Day 132 – Positively Inclined
On: March 12, 2015 | By: admin
| Under: Blog
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“Master,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.” “Do not stop him,” Jesus said, “for whoever is not against you is for you.” [Luke 9:49-50]
The disciples will have been well miffed. They had failed to shift a demon from the boy at the foot of the mountainside, but here someone else, let’s call him Harold, is apparently usurping the power of Jesus’ name and delivering the goods.
Clearly, Harold was not abusing Jesus’ power or taking His name in vain for his own benefit, otherwise Jesus would have seen through the ruse and had none of it. I think that Harold had witnessed Jesus at work, was probably a follower but not one of the inner group, and was praying with faith for someone he loved. In fact, the criteria set out by Jesus and reviewed on Day 129. Good on yer, Harold!
“For whoever is not against you, is for you.” In a contemporary context, how far does Jesus’ comment extend? “Yes”, presumably, to established Christian denominations other than our own, (Oh, that we were one church, and seen as such), but “no” to cults that distort the gospel or introduce key players others than Jesus.
But what of those, and I know a few as I’m sure we all do, who are not against the Christian faith, but would not darken the doors of a church? Or those with a “festival faith” (call themselves “Christian” and attend church at Christmas and possibly Easter) but have no distinctiveness in their daily living?
Seems to me that many Christians take it upon themselves to be guardians of what they see as appropriate everyday behaviour and, probably without intending to, are seen as judgmental by those who see life through a different prism. Surely this is the wrong way round – assumed guilty until proved innocent! Jesus didn’t say “For whoever is not for you is against you.” It was the other way round.
Surely the world outside the church would find the lifestyle of those inside considerably more attractive if Christians were more positively inclined, taking a more understanding view of them … and left Jesus to do the heavy lifting on conviction of sin.
Lord Jesus, please untangle in my mind how I view people whose words and behaviour don’t align with how I see the world. May I be a “lover of souls”, focussing on the good and listening carefully for Your voice before taking it on myself to challenge the sin in people’s lives. Amen