Pastor's Page for May 2, 2009: Worry About Yourself
"Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, "But Lord, what
about this man? Jesus said to him, "If I will that he
remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow
Me." (John 21:21-22, NKJV).
There is so much that is wrong with the world --
strange strains of influenza (swine flu?!), white
collar crooks who started the wheels turning on this
recession that everybody's feeling the pain of,
unjustified wars that have cost thousands of soldiers
lives as well as the lives of innocent Iraqi
civilians. That is to say nothing of the moral decay
of society with the rise in abortions that have
nothing to do with rape or incest but simply with
licentiousness and a concomitant selfishness that is
unwilling to take responsibility for the natural
consequences of certain behaviors.
We could sit up and talk all day about what's wrong
with the world, with our bosses, our co-workers, our
children, our spouses, our fellow congregants, the
pastor, the conference, the Church!
My mom often said to me, "There's more than one way to
skin a cat!" Now, that's a crude image, but her point
is that problems have solutions. You can go about
righting a wrong one way or another way or yet
another. I would, however, depart from Mom's quip by
suggesting that though there may be more than one way
to skin a cat, all methods of cat-skinning are not
How can we stem the tide of moral degradation in our
society? Well, we certainly can join some
anti-abortion group, print up four-color 20x30 posters
of mangled fetuses and scream epithets at the top of
our lungs -- "Murderer! Baby killer!" -- as doctors
and patients go in and out of Planned Parenthood
clinics. That's an option.
I am happy to report that spewing invective at other
human beings is not the only way to stand for a
principled position. That's one way, but there is
another way. Guess what? The alternative has the added
benefit of being an approach that will keep your blood
pressure from going off the charts. What is it, you
ask? It is to affirm the truth you believe in the way
you live your life and among those who are within your
sphere of influence.
One way is to rail against sin and fulminate against
unrighteousness day after day. The other way is to
affirm the truth you believe and lift up the Lord
Jesus Christ in your life.
The first method focuses on what's wrong with others.
The second method demands a level of introspection. Am
I living what I say I believe? Does my life affirm the
confession of my lips? Is my private life morally and
ethically synchronized with my public persona?
The second method has a power to it that the first can
never have. When you focus on affirming truth through
your authentic self, you will find yourself working
for your cause when you don't even intend to. You
don't have to get dressed and prepared to go
picketing. Those closest to you will attest to the
truths you believe because they see it everyday.
Not only that, when you are interacting with people
who may have differing views from you, the Fruit of
the Spirit in your life will make them reconsider
previously held assumptions about people who hold your
particular view. They'll say, "I've never met a
_____________ ____________ like you!"
In John 21 we read that no sooner than impetuous Peter
had been restored to ministry by Christ, he turned
around worrying about the destiny of the disciple
Jesus loved. Peter asked Jesus, "What about him,
Lord?" And Jesus basically told Peter that Peter
needed to worry about Peter. What Peter needed to
concern himself about was whether or not Peter was
We can get so caught up in pointing fingers and
hurling accusations at other people that we are prone
to neglect our high calling. We are privileged to
follow Jesus and to bid others follow Him as well.
Michael Jackson had a song. The lyrics were something
like this: "I'm starting with the man in the mirror /
I'm asking him to change his ways / And no message
could have been any clearer / If you want to make the
world a better place / Take a look at yourself and
then make a change."
The song isn't perfect. The truth is when you look at
yourself, you're powerless to make the change, but you
are able to confess the ugliness you see and ask God
to make the changes. Stop pointing fingers. Examine
yourself. Ask God to make that change!