The Great Impeachment

To anyone who is paying the least bit of attention to what is going on in our country there is one item that is dominating the headlines: the impeachment trial of the President. However it turns out, at least half of the country (approximately) will be self-righteously angry and the other half smugly delighted.

In the grand scheme of history it probably doesn’t amount to much – perhaps a tiny blimp on the radar screen. So why all the fuss? Given that everyone in Washington knew that with the present makeup of the Senate they were unlikely to find him guilty, the real goal seemed to be to simply embarrass the President. Do whatever damage you can.

While I’m not a fan of this president, I can’t help but feel a little bit sorry for him. How would you like to be in his place?

Sure, he may deserve it, but don’t we all?

I’m reminded of the time a woman who had been caught in adultery was dragged before Jesus by a mob of men (John 8:1-11). I find two things especially interesting about this story. First, the man involved didn’t receive the same treatment. After all it takes two to tango (you get the idea), but only the woman is accused. Secondly, it wasn’t really about the woman, it was about Jesus. They were trying to find something that they could use against him, something to discredit him in the eyes of the populous with whom he had become wildly popular (see verse 6). She was simply collateral damage. They used her to get to him.

There’s no question that she was guilty. She didn’t claim otherwise, nor did Jesus say You’ve got the wrong woman. No, they had an adulteress all right. Guilty as charged. Punishable by death according to the Jewish law.

In one of the greatest turn-the-tables-on-them that you’ll ever find, Jesus told them to go ahead and carry out the punishment, but with one caveat, the first rock had to be thrown by someone who was sinless.

Boy, did he know how to break up a crowd! One by one they left with visions of their own sin flashing in their minds.

What about us? What do you think life would be like if we followed that piece of advice?

Go ahead, impeach him, but let the first witness be the one who has never sinned. The one who has no skeletons in his/her closet. That would make for a short trial.

But forget the Washington bubble. You and I live in the real world.

What would our lives be like if we lived by that standard?

Go ahead and get angry at him/her. Go ahead and speak ill of your neighbor. Go ahead and blame your co-worker. Go ahead and yell at your kids. But first just make sure that there’s no sin in your life.

Impossible standard? Sure it is. But then why do any of us think that we have the right to put someone else on trial when we should be standing in front of the mob with them?

He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.

Stay in the Word

Pastor Steve

 

 

Appearance is Everything

We live in a world where most of us make judgements with less than all of the facts. After all, it’s almost impossible to have all of the facts. The problem is that we often don’t even have enough facts but that doesn’t stop us from reaching certain conclusions.

Mary Poppins addressed our penchant for quick assumptions when she sang; A cover is nice, but a cover is not the book. Her point is that you can’t judge people by their looks – there’s more to them than you see on the outside.  There’s some truth to her downhome philosophy. Too often we pass judgment on people based solely on external, even trivial things.

A cover is not the book.

But there are times when we need to pay attention to appearance. Not our physical appearance (although it would help if some people did!) but our spiritual appearance. People make judgements on the authenticity of your spiritual life by how your life appears to them.

1 Thessalonians 5:22 says abstain from every kind of evil. Some of the older translations say abstain from all appearance of evil.  The original word can mean either kind or appearance. There’s really not much difference between the two. Appearing to do evil is one kind of evil. One translation is more general the other is more specific.

Regardless of which translation you prefer, the concept of how we as Christians appear to other people is important. That’s one reason there is an emphasis in the Bible on holiness. Because we are to be holy and we are to appear to be holy.

When people look at us they shouldn’t have to wonder if we are holy or not. They shouldn’t have to think about the rightness or wrongness of our actions.

It’s entirely appropriate in evaluating our actions to ask the question, How does this appear to my neighbor? Do they think that I’m lying? Do they think that I’m cheating my employer? Do they think that I’m committing adultery?

They may jump to the wrong conclusions because they don’t have all of the facts, but that’s really our problem, not theirs. We have to make sure that whatever facts they have, however limited, are in line with the Word of God.

What exactly do people think when they look at me? What does the appearance of my life tell them?

What they think is often determined by what they see. And even if they don’t see it all – or if they see it inaccurately, the burden falls on us.

Appearance is everything.

Stay in the Word

Pastor Steve