Being Human Among the Humans
edited: Sunday, January 21, 2007
By Michael W. Curry
Not "rated" by the Author.
Posted: Tuesday, August 27, 2002
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I'm a Christian teacher in a public high school. Needless to say, things can get touchy. Here's my approach as I ready myself for the front lines.
Another school year is fast approaching and summer is fading away quicker than the attention of those kids who attended summer school. As a teacher and practicing Christian, there are some things I have to do to get ready for it. It's not just a physical thing. It's a mind-set and (more importantly) a Spiritual thing.
As a teacher, it's my duty to educate my students in my subject areas. Likewise, as a Christian, it's my calling to live my life in such a way that Christ is evident in me. Since I fall short of God's glory despite my best intentions, I pray that my intentions are blessed and that God uses them despite my short-comings and faults. "I must decrease so that He might increase."
To be an effective teacher, I have to know my stuff, offer it in such a way that my students see the value in it, and be open to the testing of that subject matter through questioning and application. The same applies to my calling as a Christian. "Taste and see that the Lord is good." How can someone taste it if I'm a bitter, sour dish? This brings me to a few of the affirmations that I have to remind myself.
#1. Love the sinner... hate the sin. This one should be self-explanatory yet it's the one that most Christians forget. Just like Christ does with us, so are we to do to them. We are sinners too and we fought (and still do) against the Lord in our various ways before surrendering to the proddings of His Holy Spirit. "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Our sins make us just as worthy of hell as their sins. The only difference between them and us is our acceptance of His forgiveness. As a by-product, we should try to live in such a way that attracts them to His light. Not away from it! Practice the golden rule. Joking around with a punk rocker doesn't mean you listen to satanic music. Sharing a Diet Pepsi with a homosexual doesn't mean you endorse their chosen lifestyle. Hugging a Buddhist doesn't mean you've been unfaithful to God. What it does mean is that you are approachable. You are an open door. You have a certain, appealing light shining from you that can't quite be explained. Bridges are built instead of barriers.
#2. Tolerance is not the same as acceptance. The Lord put up with us despite our sinful nature. Jesus ate with the prostitutes and the criminals. "It is not the healthy who need the physician." Loving a sinner in a Christ-like manner and treating them like you would want to be treated doesn't mean you support the sinful things they do. Talking to them in the park or giving them a ride to the store doesn't mean that you are subscribing to their interpretation of the way life works. And if it ever comes down to rebuke and admonishment, it isn't for spiteful or vengeful reasons. It's done out of love just as our Father admonishes us. When you do all you can do to get a family member off of drugs, are you being insensitive? Are you abusing their rights? Are you being judgmental? Of course not! You do it because you love them and want the best for them. How helpful are you being if you just let them go about abusing the stuff? Jesus has shown us that a person can maintain his/her high calling while being human with them at the same time. "Walk in the world, not of the world." Paul said it best in 1st Corinthians 9, "For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; and to the Jews I became a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those under the law, I became as one under the law that I might win them likewise. To those without the law, as without the law (not being without law toward God, but under the law of Christ), that I might win those without the law. To the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some."
#3. Judge not lest you be judged. This is probably the most misused verse in the entire Bible. If ever there was a verse used to get someone off their back, this would be it. "Don't judge me!" The thing is, it doesn't mean what they wish it would mean. We are required to make judgments about all things all the time. This verse is simply saying that if we are going to judge someone or something, make sure of your motives. Are you judging someone as worse than yourself? Are you "better" than he or she is? Are you more "deserving" than they are? No! 1st Cor 2:15 says, "The Spiritual man makes judgments about ALL things..." Judging simply means gathering the facts. "By their fruits, ye shall know them." It's not a hard concept. Jesus himself said, "If you see a tree producing bad fruit, cut it down and burn it up." Don't sit up there on your pedestal pointing your "Holier than thou" fingers for the purpose of condemning. The same thing will happen to you. You make judgments to identify things that are detrimental... to help those in trouble... to keep others safe... to offer advice. Don't let them stop you from doing what you know is right simply because they define terms incorrectly.
#4. Do as I say AND as I do. Be a living witness. Practice what I preach. Live the way God commands me to live so that they can have an example to trust. Saying one thing and acting another is one of Satan's most powerful lies. His most destructive weapon comes from supposed "Christians" who proclaim to believe one way yet act another way. Just go to a "Christian" chat room and watch all the various beliefs unfold right before your eyes. Its a complete mish mash of ramblings. If I don't want my students out there drinking and acting promiscuously, then you better not find me out there doing those same things. Back in high school, as a new Christian, I found myself yelling "REPENT!" out of our church bus windows while driving down inner city streets and I thought I was doing the Lord's work. I look back on it now and just cringe! Who was I that they should listen to me? What did those people on the street know about me that would make them see that they needed Christ? Nothing! My witness is worth far more if there are people around to actually see me living it. Not just in victories, but in the failures too. How do I handle it? What will my reactions be? If you say you are a Christian, I can guarantee that you are being watched at all times. In fact, how you act during the the times when you think you are not being observed, says a whole bunch about your God. Telling perfect strangers to repent is easy. Living a Godly life in front of those who know you is the challenge.
