Matthew 6:1 – “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.
Last night I was home with my kids, eating fajitas and refried beans. A few hours later I heard it. It sounded like someone set off a bomb in cavern. It smelled like there was a dead animal in the walls. And it tasted like….well, chicken! My son had let out the most raucous, most heinous, most evil body emanation ever! I just about laid hands on him to get the rest of the demons out!
But I couldn’t.
It was so bad that both my daughter and I could only turn away from him and leave him alone for a while in his stink.
Societal Rule #1: When we fart people do not want to be around us.
But how often do we hear people on the street say that they do not want to associate with us as Christians because, not for our beliefs, but how we attack people verbally. I am not going to say that we as Christians should water down our message. NO WAY! And I am not going to say that we should stop telling people what it is that we do believe. Again, NO WAY!
But there are times that we as Christians get on our own agenda, away from God, and turn a theological or apologetic teaching moment into a personal vendetta. Can I get an AMEN? There are times that we “practice our righteousness before others” just to be seen by them.
Romans 12:19 – Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
All too often we feel more religious than others.
What do you think that does to them? Does it pull them closer to the kingdom of God? No, it is a spiritual fart. The minute we begin feeling that we are better than another human being because of the fact that we have given our lives over to Christ, we simply need to remember that those who should have known the Christ, the religious people of the first century, were the target of His rebuke more often than the general sinner on the street.
In my own life, as I was going through my divorce, I acted on my own more often than not because of my anger. It wasn’t until God created in me a new heart that I could actually move beyond that anger and bitterness and show God’s love back to my ex-wife. The Holy Spirit is most powerful when we give control over to Him, not when we fight it the entire way.
2 Peter 1:3 – His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence
Jesus even tells us that in everything we are to show love to everyone. Not just our neighbor, but our enemies. And we are to pray for those who hurt us. Are we to physically or verbally attack back? No. Simply pray. Are we to toilet paper their house or put a flaming bag of dog poop on their door with a note attached that says “Jesus love you?” No. Simply pray.
Matthew 5:43-45 – “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
Are we to proclaim that we are better than those who need Christ? No. Simply pray. The only difference between me and a sinner is that I am a saved sinner.
So rather than going around to everyone proclaiming Christ as if your own farts smell like roses and tea cups, why not smell your own stink and realize that it is ONLY by the grace of God that you are able to share the Good News of the Gospel.
So simply share what Christ has done in your life. Simply show others what He can do in their lives. Save the hardcore theological debates for times when they are more appropriate. The best way to bring someone closer to Christ is not to make loud spiritual farting noises, but to simply love them wherever they are as Christ loved us.