Every Day Light
"My neighbours won't talk to me"
"' be wise as serpents and innocent as doves." (v. 16, RSV)
For reading & meditation:
We are saying that many Christians are ineffective witnesses because they attempt to water down their testimony to avoid persecution - and end up achieving nothing. Once we accept that those who reject Christ and His teaching will also reject us, we will then be free to throw our whole weight on the side of Christ and become fully identified with Him. In following this principle, however, we must be careful that our freedom from fear of rejection does not lead us to become objectionable. I know some Christians who have a hard time from their non-Christian acquaintances, not because of their likeness to Christ, but because of their tactlessness and lack of wisdom. I once met a man who told me he had convincing evidence that he was a true disciple of Christ. I was intrigued to know his reason for thinking this way, and in answer to my question "Why are you so sure?" he replied: "My neighbours won't talk to me and cross to the other side of the road when they see me coming. I take this persecution as proof that I am a true citizen of the kingdom." Some time later, I had occasion to talk to some of this man's neighbours, who told me that the reason they avoided him was because he continually accosted them with questions like "Do you know you are going to hell?" or "What if you were to drop dead at this moment - where would you spend eternity?" The neighbours thought it good policy to avoid him rather than to be faced continually with his belligerence. The man was suffering, not for Christ's sake, but for his own sake.
O God my Father, I see how easy it is to bring suffering and persecution upon myself by my own tactlessness and folly. Help me to object without being objectionable and to disagree without being disagreeable. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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