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Friday, February 14, 2014

Putting Others to Silence

1 Peter 2:13-17 (ESV)
13 Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, 14 or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. 16 Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. 17 Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.

As I pulled out of my driveway this morning I noticed a used soft drink can in my yard. Evidently, someone had tossed it out of their car as they drove by. Putting this can in my garbage can is no great chore for me but I am upset with the disrespect in which the can was tossed.

I shouldn't be surprised though. Each time I go to the grocery store I have to drive around all the shopping carts which have not been returned to their proper places. I see the fast food containers thrown in the lot. I see those who park their cars in the fire zones to quickly run in.

It isn't rare to see packages opened in the store either. I have seen people caught shoplifting or suddenly "surprised" by the items they have hidden inside other items at the checkout counter.

A couple of days ago I watched an employee of a business push a shopping cart half full of products all around the store. The contents of the cart never changed for the thirty minutes I shopped. I believe he was just pushing a cart to avoid working. I considered going to management but I wasn't sure. The guy walked so confidently around and around and never stopped. I would have thought he was a customer if he wasn't wearing the store uniform.

We live in a fallen world. We should expect a certain amount of sloppiness, disrespect and dishonesty. The world has lowered its own standards by thinking these things are acceptable. They aren't and never will be.

As believers we are to live our lives with such a exemplary lives that we stand out. Those who would like to say that we are sloppy, disrespectful or dishonest will be put to shame at their own accusations. We should live lives of freedom knowing that our Lord owns our allegiance but obeying those in authority over us, honor those around us, loving those who serve the same Lord and fearing God because of our relationship to our Lord rather than because of our supreme allegiance to others. Believers should be the best citizens in the society. We should be the hardest and the best of workers.

We should do all of our work as if we are doing it for Christ. We should treat all with whom we come in contact as if each one is Christ. We should obey those in authority over us as if they are Christ.  (The exception, of course, is when they order us to disobey Christ.) We should silence all who accuse us of evil by their own standard by being the best.

We should stand out so much that they world itself is put to shame.

1 comment:

Anthony Chia said...

It is right, what you said, and it is what the Word calls for. The problem is that the world bombards us with areas or points of emphasis for excellence that are quite different. Not only that, it encourages relentless focus on particular area or point, as if it is alright or excusable if you do extremely well in one, and not in others.

For example, if you could get yourself to be a superb athlete or even coach, you could be excused of many flaws?! The same with other "pursuits", like if you get very rich, if you get to be a great movie star, musician, or a famous news anchor, etc. For example, more than 10 years ago, there was a very well-known and successful news anchor and TV presenter who abused her foreign maid, threw hot water at the maid, slapped her, and pushed her down the stairs! The right things like character, honesty, integrity, love, charitable heart, humility, good works are not emphasized. Not in the schools, and increasingly not even at home. In a meritocratic society like where I am at, it is all about getting ahead, and not to lose out; kiasu, is the colloquial word. It is about you in your own strength, what you can put on the table.

Pressure to conform to the expectations of kiasu parents, schools, society, even government is very strong and often can be opposing to the expectations of the Kingdom of God. The perspective and value-system of the worldview and the Kingdom are very different. That is why we need to develop strong faith to resist the worldview, and stick to the Kingdom's ways, without being irresponsible.

We are to show others, the life prescribed by God, by our living. What kind of advertisement are you for the Kingdom? We have to ask: Am I inaccurate, misleading, an outright contradiction, a hypocrite, or am I a fair representation? If we are not a fair representation, to me, we owe it to God to work on it.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions