My focus for 2014 was perspective, primarily seeing the world from God’s point of view. I wanted to look at my life and the world around me through the eyes of God. This year was a rough year for the world. Gay marriage took the forefront on the news with many Christian businesses and pastors taking a hit both financially and personally. There was more terrorism, more evil and less God. We’ve seen religious leaders fall and watched politicians use religion for their own purposes. Christians have made observations and statements relative to how we should react and we’ve pretended to know the mind of God. But are we really seeing the world from God’s perspective or are our opinions skewed because of how we’ve been treated by the world?
There was a time when I would have thought the views being spouted by many Christian leaders and pastors were right on target with the mind of God; however, this year forced me to look at the world differently.
1 Peter 2:1-12 reads: 2 Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. 2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. 4 As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— 5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For in Scripture it says:
“See, I lay a stone in Zion,
a chosen and precious cornerstone,
and the one who trusts in him
will never be put to shame.”
7 Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe,
“The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone,”
“A stone that causes people to stumble
and a rock that makes them fall.”
They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for.
9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
11 Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
In verses 11-12 we are told that we are temporary residents and foreigners on earth which means we are visitors. The world is not our home. Heaven is.
In verse 1, we are told to rid ourselves of “all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.” We are to live properly among unbelievers so they will see our honorable behavior.
As guests, we are to act as such. We can be godly among the ungodly, holy among the impure and a light in the darkness without being rude, deceitful and unkind. We can live like Believers in a world that hates us without being hypocritical. It is not our responsibility to judge the world, nor are we called to condemn the lifestyle of others. We are, however, called to love others no matter who they are, no matter what they believe or how they live their lives.,
When we are a guest in someone’s home, we don’t tell them how to live their lives or condemn them for every sin we perceive in their lives. We model righteous behavior and shine Christ’s light into their lives,. Our actions may lead them to hate us, deride us or persecute us, but none of these give us freedom to retaliate against them using hateful words, condemnation or judgment. God alone has the authority to judge and condemn.
We have, for a long time, lived like the Earth was ours. We have chosen to berate those who lived less than stellar lives. We have condemned people who have made immoral choices. We have fallen prey to the enemy.
What if we stopped looking at people (both Believers and unbelievers) as sinners and started seeing them as God’s creation? What if, instead of casting stones and condemnation, we demonstrate love and mercy. God loves all people and doesn’t want anyone to die separated from Him. He is patient, long-suffering and merciful. Should we be any less?