When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly. Up to this moment we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world. (1 Corinthians 4:12–13, NIV 1984).
My Musings – Up to this point, post-apostolic period, Christians have generally been held in high regard, at least in the Western world. But we are rapidly returning to our roots as the culture turns against us. Someday, perhaps very soon we will once again be called “the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world.“
How then shall we respond? In like manner? I hope as Paul describes above: blessings, endurance, and kindness. But as I look around, I see way too many responding as the world around us would respond. This should not be. We moan and complain about how the culture is cancelling Christianity (as I wrote about in yesterday’s musings). But as my Pastor mentioned in this past Sunday’s sermon, are we not also cancelling the culture in how we are responding to it?
Jesus, took the Pharisees to task for placing burdens upon the people that they themselves could not bear. Are not we doing the same when we condemn the world for not acting like Christ-followers (at least how Christ-followers should act)? They stand condemned already, they do not need our condemnation. They need the light that we reflect (at least the light we should be reflecting). Righteous-living does not lead to salvation. Salvation leads to righteous living.
My Advice – “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:17-18, 21, NIV 1984). They may still consider us “the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world.” But even then, “it is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. (Romans 12:19, NIV 1984).