Two Wrongs

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, February 24, 2015 0 comments

by Bill Seng

“As it is written: ‘God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.’” ~ Romans 2:24

Last summer, I was still working for my dad, Dr. John Seng O.D., and I was conducting some tests on a patient for him. As I was prepping the machinery, I was talking to the young lady who we were examining. As we spoke, I asked her if she went to church.

“I used to go every Sunday until I was about ten years old. Then my father committed suicide. We had the funeral at our church and the pastor came up to my family and said to us, ‘Your father went straight to hell. Don’t let anyone tell you any different.’ Since then I have never set foot inside of a church.”

My reaction was outrage. I don’t know her father. Maybe he was a good guy, maybe he was a bad guy. I don’t know. But what should a pastor never tell a ten-year-old girl regardless of the circumstances? That her father who just passed away went straight to hell. Needless to say, the church turned her off from that point on.

But was this pastor’s tactic to tell this family that their father was in hell representative of what every pastor, let alone every Christian, believes? No. So why was Christianity as a whole blamed for the judgment dealt out from one pastor? It’s a good question, but nothing new for Christianity.

Despite the fact that the judgment brought upon Christianity as a whole is unwarranted in most cases, it does tell us that the people of the world are looking to us for their moral and spiritual guidance. Therefore, we need to take our words and actions seriously. True, we are not perfect and it would be unfair to judge us for our imperfection, but when we do things that we clearly preach against, we give the devil a foothold in the battle for people’s souls.

On the other hand, let’s be honest with ourselves in acknowledging that the world already has enough false claims against the church as it is. I always hear people calling Christians hypocrites. Granted that is true, but so is everyone else. It’s just that Christians acknowledge their hypocrisy and sin whereas the world, who has no standards by which to judge itself, does not. If you recall Governor Sarah Palin’s run with Senator John McCain for the White House, she was accused of all sorts of things that she was either totally innocent of, or was permitted to do according to law anyway.

Because Saturday Night Live was prepared for her when she hit the national stage, everybody forgot her words and attributed the words of Tina Fey (the comedian who portrayed Palin) to her. Why? Because it was assumed that Palin was a boneheaded Christian woman who everyone supposedly knew said stupid things all of the time. Was it true? Well, no. But the ridicule stuck in a large part because the mainstream media could envision a right-wing loony-tune Christian saying some of the things that Fey said while portraying Palin in her skits. What is our solution?

The solution is simple. Do what is right regardless of what people think about you. People are already watching our real actions. If they see us stumble in real life, we lose our testimony with them (at least for a period of time). If we do what is right, but are accused of doing what is evil, God knows the truth and will reward us for our faithfulness. Let me close with a brief poem of both warning and encouragement:

“People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered;
...Forgive them anyway!
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
...Be kind anyway!
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
...Succeed anyway!
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
...Be honest and frank anyway!
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
...Build anyway!
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
...Be happy anyway!
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
...Do good anyway!
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
...Give the world the best you've got anyway!
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway.”
~Mother Teresa, The Final Analysis