I guess I say these things to remind myself of my roots. I was born a sinner. I sin daily in thought, word and deed. Despite this, I believe my God when He says that he has forgiven me my sins... past, present and future. It is my responsibility now to live in such a way that says I am thankful for my salvation and I want others to be curious about it and ask why. Perhaps Peter says it best: "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." 1st Peter 3:15. Keith Green sings it like this: "Just give it your best and pray that it's blessed. He'll take care of the rest."
Hey! Let's be human out there! Bend a little. Be the willow. Sway with the breeze but NEVER lose your roots!
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|Reviewed by Michael Curry
Thanks for your review. It sounds to me like I hit a nerve. Maybe I was supposed to. I really feel like you missed most of the points in the entire article. However, whether it was my bad writing or your obvious disdain toward Christianity could be debated forever. If you are going to subscribe to the current spirit of this age and believe that drugs are ok and random sex is ok and liberal ideology is healthy... then there is nothing I can do to convince you to the contrary. You can rant and rail against the bible all you want but thank God that at least the Bible can be checked for accuracy. It was written thousands of years ago yet by various authors... How did it stay so perfect? Where are the disputes? I dare you to find one that can't be confirmed or explained by another verse somewhere else. You are correct in one thing though. I am a sinner!!! I have plenty of stuff to work on personally. But in the mean time, this world/country is a HUGE mess and I won't delude myself by endorsing things that are obviously destructive and unhealthy for both the mind and the soul. Who's the blind one?
|Reviewed by Joe Blaine (Reader)
|It is literally impossible to "love the sinner hate the sin". Sinning is part of our core identity. Atleast in Christian mythology. The Bible is not perfect. It contains glaring contradictions and inaccuracies. That, and the fact it was written over the coarse of centuries by different authors with different aims doesn't help followers with blind faith. Stop saying "We are all sinners"! That's an unjust attack on the people that aren't Christian. Like the saying goes, "Its your religion, it's your hell, you burn in it". And since when did punk rockers listen to satanic music? Since when do gays and lesbians choose their orientation? Since when did Buddhists not believe in a God? If that's what you believe that's fine. But do not lie to yourself by saying your approachable. Christianity has absolutely no constructive advice to give to people who aren't Christian.
Tolerance is not the same as acceptance. True. Tolerating basically says you don't personally like the action but you can put up with it for awhile. Accepting means there's not much you can do but to deal with it. If only more Christians would choose the latter. And yes, it is selfish and imposing to "do all you can" to get a family member off drugs. Your imposing your beliefs on them. Educating is all you can do. I have a son who occasionally experiments with drugs. Having done my fair share of partying I know what not to take with what, what not to mix with what and what happens when you do. If more parents (and Christians) would get off the notion that drugs are bad (and yet know nothing of them except what they're told) more kids and teenagers would be better off. Parents would be more informative and the child would know he could come to the parent with such a subject without being told the rhetoric that drugs are bad. Most teenagers know better. Helping people with their morality and helping someone in a physical sense are two VERY different things. My advice to Christians: Stop trying to "help" people with morality! Accept some things. Ok so your brother does drugs, so what?! Educate not prohibit. Educate in the true sence of the word. Accept the fact that the bible does not have all the answers. Helping someone in a Christ-like manner is judging, no matter how you look at it. Help someone because it's the right thing to do, not because some book says you should.
Judge not lest Ye be judged. Clear enough. But then go on this display of logic and self-delusion and come up with what you think it really means. You also conveniently skimmed over the actual meaning of it, Luke 6 41 Why do you see the speck in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? 42 Or how can you say to your brother, "Friend, let me take out the speck in your eye," when you yourself do not see the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.
//Matt 7 3 Why do you see the speck in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, "Let me take the speck out of your eye," while the log is in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye. Jesus said, "You see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but you do not see the beam that is in your own eye. 2When you take the beam out of your own eye, then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.
Do as I say AND as I do? That's alittle egocentric isn't it? Blaming Satan is also alittle shallow. Satan didn't make you into a hypocrite, you did. I recommend the movie "Devil's Advocate". Being an "example" taps into your ego and vainity, which is a sin.
Bottom line...you have indirectly showed most of the flaws associated with Christianity. -Joe
|Reviewed by Julie Donner Andersen
|Excellent, Michael! Experience is the greatest teacher of all.
|Reviewed by m j hollingshead
|enjoyed the read|
|Reviewed by Peter Benson
|One of the best delineations of active christianity I have read. I hope you won't mind if I steal it to show people from time to time.|
|Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado
|good advice here. and may god bless you during the school year, and may he protect you and your students from harm and danger. you are in my thoughts and prayers. love, a fellow christian, your friend, karen lynn. ((HUGS))|