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04 October 2008

Catching Someone's "Stupid"?

In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode Squirrel Jokes (see the whole espisode compressed into 5:42 right here on YouTube), our hero Spongebob has a stand-up comedy routine in which he makes fun of his friend Sandy the Squirrel ("Squirrels are so stupid that..."). After this sentiment has worked its way into the undersea community, we see a mom telling her little fish son in the grocery store regarding Sandy, "Don't get to close to it -- you'll catch its stupid!"

There's our (arguably) culturally-relevant intro. Now the meat of the post...

God, speaking to Israel through his prophet Isaiah, had these words to say to those who were not seeking Him:

Yet they say to each other,
    "Don’t come too close or you will defile me!
I am holier than you!"
    These people are a stench in my nostrils,
    an acrid smell that never goes away.
- Isaiah 65:5 (NLT)

Hey, hey! I think that I may have seen this from time to time in the modern-day church!

In your opinion, how far should one go to get "in the world but not of the world"? Waiting for them to come to a church service? Handing out tracts?

How far is too far? Going to a nightclub? Eating with unbelievers?

In the New Testament, it isn't the unbelieving sinner with whom we're instructed not to associate. It's the one who claims to be a believer but lives in sin. Paul had this to say to the Church in Corinth:

"When I wrote to you before, I told you not to associate with people who indulge in sexual sin. But I wasn’t talking about unbelievers who indulge in sexual sin, or are greedy, or cheat people, or worship idols. You would have to leave this world to avoid people like that. I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people. Don’t even eat with such people.

"It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning. God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, 'You must remove the evil person from among you.'"
- 1 Corinthians 5:9-11 (NLT)


Anonymous said...

This is from my daily devotional book from last weekend:

"The flesh desires to be in control; thereforte it will do anything to have victory over the spirit. We must live in this world, but we are not to be a part of it or to lust after wordly things (see James 4:1). A ship must be in the water in order to do its work, but if the water gets into the ship, it sinks. 'I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me'(Gal 2:20a). If we are to keep from sinking into the world, we must crucify our flesh daily and be alive to Christ (Luke 9:23). That just means to deny doing what our fleshy nature wants to do and do that which our spiritual nature desires to do. When we do that, the battle within each of us will be won on the side of righteousness and what spills out of our lives will affect our relationship with God and others in a positive way."

Hebrews 4:12 tells us that only the Word of God is powerful and effective to determine our motives. Why do we really want to go to the bar? Well, if we are bathed in the Word, our heart and desire and actions should be aligned with God's will. It is the sick (lost) who need a doctor (Savior). We do not need to live greehouse lives where we are isolated from non-believers, but we don't (in my opinion) need to 'seek them out' in their environments. We need to pray for our heart to be ready to share and theirs to be ready to receive. We need to ask God to give us courage to share our faith and then we must obey the call to act when he brings someone in our path that needs to know God loves, heals and forgives.

When we are connected to the Vine, He prepares us for the work and the work for us. That is our responsibility - to stay focused on Him.

In my humble opinion...

Dean Lusk said...

I have lots of thoughts that I didn't get to in the post that I intend to put here, but I don't have time to put 'em all down right now.

To fan flames, I need to mention that Jesus ate with sinners, and it really threw the religious community into a fit.

Everything gets down to our motivation, certainly. But then it goes even further -- how we as Christ-followers view the actions of other Christ-followers. How quick are we to condemn things that other people do (say, if one were to go to a bar and talk to people about Christ without drinking a drop, ever), saying that they should avoid the very appearance of evil?

Does that make sense?

Dean Lusk said...

I'm not suggesting that we all pack up and go to Hooter's or Jimmy's strip bar, by the way! I'm just throwing these things out for dicsussion.

Preston N said...

I think the world has plenty of sinners that we need not go to a bar or a strip club, but how about our next door neighbors or folks we work with? I think we too often get this notion that we must go to places that are a little less than desirable to reach sinners. The truth is we live in a nation that has been saturated with Christianity and most people are very well aware they are not living right before God (aka natural law). I would also say lets make sure we ourselves are solid representatives of Christ, that way when we do go out we have a clear conscience and have nothing that prevents us from speaking into the lives of the lost.

Anonymous said...

My reply also includes thoughts from "Fault Finding is Fun", since both apply to my comment. I will use terms like 'we' and 'us'; we - means the body of beleivers as a whole; us - those reading this comment.

Judging is a very difficult and delicate task in any situation - yet 'we' casually Judge every day, by the clothes we where, the music we listen to, and the company we keep, etc.

1 Corinthians 5:9-11 really startled me when I read it. It immeadiately sent up a RED Flag (Danger, Danger, Danger)

Paul is correct when he said to remove the evil person from inside the church. So who is to judge?; what standard should we adhere to?; and what is the goal or end desire of the judgement?

1. What is the standard for judgement? If you said the Bible, you are only half right; 'we' must meditate on His word and continually pray for the Lords guidance in all areas of our life. By meditating and praying 'we' will get conformation from the Holy Spirit on the proper course of action, even the act of judgement.

2. The judgement lies within the position of authority (Pastor, staff, deacon)

3. Finally, if the judgement is to have any merit; there must be an end goal in mind - this arrogant sinner had to be removed from the the body to protect the rest.

We must be totally in tune with Christ to ensure our judgements are just and fair, no matter what the issue.

Ted Stroup

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