Crossing the Line
by Edmond Ng
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- And hearing this, Jesus said to them, "It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners." (Mark 2:17 NAS)
Not too long ago, a follower of my Christian blog who knows about my entertainment blog and social networking profile wrote me an e-mail. In it, she told me that the things I wrote and posted at the blog and social networking profile do not reflect well of my testimony as a believer of the faith. This feedback upset me because while my blog and social networking profile primarily cover topics of social interest, at times I would also leave comments on my contacts’ status and share with them my experiences as a Christian. I would relate to them how I handle certain things in life and offer them suggestions based on Christian principles.
Not wanting to stumble anyone in the faith (1 Corinthians 8:9), I did a thorough cleanup to remove a large part of the entertainment information at my blog and social networking profile. Some days after that, seeing no value in continuing with the social networking profile without the information that interests my entertainment contacts, I terminated the account. Now, my entertainment blog has also been streamlined to contain only information about movies, dining and lifestyle, minus topics like night spots, clubbing, women’s apparels, fashion, and modeling. With this change, the ratings and number of visitors to my site dropped to near bottom. My thought in this aftermath is, have I made the right choice? Did not our Lord Himself mingle among sinners to lead them to Himself?
In a sermon I heard some years ago, the speaker said if we are to be so holy to the point of living our lives ascended above ground, we are of no earthly worth to the people around us. I tend to concur with the speaker on this frame of thought. If we are not worth much in this world, then we are of little value in bridging the gap to bring people to the spiritual world. Do not get me wrong, I am not justifying or advocating we should live unholy lives while on earth so as to reach the sinners (Romans 3:5-8). Rather, I am suggesting that we should not live our lives separate from the crowd, like some of the Jews in Jesus’ days who do not associate with Samaritans (John 4:9).
Some of us may argue that the Bible says, "... do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God" (James 4:4 NAS). If we however read this passage carefully, we should realize this ‘friendship with the world’ is referring to our hearts and motives (James 4:1-4). It does not say because we are in the world and not of the world, we should separate ourselves from the world (John 15:19).
Many people seem to think if a person is of a particular faith, he or she should behave in a certain way and do or not do certain things. Such thinking is unrealistic because one cannot live an ascetic or anomic life just because of one’s belief. We know Jesus did not avoid or stay away from sinners. In fact, He even mingled and ate with them (Mark 2:13-17).
The lesson we need to learn here is that in the real world the line between secular and spiritual life is inseparable. Knowing this, we should always keep in check to draw the line between what’s profanity and what’s permissible. We must stay alert, yet not separate ourselves from others, but keep in balance the secular and the spiritual. We must not avoid the crowd or draw the line so clearly that the unsaved cannot cross over from death to life. We should do our best in the secular—which often pays our bills and keeps us alive—so we may have sufficient to share with others and give our lives to serve the Lord.
Thank You, dear Lord, for keeping us alive. We know Lord that while the line between good and evil is clear, between the secular and spiritual, we are sometimes unsure. Help us therefore Lord not to cause anyone to stumble by our actions nor give up on the unsaved because of one decision. Guide us to know where we should draw the line Lord that we may not by mistake cross it.
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