I read this morning that Chris Pratt, the lead actor of Guardians of the galaxy and many other movies, reportedly was “converted” whilst being a waiter and living out of a van! There is a part of me that likes becoming aware that some of the people I see on my screen have a faith in God. However, I also find it odd when people say “you should vote for them as they are Christian!” Just because they claim to follow Christ doesn’t mean their vocal abilities are any better than another person!

If our “faith” has little impact on our behaviour then we fail to be “light” to the world or “salt” purifying and giving our community “the flavour of Christ”. We are called to be set apart, we are “in the world but not of it” so how do we make a difference? If we decide that we are not going to:-

  • swear
  • Tell rude jokes
  • take part in activities that are questionable

Will others not see we are different?

One of my favourite actors has done a few broadway shows and I listened to a recording of one of the songs he sang, I was dismayed to hear him dropping the “f-bomb” in it, I don’t really see the need to swear, there are so many more words in the English language but people seem to resort to the basic four-letter words whenever and how often they feel like it.  I caught myself thinking about whether or not he should have sung/said those things, realising that  I am not “squeaky clean“.

I don’t envy celebrities, as soon as they are semi-famous, people wanna know their business, reporters will look for any “dirty laundry“, one article will say how awesome you are, another one will pull you to pieces for something you did ages ago.  As followers of Christ, we should not judge others, yet we often do!  Jesus loved everyone from the outset, it is not our place to rip someone off a shred, but we are called to challenge others if they are not living as they should, not in public but in private so they can be corrected fairly.

Kim Burrel had been set to appear on Ellen Degeneres’ (or “Ellen Degenerate” as some people apparently call her!) show, however Kim’s comments in her church about the “homosexual spirit” caused that offer to be withdrawn after someone recorded her spiel and posted it online.  Could Kim have had more of an impact if she was “softer” in her approach to homosexuality being a sin and been able to get on Ellen’s show?  Should we all be nicer when it comes to how we talk about sin and everyone’s failure to respect God and our fellow man?

I can recall that in high school, my refusal to swear was something different  to my friends, they kept trying to get me to say swear words and even resorted to German and Spanish to try and trick me!  They made jokes about me getting aroused at images of fully dressed women who had also fur coats on (rather than the naked or half-naked ones my friends obviously enjoyed viewing).  My friends even thought that my unwillingness to cheat in the card game “cheat” was abnormal! It wasn’t a moral decision but the fact that we played with 3 decks of cards totalling at least 156 cards meant i didn’t often need to cheat!

I look back at my life and easily identify times that I could have done better, been nicer, taken more time to think before acting.  I try my best not to be critical of others, but as I have said before:-

The “grass may be greener on the other side” but you don’t know how much work has gone into making it constantly look that way!

On the flip side of that, you or I may look at someone, thinking about how:-

  • useless they appear to be.
  • they really need to “step up” and do more to help their family!
  • they shouldn’t say or do those things you have seen or heard them doing.
  • unloving and disrespectful they appear to be.

Yet as Jesus said “he without sin cast the first stone“, we need to be mindful of our own faults because if we do decide to “pull our neighbour up” on something they have done, we should be prepared for them to do the same! If I am a liar and a thief, I have no right to tell my friend “you shouldn’t be having sex with someone of the same gender!”  Sure we should fight and stand up for our beliefs but there needs to be a balance of love and respect!

Kim saying “homosexuals are gonna die of their sin in 2017” may not have been the best way of handling it, she should have tempered that comment with all the other things God calls a “sin”!  All of us have fallen short of what God expects of us, yet he loves us anyway!  There is more and more hatred & vitriol these days coming from people who should know better!

There are a number of high-profile christians who have been caught out, or have confessed doing things which the bible tells us not to do, but should that mean we dismiss them off hand? If a singer-songwriter who writes amazing songs of worship, commits adultery whether out of wedlock or homosexual, does that mean all their songs are “tainted” with a deceitful spirit?

If someone is holding a position of leadership and they are leading people away from the truth, then sure it is something we need to walk away from, but if what has been said or written by them is “true”, surely God can redeem it?!

I have watched countless youtube videos by people condemning “wolves”, my wife thinks I listen too much to them and not enough of the bible and she has got a point! If we are constantly on the look out for heresy, deceit and evil in our midst, we are doing not much better than those who constantly are after the next “spiritual high”, being as useful as a chocolate teapot and not meeting the needs of those in our community!

This year I am going to try to be more intentional, not sleepwalking through my walk with God, but trying my best to be aware of others needs, the truth of the situations I find myself in and loving others how Jesus would like me to.

What about you? Have you ever been a melted chocolate teapot? Criticising others for their sin-charred kettle butts? Wanna change this year? Don’t make a resolution!  Just do it!