Here are 3 examples from the life of Jesus that provide wisdom when it comes to dealing with contemporary issues.
MATTHEW 21:12 mentions the time Jesus went into the temple and cleansed it from being used as a place of commerce. Jesus got angry, but not at people; he became angry at causes, and it was not an impulsive anger, but rather a controlled anger designed to do something about an unacceptable situation, particularly in a place of worship. As one of my friends said recently, Jesus might have gone by the temple several times prior and observed what was going on. He decided to do something about it. From what things might Jesus cleanse the Church today?
JOHN 4:3-14 relates the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well. Here he accepted a person of a different race and ethnic background. He chose to associate with someone who was considered an outcast, and other people of his culture wanted nothing to do with. Are there people in my life and your life that we need to love and accept even though no one else wants to?
JOHN 8:11 is the passage from where we get the phrase, "let him who is without sin cast the first stone." In this particular case it refers to adultery, but of course, it could refer to lots of other issues. Rather than condemning the woman and allowing others to do the same, Jesus spoke this phrase. Then he said something else that is often overlooked. He continued by saying, "Go and sin no more." The modern day version of this would be, "Stop doing what you are doing and change your ways." Unfortunately, that would not go over to well in our society today.
What are further applications from these 3 stories?
1. Jesus wants His Church to be used for its intended purpose, which is worship, prayer, and the teaching of spiritual truth, not for prosperity theology, commerce, or anything else that does not belong.
2. It is justified to be angry at injustice, lack of morality, certain social issues, or organizations that operate with deceit, and lots of other things. On the other hand we should never become angry at an individual who might be a victim of such. Case in point: We SHOULD vent our anger at organizations like Planned Parenthood which lie to and deceive women, and deny medical facts, all in the name of making a profit, but we must also have compassion on the women who are victims of that deceit.
3. Racial prejudice and segregation does not belong in the Church. Neither should any person ever be shunned or looked down upon because he or she is of a different social or economic status. Everyone is considered equal in God's eyes. It is sad that local churches are some of the most segregated places in our culture. Other than a language barrier in some cases, I can think of no reason for that to be.
4. We have heard it said many times that we are not to judge others. We are all sinners in one way or another. However, not judging does not mean looking the other way as if there is nothing wrong with what someone is doing. Not judging is not the same as being tolerant. We must gently and patiently help people see the error of their ways, as it says in II Timothy 2:24-26. This can apply to a host of social and religious issues of our day.
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