A teacher of mine once said everything he learned at church as a child could be summed up in the following statement: “God is nice, so you should be nice too.”
We all laughed because we could see how shallow and wrong this statement is, but I’ve realized this kind of thinking can run pretty deep in my own life.
When I have a problem, I’m afraid of burdening people or being negative or even being seen as unspiritual.
Or if a group of Christians are praying, I find myself censoring my prayers according to the theological makeup of the group. Sad, but too often true.
I don’t want to cause a fuss or stand out.
I hate to say it, but this goes against everything the Bible teaches.
Example one. A blind man was sitting by the side of the road as a crowd began to pass by. He asked why all the people were there, and was told Jesus was there. He began to cry out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.” Over and over and over.
In fact, people told him to be quiet. They didn’t want the teacher disrupted. Maybe they found it embarrassing. I don’t know all the reasons.
But guess who got healed that day? And after God had healed him, the crowd praised God (yes, the same people who a few moments before had been hushing a man in need of help).
Or what about the friends who wanted their paralyzed friend to get healed? So many people were already waiting in line they knew it was hopeless.
The polite thing to do would be to walk away. Other people were first. It’s not fair to cut in front.
Thankfully for their friend, they didn’t give in to these kind of excuses (or unbelief). They dug a hole in the roof and let their friend down in front of Jesus! And Jesus actually commended them on their faith!!
Talk about going against American culture. How do you think all the other people who had been patiently waiting felt?
We can read these stories and our eyes glaze over because we’ve heard them so many times before. But if we let them, they can remind us to give up our culture — our “politeness” — and get serious about getting something from God (no matter who we may offend).
That, my friends, is faith.