Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Mr. nice guy

I’m reading a book called “No More Christian Nice Guy”. Today’s writing is inspired from some of the things I am learning in the book. Have you ever wondered what the difference between being nice and good is? Do you think Jesus was a nice guy?

He doesn’t play by the rules, confronts people, is opinionated, and filled with strong will. He threatens preachers who are in religion only for the money. He calls His disciples slow learners, wondering out loud how much longer he’ll have to be with them. People are always trying to trick Him so he shows them up publicly and calls them names like snakes and hypocrites and worse!

He verbally rebukes government officials. He says things at church services that basically disrupt the entire meeting. One time he said something so hard that many of His disciples couldn’t take it and left him for good. What did He do? He just watched them walk away. Instead of nervously explaining himself, he turned to the rest of them and asked them if they would like to leave as well.

He sometimes goes to parties and hangs out with others who do. One time he supplied the wine at a wedding where children were likely present.

This does not look like the behavior of a “nice Christian man”. My goodness, He even screams at evil spirits and tells them to shut up! He finally ticks everyone off so badly that they crucify Him! What’s more, this is just some of what we have seen of Him so far.

In the future, He bursts onto the scene riding a battle horse with a sharp sword coming out of His mouth to smite the nations and His eyes ablaze with fire! Are you kidding me?

And today’s church gets this? I don’t think so. I think we have interpreted good to primarily mean nice. But good does not always mean nice. Remember good is opposite of evil. That means it opposes it. Can’t stand it. Is repulsed by it. Listen to Paul…

“Don't just pretend that you love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Stand on the side of the good.” Rom. 12:9

By the way, you might not want to mess with Paul either. He was a powerful force for God as well. He writes again…

“Therefore I have reason to glory in Christ Jesus in the things which pertain to God. For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ has not accomplished through me, in word and deed, to make the Gentiles obedient--in mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God…” Rom. 15:17-19

“Good” turned Paul into a soldier fighting against evil with God’s mighty power. Which brings me to my point: When God’s Spirit produces “goodness” in me, He may not be referring to nice at all. He may be empowering you to stand up for someone else.

The other day Pastor Tim’s son Cameron was playing outside of his house with some friends when a bigger kid started picking on one of his friends. The bully picked him up and threw him into one of those big trash cans and then held down the lid. The boy began to scream and cry out for help when Cameron came to his aid. He told the kid to stop his torment but he just kept holding the lid. What did Cameron do? Did he quote a bible verse? No. He hit him! Go Cameron! The big kid turned his wrath toward Cameron and the other kid escaped from the trash can.

To me, this sounds more like Jesus than anything I have heard lately. It is goodness in action opposing that which is evil. It is a Bible verse incarnated. This is what we mean at our church when we say we want to equip homes so that parents can raise “children who are dangerous to the kingdom of darkness”. Cameron was willing to risk his own safety to save his friend. That’s Christ-likeness.

May you be a force for good! May people know you’re loving but powerful stand for what is right. May you be known for your good heart. May your heart come alive for others. May we fight the good fight!

Have a “good” day,

“I have fought a good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me”—Paul

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