Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Building a Sanitized Barrier Around Ourselves

There are those individuals who are born with a bad immune system and are forced to live their lives in a bubble for protection. But if we all tried to live in bubbles to avoid somehow contracting any disease, it would be destructive of normal human relations. However, we Christians can try to enclose ourselves and our children in a kind of spiritual bubble to avoid any influence from the outside world. Now we are not to love the world and its way of thinking (1 John 2:15-17; Romans 12:1,2; Colossians 2:8). We are also to avoid too casually putting ourselves in the way of temptation (1 Corinthians 3:17,18; 1 Timothy 6:11; 2 Timothy 2:22). But the  avoidance of things God graciously provides for us is not the solution for escaping sin (Colossians 2:20-23; 1 Timothy 4:3,4; Titus 1:15). Further, we are to reach out to those who need to know Christ (1 Corinthians 9:19-23; Luke 15:1-9; Matthew 9:10-13). We cannot follow the ways of the world without caution and not expect to find ourselves gradually conformed to them. But the solution is not to enclose ourselves in a bubble.

Now there is a place for being innocent of evil (Romans 16:19; Ephesians 5:12; 1 Corinthians 15:33). But we are also to know how to confront and deal with evil (2 Corinthians 10:3-6; 2:11; Ephesians 5:13-15). This is a difficult tightrope to walk, and it is more difficult with children, who do need a degree of protection from the evil of the world until they are old enough to deal with it intelligently. But trying to maintain a life of pristine protection from everything wrong in the world results in indignation at everything  that does not seem to fit your standards. It results in overreacting to things like the Wizard of Oz or Harry Potter. Now there is a place for appropriately rebuking wrong (2 Timothy 2:23-26; Galatians 6:1; 1 Peter 3:15), but we should not be surprised if the world is hostile to us (John 15:18-21; 16:1-4; 2 Timothy 3:12). Much less should we construe things in the worst possible way (Proverbs 25:8-10; James 1:19; 1 Corinthians 13:7). And in the final analysis, it is not possible to protect ourselves from every outside influence. By trying to, we can end up weakening our spiritual immune system for dealing with such things. There is a danger of overexposure, especially if there is no balancing exposure to spiritual things. But some measured exposure to how the world thinks is necessary (even for children beyond a certain age) if we are going to avoid being bowled over by it when we seriously encounter it. And if we are to reach out to those around us,  we need to be able to communicate with them where they are.We do not need Christians who are hiding in a bubble, but strong Christians who can take their faith out on the open road.

No comments:

Post a Comment