SPRINGFIELD, MO. Recently, while waiting for a table in a
restaurant, I struck up a conversation with a fellow patron. He was
cordial, but his remarks were laced with profanity. My initial reaction
was to excuse myself in order to spare my ears and prevent public
embarrassment. But thats not what Jesus would do, I preached
to myself. Jesus would befriend this young man.
So, for the next 15 minutes I listened to his story. He confided
that he was separated from his wife and needed a steady job. After
learning I was a minister, his vocabulary improved considerably and
he confessed that he had turned his back on the church. Then, surprisingly,
he asked me to pray for him.
The encounter illustrated that many believers forfeit ministry opportunities
because theyre offended by the behavior of unbelievers. In fact,
theyre so offended they endeavor to isolate themselves from
"sinners." These so-called "Lysol" Christians
prefer to pretend they live in a sanitized society. They shield their
eyes, cover their ears and feel spiritually clean. But, in doing so,
they seldom respond to the cries or wipe the tears of lost people.
Yes, we should be disturbed by vulgarity. We have reason to protest
obscene television programming and literature. And we should take
steps to guard our hearts and protect our children. But moving to
the Salt Flats of Utah to escape societys offenses is not an
option. That wont bring light to a dark world.
First Peter 2:11,12 says, "I urge you, as aliens and strangers
in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your
soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse
you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God"
We must realize that unbelievers will not acknowledge our deeds or
meet our Savior if we dont get close enough for them to know