This week a “landmark” announcement and ruling was made that has erupted so many emotions, feelings, thoughts, and debates. Every one of which are full of passion and reason. I tend to steer clear of social media postings in response to most trending political or religious debates. Not because I don’t have an opinion or because I am ashamed or shy about my own thoughts and beliefs, but because I don’t feel it is an appropriate or effective forum for it. Also, I don’t believe that I should have to answer to anyone else about my opinions or beliefs on such topics. This week, however, has stirred up a whole new level of emotions and has caused my spirit to dive to new depths of thought.
Let me first say, this is NOT a hateful, condemning debate on what I believe is right or wrong or what I believe others to be doing as right or wrong. The preceding week’s events have simply opened my eyes and heart to a world full of hurt, blame, hate, misunderstanding, intolerance, and hypocritical judgment.
This week I also happened to receive a package that I have been looking forward to all year…my annual missions trip package! Contained in this special package was our trip shirts. As I pulled out my shirts I was anxious to read the message. Last year we were going to “Do Something”…this year we are to “Be This…Matthew 5:13-14…”
” You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. (14) You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.” NIV
Now, I have pretty much heard my whole life (growing up in a Christian home and being a PK) that we should be the salt and light of the earth. I always just kind of agreed with that “profound” statement but truthfully never fully understood it. I get the whole light part. Being a light in the darkness, a beam of hope, good surrounded by bad. But salt? Why would I want to be compared to salt? Light is bright and beautiful and colorful…salt is…SALT! It’s a rock, you put it on food, too much of it is bad for you…I just didn’t get that analogy. Until recently.
A few weeks ago I did a children’s lesson that introduced the idea of being the salt and the light. Now here I had to present a lesson in an understandable way to kids on something I didn’t fully grasp myself as an adult. The only way I could think to relate this idea was with food. Salt is a seasoning. It makes food taste better, makes it more enticing to eat, it enhances the flavor. We should be that way to other people when it comes to God! We should be making life as a Christian more enticing by enhancing the flavor of God’s word and Jesus’ teachings! Life with Jesus isn’t meant to be bland and boring. It should be full and exciting and passionate! And I got it! I finally understood what it meant to be salt. Honestly, I guess I have always just thought it couldn’t be that simple.
I revisited this scripture a couple days ago as it was starring back at me from my new T-shirt. This never felt so relevant for me and for Christians in general as it does now. God put us all in this great big world together for a reason. He did not separate believers away from non-believers in existence. Jesus didn’t even separate himself from non-believers during his life on earth. There is going to be disagreement and disbelief. It’s not going to be easy and there is not always going to be success. But our calling still remains the same.
“Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness?…You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept…” (MSG) What an amazing insight! How are we supposed to entice souls if we ourselves are hateful and full of bitterness spewing condemnation and wrath at every person who so publicly sins? How are we supposed to convince the lost that God loves them no matter what if we are not willing to show love ourselves? How are we supposed to convince of God’s unquestionable forgiveness if we do not admit our own forgiven sins? (Oh, but that would mean admitting we sin ourselves and are not above others!…self-check!) Showing love, respect, and kindness regardless of the choice of an individual’s lifestyle is not a compromise of personal faith and convictions or Biblical teachings and scripture. In fact it is directly in line with what scripture guides us to do and what Jesus himself practiced. Embracing sinners does not equal embracing sin!
I am saddened by how much disrespect and hatefulness has emerged from all sides, all religions, all genders, all races, all leaders. For “love winning” this week there seems to be an awful lot of hate filling the air. But love did ultimately win. Love won a long time ago when a man willingly sacrificed his life so that an eternity of mankind could have a chance at an eternity of happiness and life.
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13 Love Wins.