NOT supposed to listen to, watch or interact with.

That kind of exclusion and judgment has always struck me as being diametrically opposed to the inclusive love Christ offers; not accepting and loving people as they are, not as we think they should be, seems to be a pale imitation of God's grace. But it is, perhaps, one of the most powerful and impactful reflections of that grace we can carry with us, no matter how pale that reflection may be.

I work in an environment where Christ is a joke, faith in God is something that is treated as a mental disease or something to be ashamed of in turns. Christianity is often seen as the enemy and Christians are seen as carrying a battle standard of hate, fear and intolerance into every situation - that we are not a community of believers and faithful servants, but an army of spiteful harbingers, bringing with us a dark message of despair, pain and exclusion.

And none of that is because of anything Christ did or anything Christ said. It is because of what His followers have done, and because of what His followers have said.

When I was first really learning about Christ, I often wondered what Christ was saving me from. Saving me from myself? My alleged 'sin' was my own - no one else's. How could a mythic figure dying save me from the mistakes I had made (if they were even mistakes), when I could safely say that I had always tried to be a good person, regardless of who or what I believed in.

And yet, despite this, I struggled to find meaning. I built frameworks around ideas - ideas and frameworks that could never encompass the truth, no matter how hard I tried.

It was when I stepped outside of those ideas and stepped off of my framework and into the confusing and chaotic universe that roiled around me, an decided to let Christ catch me and guide me through it, that I truly understood.

It is not Christ they hate, but it is what people say about Christ - how people represent Christ - that they hate.

That I hated.

That I still hate.

I still hate that people use Christ as a weapon to berate and belittle others who are different than they are, merely because they do not understand that second reminder.