March 5, 2012 Ė The Fat, Dull, Blind, and Deaf Christian
15 For this nationís heart has grown gross (fat and dull), and their ears heavy and difficult of hearing, and their eyes they have tightly closed, least they see and perceive with their eyes, and hear and comprehend the sense with their ears, and grasp and understand with their heart, and turn and I should heal them. Ė Matthew 13:15 AMP
Todayís verse is words straight from the mouth of Jesus. When questioned by His disciples as to why He spoke in parables, He provided this as part of His answer. It sounds a lot like the world we live in today. Our faith as a general rule is bashed at almost every turn by a society which calls our beliefs rigid or not inclusive. But letís look a little closer at the world in Jesusí day.
In Jesusí day, Judea was a province of the Roman Empire. There were regional governors who looked after affairs locally, but all important decisions rested in Rome with the decisions of Roman Senate and the ruling Caesar. Had Rome grown fat and dull? Sure they had. The Roman Empire was running rampant in idolatry. But Jesus wasnít sent to minister to the Roman Empire. He was sent to minister to the Jews. For three years He preached to them on countless occasions, yet in the midst of His ministry, He looked around and said that the Jews had grown fat and dull. They neither heard what they needed to hear nor saw what they needed to see.
If Jesus reacted that way to Judaism almost two thousand years ago, how do you think He would react to Christians today, who seemingly are His close followers? Sure, He would decry the world we all live in, but how would He react to Christians who willingly and knowingly sin but try to cover it up with a bevy of excuses, reasons, and even blame? Would He see churches as places of entertainment or places of repentance?
If you take a long and honest look at the church and the lives of Christians, the results probably wonít surprise. The church itself in recent years has turned into a bunch of good feelings. People feel good about their salvation and their church which always builds up and never tears down. Pastors many times do not preach about sin anymore because they donít know about it, donít care about it, or are too interested in hiding sin of their own. Yes, the church has become fat and dull. But donít sit back and relax because things donít end behind church walls.
Christians individually were probably rejoicing at the previous paragraph. Thatís right, itís the churchís fault that I am like I am. Donít lie to yourself. Anytime a believer swallows a message at church without knowing or caring enough to check up on what he heard, heís just as fat and dull as the church that fed it to him. A Christian knows adultery is a sin, yet Christians commit adultery every day. Christians know gossiping is sin, yet they continue to do it, even though they cover it up with phrases like we need to pray for or bless their heart. Who has really grown fat and dull? Christians have, as society has been fat and dull for a very long time.
Jesus said that the fat and dull Jews had become that way because they didnít want to know the truth about themselves. When they looked at themselves with blinders on, they saw a holy and blessed people. They knew that they were chosen by God and stood resolute by Mosaic Law and generations of tradition handed down in the Talmud. And they were waiting for the Messiah to come and restore Israel forever. The problem was that their perception of Who Jesus was didnít match His earthly ministry. Even on the cross, they kept waiting to see if He could save Himself.
Christianity today is in many respects the same. We all have become fat, dull, blind, and deaf. We sit in the comfort of our churches on Sunday morning as homeless people pass by just for a sniff of that double latte and doughnut we only ate half of. We see sin among our fellow believers and turn our backs because itís none of our business. We hear gossiping among church members and pretend we donít hear anything, but stand close enough to hear everything. Society is not the only one who has become, fat, dull, blind, and deaf.
The truth is that, even as I have been writing this blog, I have been searching in vain for a way to reach these people. Then I remembered that I used to be one. I could face the worldís problems just fine, but everyone had better leave my problems alone. I was fat, dull, blind, and deaf to my own situation. When He helped me I was nearly at rock bottom. The problem is that I donít know how to get through to those believers who donít want to hear without themselves being lost in a boat without a paddle. I donít know how to reach them before they reach the end of their rope.
I realize that God has to work in each of us individually. If every Christian had a true, heartfelt desire to know God more every day, then the world would be a different place. A message about sin at church would lead to repentance rather than a desire to change churches. No one would ever turn their backs on the sinful behavior of other believers, but offer correction to them. And when correction is received, it will never be met with any defensive maneuver. Stand for those things today. Be the person God wants you to be, not the person you want to be. Only then will you be able to look back and see the fat, dull, blind, and deaf Christian you used to be.