Today's changing world presents an unprecedented time in history. Changes in values and beliefs, elevation of individualism and relevant truth; all there have people turning from Jesus to other "religions" of idolatry. As the world has changed, so has the American church. While this is not true of all Christians in America, I believe it is partly true that many Christians have become tense, angry, anxious, loud, nervous, verbally accusatory, and filled with animosity and hatred toward other people. Here's a good example to apply to what is wrong with that approach... If you own a piece of furniture that is white and you want it to be blue, you can either scrape off all of the old color, or simply paint it the new color. This begs the question of Christians today... what is in your hand? A scraper, trying to rid the world of the color you do not like, or a brush, filling the world with the color of Christ?
People don't seem to run to Christians who have scrapers in their hands. We point out the flaws of individuals, organizations, governments, leaders, and all those other "evil doers" out there like evil is something new that the world has never experienced. We scrape with our words, emotions, and actions that do nothing more than stir up further animosity toward Jesus and His church.
I believe today, people need Christian Painters... people who carry with them the color of Christ and know how to paint healing, redemption, grace, mercy and justice over the landscape. Again, we paint with the power of Christ that manifests itself in love, mercy, grace, physical-emotional-relational-spiritual healing, freedom, justice, kindness, etc. etc.
Scraping accomplishes the work of the devil's choosing.
Painting accomplishes the work of Jesus Christ.
Scraping is the work of the kingdoms of this world.
Painting is the work of Kingdom of God and of His Christ.
I say this mainly because of the dilemma facing the children of God this election year. We have before us a selection of candidates that leave us with no choices to satisfy our conscience. In any direction we find candidates that stand on principles that are not of the Kingdom of God and we don't know what to do. I hear Christians coining outright nasty names for candidates and saying very pointed schoolyard childish insults at them. I really must ask any of you insult-hurling Christ followers; "Is that really the best way to represent Jesus in this crucial moment in history?"
When we get out our paint scrapers and try to scrape the evil off the world, we are no different than Peter, who thinking he was doing Jesus a big favor, chopped off the ear of the soldier who came to arrest Him. What did Jesus do? He healed his ear, then told Peter to put away his sword.
Put away your paint scraper. Those who live by the scraper will die by the scraper.
Brett Heintzman is passionate about the spiritual formation of God's people. These writings are designed to draw us close to God and to help us live out of the riches of His presence. It's all about being in the world but not of the world.
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