It’s our fault. I have said this many times before, and I will say it many times again. Sadly, but without hesitation. I know that Leroy Jethro Gibbs (NCIS for those of you who have lived in a cave for the last 12 years) says that you should never apologize because it is a sign of weakness, but I disagree. Admitting when you have blown it is a sign of humility not weakness, and that is the first step to being strong. And church, we have blown it. Big time. Let me explain.
The reason that the world is in the mess that it is in – from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe – is because Christians have not taken seriously the call to be holy as God is holy. I’m not talking about sinless perfection because the Bible tells us that we have all sinned and we all still sin. I’m talking about being different. That means when we sin, we admit our sin to God and others, we turn from our sin back to God, and we learn from our sin never to do it again. Being different means turning the other cheek when someone strikes you. Being different is loving others even though they hate you. Being different means standing up for what is right even when no one else stands with you. Being different means being like Jesus. Living in righteousness, loving people, and teaching the truth. So will you join with me and say, “Hello. My name is (insert name here), and I have blown it big time.”
You see, I believe that if we lived like this, two things would happen. First, the lost world would take notice. They would recognize that we are not like everyone else. They might even ask why we are different which would give us an open door to share the good news of how Jesus died on the cross for our sins, rose from the dead on the third day, and came to live through us the kind of changed lives they are witnessing. Do you see what would happen? Instead of us having to go out and knock on doors or confront total strangers in the parking lot in order to witness, they would be coming to us. Asking us. Wanting to be like us. Second, if we lived like this, the lost world would believe us when we tell them that we love them. They would believe us when we tell them that just because we teach what the Bible says about sin that we aren’t judging them. They would listen to us as we explained why we believe what we believe. They may not agree with us, but they would listen to us.
Sadly, this is not what the world has seen from us. They see us as being no different. No different in the way that we live. No different in the way that we talk. No different in the way that we dress. No different in the way that we handle conflict. No different in our relationships. No different. So they see no reason to listen to us. They see no reason to change. They see no reason to trust in the Jesus that we preach. It’s like what happened when the man brought his demon-possessed son to the disciples for healing. You see, he believed like most did in his day that the disciples were direct representatives of the Master. If the Master could do something, then so could the disciples. So when the disciples couldn’t heal his son, he just assumed that Jesus couldn’t either. He was wrong, and Jesus showed the father the truth. And one day soon, Jesus will show the lost world the truth. The problem is that when He shows them the truth, He will say, “Depart from me. I never knew you.” And that will be the saddest day ever.