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Don’t Snuff Out the Light

A recent reading from Luke demonstrates all too well how We Simply Don’t Get It Sometimes. Here, we read about people following Jesus being quite willing to refuse his mercy to others, which plays out all too often in terms of intolerance. As much as many professing Christians claim to let their light shine and be a good witness, many fall horribly short when it comes to discussing politics or religion, to use a good example.

I’ll admit, I’ve had a few times where I’ve almost “snuffed” out my own Christ-light when hearing or reading certain things about politics (religion, too, but political divisions have been more sharp). Someone I know recently asked me how I manage when someone makes a particularly insensitive remark or shares content implying they agree with the author’s assessment that the other side is stupid.

It’s not a simple answer by any means, but is best summed up in the baptismal covenant. When I affirmed this covenant for myself in confirmation,  I vowed to renounce Satan and also made other vows that included respecting the dignity of every human being.

Respecting the dignity of those who don’t return the favor is hard, since they often can’t see what they’re doing is wrong, God love ’em. However, there are two very different possible ways of dealing with such situations – one, I believe, is God’s way, the other is the other guy’s:

  • I could respect their worth as a child of God, realize that their story varies from mine and maybe influences how they see things, and pray for God to work in their hearts so they may treat others with love and respect
  • I could return the comments about ” Liberals are stupid”, “Perfect proof that all religions is BS”, etc. with comments in a similar vein, but it would, in the end, be more about my anger at being insulted than anyone respecting the other’s dignity

Even though the Episcopal and Evangelical Lutheran baptismal covenants are the ones best-known for including promises about our treatment of others, I think our treatment of people is a good litmus test of how well we’re actually renouncing the devil and his works. We are, after all, called to be representatives of Christ.

Something to think about: would your average discussion of politics or religion draw people to Christ, or push them away? Give it some thought the next time these types of issues come up.


June 20, 2016 - Posted by | Christian Living |

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