Thursday, March 8, 2012

Whose Ambassadors Are We?

"Now then we are ambassadors for Christ..."  2 Corinthians 5:20  (KJV)

I love going to craft shows...especially ones that sell lots of primitive decor.  Once I found this sign...I fell in love with it, but didn't want to spend the money it cost.  Lo, and behold, sweet Aunt Vaida bought it for me for Christmas that year, and I have cherished it ever since.  It hangs in our dining area, a constant and gentle reminder....

It says, 
"Live in a way that those who know you but don't know God, will come to know God because they know you."

It is a continual reminder to me that we call ourselves Christians.  We claim to know Christ.  We profess to act on His behalf.  We are called His ambassadors.  As I ponder these thoughts, the stark realization hits me that we, as professing Christians control how the world around us perceives Christ.  

Based solely upon me, my attitudes, my behavior, my mindset...if I was the only picture and view of Jesus the world around me would ever see, what kind of a person would they think Him to be?  

An ambassador is someone who represents someone else.  Someone who acts on behalf of another.  

If our ambassadors to other nations were to begin acting on their own will, expressing their own personal views, pushing their own individual agenda....instead of the purpose of our government and nation, the representation they portrayed would not be accurate and they would not be living up to their title.  They are sent to represent America, not their own ideology.  The United States of America is their country, and they are to adhere to its mission....not their own.  And they are continually a direct reflection upon their homeland.  The things they do and the words they say are portraying America in either a negative or a positive light.  

Do others around me come to know God, simply because they know me?  Do I have His attributes?  Do I show His love, His tenderness, His longsuffering, His compassion?  

"Mahatma Ghandi was a Hindu, nevertheless he admired Jesus and often quoted from the Sermon on the Mount.  Once when the missionary E. Stanley Jones met with Ghandi, he asked him a question.

"Mr. Ghandi, though you quote the words of Christ often, why is it that you appear to so adamantly reject becoming His follower?"

"Oh, I don't reject your Christ.  I love your Christ.  It's just that so many of you Christians are so unlike your Christ."  

Apparently Ghandi's rejection of Christianity grew out of an incident that happened when he was a young man practicing law in South Africa.  He had become attracted to the Christian faith, had studied the Bible and the teachings of Jesus, and was seriously exploring becoming a Christian.  And so he decided to attend a church service.  As he came up the steps of the large church where he intended to go, a white South African elder of the church barred his way at the door. 

"Where do you think you're going, kaffir?" the man asked Ghandi in a belligerent tone of voice.

Ghandi replied, "I'd like to attend worship here."

The church elder snarled at him, "There's no room for kaffirs in this church.  Get out of here, or I'll have my assistants throw you down the steps."

From that moment, Ghandi said, he decided to adopt what good he found in Christianity, but would never again consider becoming a Christian if it meant being part of the church."
Taken from John Mark Ministries 
(Copywritten, but with open permission to reproduced)

How do we treat others who are different from us?  Those who have a different religious background?  Those who don't agree with everything we believe?  Are we kind to them?  Do we look down our noses at them...simply because they are different?  Whose ambassador are we, anyway?

Prejudice is ugly, in any form.  Racism is completely against the character of Jesus Christ.  He died for ALL.  He loved ALL.  Do you know we can be spiritually prejudice, as well?  We can judge another simply by the religious label they fall under.  We can act superior and portray a holier-than-thou attitude.  

Proverbs 6:16-19 (KJV) provides a list of seven things God hates.  The very first item on the list is a proud look.  To me, this means haughtiness, feeling like we are above others, and having a high opinion of ourselves.  Did you catch how God feels about this?  It is number ONE on the list of seven things God HATES!  

Jesus Christ was God in the flesh.  He walked among men.  He loved sinners.  Sinners LOVED Him.  They loved to be in His presence.  Do you think they would have flocked to Him if He would have acted better than them?  He ate with them and got down on their level without ever compromising His Own position.  Who are we that we feel like we are any better than anyone else?

Christians....the key to the word is the root....Christ.  If we take on His name, we are automatically His ambassadors, my friend.  It comes with the title.  Are the people around us becoming acquainted with the true person of Christ day by day?  Do they come to know God merely because they know us?

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