Saturday, June 22, 2013

Don’t Mess it Up for the Rest of Em’

“Let not those who hope in you be put to shame through me,
O Lord God of hosts;
let not those who seek you be brought to dishonor through me,
O God of Israel."

            I must admit that I am usually very hesitant to use one verse out of a huge chapter, especially in using the book of Psalms. The reason is that there is a danger of misusing a verse without considering the context of the entire chapter. Looking throughout the rest of the Bible though, this verse seems to apply to a larger usage.
            This Psalmist is being true and honest with his cry to God. He is being pushed and prodded by his enemies but in this moment he is sincere and this verse is evidence of that sincerity. He cries out to God on the behalf of the people and the image of God itself. He does not want to be responsible for being that negative example that often so many people have. For instance, throughout the Hebrew Bible (our Old Testament) Israel constantly brings dishonor by God for how they live. It seems to be a common occurrence. Israel’s enemies mock God and defame him constantly all because they see the often corrupt and hypocritical nature of its people.
            I am not being harsh on Jewish history; this same thing happens today in Christianity. The biggest hindrance for people to become Christians, or even to entertain the idea of its truth claims, are the Christians. It’s really sad, but a lot of people see the hypocrisy and the violence that Christianity has brought and continues to bring.
            We can’t right the wrongs of all history; however, we can show people the truth by how we live our lives. My challenge for you today is to look at yourself and see if you are bringing this shame on the image of God, his message that is found in Jesus, or your fellow believers who are really trying to live the right way. Does this verse ring true in your life, or do you just call yourself a Christian but live in such a way as to bring shame to the message that God has for others? It is a harsh challenge, but we all have to look at our lives and the way we live to see if we are doing more harm than good. You might be a sincere follower of God, yet there might still be things in your life that are giving others the wrong impression. It can range from how you treat your family to what you do outside of church. I know that for myself, I need to check my own heart as well because there are still things that I do that may give people the wrong idea.
Anyway, sorry for the super long message, but I hope you will accept this challenge and see where God can bring you.
Just another dude.