Me and Jacob

Me and Jacob

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Socially Acceptable Christianity

       I recently saw an article about the Duggars disowning a family member for being pregnant out of wedlock. I didn't read the article and I don't plan to. I don't even know if it's true or not. I really hope it's not true. However, this is not a bash the Duggars article. Although I don't agree with everything the Duggars stand for, It was simply the title of that article that brought this issue back up in my mind.

       So many times in the last few years I've witnessed Christians using social norms as the standard for Christianity. Society and maybe even some churches and pastors give us false instruction on how to deal with issues that are taboo or "against" the Word of God. The world expects us to act a certain way and we fall into the dangerous traps of giving them what they want. It's dangerous because sometimes our actions are actually very contradictory to what Christ lived while He was here on earth. Even more than that, He actually called people to do things that were opposite of what the world expected.

       Jesus began going against social norms the day that he was conceived in Mary's womb. She was a virgin. A young girl who would be mocked, ridiculed and made out to be a liar. I can't imagine being put in her position. Then, an angel appeared to Joseph and told him not be afraid to take Mary as his wife, when society was telling him to divorce her quietly. Then move ahead in the story to the time of His birth. He was a king born in a stable. That pretty much sums up my thought on that. HE was a KING born in a STABLE!!! A king should be born in a palace, on purple sheets, while his mother is being fanned with palm branches and eating peeled grapes!!

       Now, Let's go back to the old testament for a minute to a few stories that stand out to me. Rahab. She was a prostitute that hid Christian spies. God rescued her and her family from Jericho before destroying the city. However, the story doesn't stop there. Rahab (a prostitute may I remind you) was in the lineage of Jesus. He used this woman that was a disgrace to society, saved her from death (both physically and spiritually) AND then brought her to be in the line of Jesus.

       Now I know that this next issue is dying with time, but it was once very relevant and to some it still is. I grew up thinking that we aren't supposed to be with someone that is not our same race. I never understood that since I am part Irish, part Indian, Part English and part whatever else. I look at the story of Ruth and Naomi. To make the story short. Naomi and her husband left Bethlehem and went to Moab because of a famine. Now, in that day it was against Jewish law to marry someone outside of their nation. Naomi's two sons both married moabite women, one of whom was Ruth. Naomi's son's and husband both died and Naomi and Ruth returned to Bethlehem widowed and childless. I can imagine what the people in Bethlehem were whispering..."she disobeyed God, now her kids and husband are dead." or "She's a moabite, she'll never find another husband here." However, in a very interesting story, God redeemed Naomi's family with a kinsman redeemer named Boaz, who married Ruth. Not only did God redeem Naomi's family with this kinsman redeemer, but He restored them, then made them apart of the lineage of Jesus.

     My favorite story of the old testament though, would have to be that of Hosea. I like this story because it mirrors so closely the love that Christ has for us. Read this...

When the Lord began to speak through Hosea , the Lord said to him,
"Go, marry a promiscuous woman and have children with her."
Hosea 1:2a

Wait a second, you are saying that God told Hosea (who was a prophet and a man of God) to marry a woman who likes to sleep around? Yep!! Her name was Gomer and they ended up having three children together, all while she was cheating on Hosea. She ended up running away and found herself on an auction block where she was auctioning herself as a slave. Hosea found out that she was on auction, showed up and paid the highest price to buy her back. Is that not the perfect representation of what Christ did for us? God sent his son to this wretched earth to save us and after time and time again of us running from him and sinning against him, He paid the highest price by dying on a cross for you and me.

      When Jesus was on the earth preforming miracles He did some pretty abnormal things to show His truth and love. He spoke to a Samaritan woman at the well. Totally against society. He stepped in when people were about to do the socially acceptable stoning of an adulterous woman. He spoke to a tax collector and went to his house even though he was hated by everyone. He healed a lame man on the sabbath. He touched lepers. He allowed a man into his close group of friends that not only was an unbeliever but also a betrayer.

      So, when I hear stories of Christians disowning and hating others it makes me wonder if we're just giving in to what society expects. Are we letting social norms form our faith into something that is far different than what God's entire purpose was and is. Are we just pharisees that abide by a law with no love or mercy, pushing people away because they are sinners? Or are we lovers of the truth? Are we willing to step outside of normalcy and follow Christ's example of meeting people in their needs first, loving them and then leading them to repentance?

"A new commandment I give to you, 
that you love one another as I have loved you.
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples."
John 13:34 & 35




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