|Good Morning Everyone,|
Our theme for this month: “The power of hope”
Our Bible verse for today: “In the same way, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “You can be a source of hope for others”
The great Christian writer Oswald Chambers once observed: “When we meet extra goodness we feel amazingly hopeful about everybody, and when we meet extra badness we feel exactly the opposite.” That’s true. Our attitude, demeanor, and conduct make more of an impression and has a greater impact on others than we realize, and extra goodness is something people in our society need to see a lot more of right now.
In Matthew 5:13-16, which is part of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus was talking about the difference His followers should make in the ordinary everyday ebb and flow of life. He taught that our presence in society should be like salt in meat – it should act as a preservative that prevents it from spoiling and rotting. Then He taught that we should be like a lantern shining spiritual light into dark places. Finally, in verse 16, He says that our good works should shine for all to see and thereby bring glory to God.
When we conduct ourselves in the manner Jesus described, it brings glory to God and it impacts everyone around us in good and positive ways. That’s what Oswald Chambers was writing about. When people see the amazing goodness that Jesus brings out in us, it gives them hope that there is still much good left in this world.
This is especially important in the days we’re living in today. People are angry and loud and sometimes resorting to violence to make their points. Recently I’ve heard some Christians (on both the political right and the political left), argue that it’s reasonable and even necessary for Christians to act that way too, and that we’re being timid if we’re not angry and loud, and maybe even violent.
I disagree. We have no New Testament basis for doing that. There are no passages of New Testament Scripture, no New Testament principles, and no New Testament examples that could be used to justify that kind of conduct on the part of Christians. Jesus, the disciples, and the Apostle Paul all modeled the exact opposite as they dealt with the difficult issues of their day (and they certainly were not timid).
In 1 Peter 3:15-16 we’re told, “Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you. However, do this with gentleness and respect …” In Colossians 4:6 Paul tells us, “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer each person.” So, be bold, speak up, speak truth, and do so without apology, but be respectful and gracious as you’re doing it. That’s what Jesus meant in His illustration of salt and light and it’s what Jesus, the apostles, and Paul all modeled for us.
This does not mean that Christians can’t engage in peaceful protest and reasoned discourse to express and advocate for our concerns – of course we can. As citizens and as Christians we have the constitutional and Biblical right to do that. But angry confrontations and riotous, violent actions? No. There’s simply no New Testament scripture, principle, or model that allows for that.
Jesus intends for our good example to bless and inspire people, and to remind them that there is still much good in the world. In the midst of a society that’s awash in anger and conflict, I encourage you to be the source of extra goodness that Oswald Chambers wrote about, the salt and light that Jesus taught of. You can be a source of hope and encouragement for others by the way you conduct yourself. I hope you will be.
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