I am sad that the Pope has passed on. He was a good man who believed in human rights, especially the rights of the unborn. Watching footage of the viewing this week and the funeral this week has been unbelievable. So many people flocking to Rome in an unprecedented way.
Yet, it also makes me sad to put it in perspective. When Jesus Christ, the Son of the Almighty God, died over 2,000 years ago, he had only a handful of visitors to his tomb. They didn't line up for miles to view his body, nor did they travel thousands of miles to pay their respects. Only a couple disciples and 3 ladies came to honor him.
But then again his tomb is now empty, and we have the privilege of celebrating that every day!
At Bible study last night, we had this great discussion on what it means for Christians to be "yoked together" with unbelievers. Actually we were continuing our study of 2 Corinthians 6:14 when Paul wrote, "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?"
So we studied what it means to be "yoked together" and concluded it mostly referred to legal, contractual arrangements, such as marriage and business partnerships. But then we went off onto defining where the line is, where should our relationships with believers begin and end.
Of course, Jesus communed with sinners even though the Pharisees criticized Him for eating with them and being associated with those who were "unholy". But His purpose was to evangelize, expose sin, and teach them about Himself. So we can't be too high and mighty to associate with non-believers, because our Teacher did.
But what where is that fine line between being friends with the world and yet remembering that our citizenship is in Heaven?
It boiled down to something that I've had on my mind for a long time...that we Christians must be involved in the culture, not alienated from the culture, if we are to influence the culture. We cannot be a light in the darkness if we never venture anywhere near that darkness.
There were some great questions....like if your friend confides in you that he or she is a homosexual, do you continue that friendship? Do you continue being a witness to that person, or do you distance yourself from the sin? Or should you do both?
There is no simple answer, just a guideline. We are called to be the light in darkness, and the salt of the earth. Christ Himself prayed that His disciples would not be taken out of the world, but be left as a witness of His message. I don't think we can do that effectively if we spend all our time bashing the culture instead of getting out hands into the culture and becoming part of it. Are there parts of our culture that we should not embrace? Of course! Do we visit gay bars to evangelize? No. Do we embrace pornography b/c it's just part of the culture? God forbid! But we do love the people, we do view them as Christ viewed them, with love, compassion, and a sincere desire to reconcile them to God. And maybe we worry less about "getting our hands dirty" and more about being that bright light.
Lord, teach me, guide me, in being immersed in culture yet always seeking your honor and glory.
P.S. I don't mention homosexuality or pornography b/c I'm picking on them....they were brought up in our discussion at church, b/c they are things we face every day now, as they become more accepted by our culture. Sin is sin, and God is not a respecter of persons. He sees my sin of laziness just as unholy as the sins of a child molester. Any sin is against God's character, and He cannot tolerate it. But thanks be to God that He has washed me clean through the blood of His Son!