Greetings In The Name Of The Lord:
1 Peter 2:1 (ESV)
1 So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.
Brennan Manning once said, “The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips then walk out the door and deny him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.” Of course some may know this quote as the opening lines of the DC Talk song “What If I Stumble,” but the quote originated with Manning. Whoever said is really not the case, but rather the truth behind the statement is at issue. We often say to those atheists we meet, “How can you not believe in God?” Most of them simply reply, “How can you believe in God and it have no bearing on how you live your life?” That is why Peter tells us to “put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.” The things that Peter is telling us to put away, or probably more appropriate, get rid of, are the things that tear us apart and drive people away from Jesus. The sad reality is that people don’t really have a problem with Jesus, but rather with the people who claim He has changed their lives. In over thirty years of being a Christian, and fifteen years of that as a Pastor, the single most cause of people leaving the church is the people in the church. Time and time again I have invited people to church and have them turn me down because when they were younger someone in church treated them unkindly so they never went back. Recently I sat with another minister and explained to them all of the scars my family has endured over the years because of the way church people have either treated them directly or the way they have treated Tina and I. How sad a statement is that? The one place that you would think that we would be safe from that kind of treatment is in the church, but sadly it happens all too often. It’s no wonder we see people leaving the church in droves and never returning. That is why Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35 , ESV). It is time to stop living like the world and start living like Jesus!