I am sure none of you out there who have followed my simple postings on Facebook are in any doubt by now what it takes to be a Saint. I post them daily (or when the body does not fail me) and I KNOW you see what it takes to be one.
The Saints, by the example of their lives, show us how to live a GOOD Christian life. Tolerance, perseverance, understanding, patience with those less spiritually minded, acceptance of God’s will, treating our fellow man and companions with love…plus the virtues spoken of in Galatians 5:22-23
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
I am sure you have seen those around you who THINK they exhibit these characteristics….but sadly, not.
These are the ones who THINK they are so very ~”holier than thou”~…the ones who spout loudly how Christian they are, the ones who “praise Jesus” loudly and flap their lips about how ‘saved’ they are. They THINK they are saints…. and yet…they look down their ecclesiastical noses at other faiths, people who ‘fell away’ from THEIR faith, sneer at anyone who is NOT of their faith….oh yes…you have seen them.
The TRUE person of faith understands what Jesus was talking about in Mark when He was approached by those same “pew pounders” in HIS day…
“While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him.
When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” -Mark 2:15-17
He was not talking about those who already HAVE faith..but those whose faith are NOT as ‘solid’…those who HAVE fallen away from a church, those who do not believe as Christians believe.
We, as Christians, set the example to them of what our faith IS. Do we want them to think of us as intolerant?, arrogant?, merciless?, VAIN?, PRIDEFUL?…or do we want to show them that like Jesus eating with those who were not as solid in the eyes of the church leaders of the time that we TOO are sinners…we TOO fall short in MANY aspects of our own faith.
Back in Jesus’ time there WERE people like this….Sadducees and Pharisees…they were the leaders of the Temple back then…the CLERICS of their time. They thought themselves above everyone else. It was A LOT like modern clerical professions as well….
You see them as well, I know. Those same priests and clerics of all faiths who believe they are above the common person.
Now, some see clerics as these “Holy” and “untouchable” beings…that somehow when they don the collar they are somehow BEYOND the judgement of God. That they can do NO wrong… sorry…not so.
Jesus threw THEM a smackdown as well….Matthew 23 (yes, the ENTIRE CHAPTER) is one big “slap on the face” for ANY cleric who thinks they are too big for their collar.
Where am I going with this, you ask? Well, I have lately been criticized about not “dressing the part” or “acting the part” as they see it in their eyes…
They say “Your supposed to be different”…well…YEAH, I AM.
Just because I am not flouncing about in my robe 24-7 does not mean I am not LEADING BY EXAMPLE with my actions or words.
The clothes DO NOT make the man.
They say “you associate with Islamics, Pagans, and people who are not Christian”….well…YEAH, I DO…reason? I AM FOLLOWING JESUS’ WORDS TO THE LETTER!
“If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?
And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?” -Matthew 5:46-47
I follow HIS lead in “bringing in the lost sheep”…those OUTSIDE of the realm of “The Temple”.
I have read the Holy Books of other faiths…the Qu’ran, The Talmud, The Tora, their sacred scrolls, writings of their prophets, their books of wisdom….why? TO UNDERSTAND THEM…to show them by MY example that not ALL of us are prideful sinners…that we CAN live together in peace.
Do not sneer….they too look at US as “lost sheep”. They ALSO have their faith and those same sinners in it as we.
Do you know the difference between the Jewish Faith, The Islamic Faith, and the Christian Faith??
Islam: Worships God, follows the laws of Abraham and Moses.
Jewish: Worships God, follows the laws of Abraham and Moses.
Christian: Worships God, follows the laws of Abraham and Moses
Yep…pretty much..you can close your jaw now……
The ONLY difference between these three is HOW we worship God, and WHICH prophet, or Saviour they follow….case and point:
Islam: Muhammad is their prophet
Jewish: Moses, and several others.
Christian: Jesus, and several prophets INCLUDING Moses
See? So very much alike, and yet…so very much different.
We are always trying to enforce OUR faith onto others..OUR way of praying, or worshiping, that we cannot see that THEIR faith is almost a mirror reflection of OUR OWN…
What I am saying is EMBRACE THEM AS BROTHERS, and let their faith be THEIR FAITH…and our faith be OURS…
We do not have to “save their souls”… we should be looking to OUR OWN for it is not THEY who will have to answer for OUR sins, nor us THEIRS.
Our faith tells us we are EACH held accountable for OUR deeds as INDIVIDUALS…
“For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body.” -2 Corinthians 5:10
So…where am I going with this diatribe? I will boil it down to ONE VERSE..ONE verse that will sum up how WE as Christians should see EVERYONE…not just those of our “church” or of our “faith”….
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged.
Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned.
Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.
For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” -Luke 6:37-38
So, next time before you sneer…or look down your nose at someone of another faith, or those who do not attend YOUR Church anymore…remember those words….because one day you will be standing before The Throne and you will have to answer to the HIGHEST of judges..not some pompous cleric…not some arrogant minister or rabbi…..you answer to HIM why you chose to not follow His words….