Monday, September 17, 2012

Don't Kill the Messenger

Friends of Faith:

Have you ever worn a new outfit with a tag still attached? Who laughed behind your back, who told you it was there, and who helped you take it off?
Have you ever been “uncomfortable” speaking the truth because you were afraid of what the other person might think about your honesty?

What about the tougher issues we face—are we willing to be a “best friend” who reminds our friends of God’s moral truths (in kindness and compassion—when our friends ask) or do we ignore what we know is wrong (sin) because we don’t want to be the “messenger who is killed,” the faithful Christian friend who is “rejected?”
Would you be willing to tell a friend that it is not right to use a company car on personal time; to take “fringe benefits” home from the office without permission; or spend the night with someone of the opposite sex before they are married? How often do you speak against revenge, contraception, premarital sex, cohabitation, homosexuality and abortion?

And how do I react when someone tells me the truth? Do I become resentful, rebellious and revengeful towards the messenger—thinking to myself—“oh, now they are judging me?” Or do I accept the truth, take off the tag (change my way), and become grateful that someone had the courage to tell me of my blunder (sin). Do I say “thank you” for the honesty of a best friend? Or do I “kill the messenger?”
"Get behind me, Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do." He summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them, "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it." Mk 8: 27-35

And what about those who don’t “feel comfortable” enough to tell us the truth, who gossip behind our backs about the errors they know we are making? Are they only willing to do or say the truth if it gives them a reward? Are they like the person who says “they have been saved” but who does nothing with the faith they profess?
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well," but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it? So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead. Indeed someone might say, "You have faith and I have works." Demonstrate your faith to me without works, and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works. James 2:14-18

Are we only willing to be the messenger, the bearer and doer of difficult truths, God’s truths, when we see something in it for us? 
Ten of the apostles were killed for following Christ. Many prophets and saints became martyrs, including some at Columbine High School. And we were saved because Christ was crucified. They all said YES to being God’s messengers.

So be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and handed himself over for us as a sacrificial offering to God for a fragrant aroma. Immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be mentioned among you, as is fitting among holy ones, no obscenity or silly or suggestive talk, which is out of place, but instead, thanksgiving. Eph 5:1-4
Heavenly Father, you gave us your Son so that we might be saved. Help me to express my gratitude for his suffering by being truthful and honoring your commandments even when it is difficult and I am persecuted for my Christian convictions. Thank you for the spiritual gifts of wisdom and fear of the Lord which allow me to not fear being Your messenger. Amen.

Demonstrate your faith, but don’t kill the messenger—we are both the friend who needs to say the truth and the friend who needs to hear the truth.


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