Antiquarian Anabaptist

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

Respect of Persons

“My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.” James  2:1.

The hardest thing for a person to conceal is his opinion of himself,  including his concept of where others rank in relation to him.

The world has developed a corresponding expertise in detecting hypocrisy in people who profess faith in the atoning blood of Jesus.  We can do our best to cover all outward evidence of our true feelings, but somewhere a little corner will be left showing and it will not go unnoticed.  Those who witness such an affair are likely to conclude, either sadly or triumphantly, that Christianity is more fairy tale than reality.

What do we see when we walk the streets of our cities,?  There are people whose clothes, grooming and confident demeanour speak of success.  Are we intimidated?  Or can we see the lonely and troubled person desperately trying to hide behind the mask of success?

There are other people who are obviously not so successful.  Perhaps we do not see them at all, our eyes slide right past them without even acknowledging that they exist.  They are used to this, but they do see us.  What do our actions tell them about the reality of the salvation story?

There are young people who dress and behave in ways intended to shock their elders.  What is our opinion of them?  Do we remember that these young people are more likely to be admitted to hospital as a result of an attempted suicide than for any other single cause?

Lonely people.  Unhappy, troubled, fearful people.  They are all around us.  Do we judge them too quickly by the masks they have made for themselves?

We are called to lift up the Saviour before a lost and dying world.  We mingle with the crowds, going about our business and perhaps we think no one notices.  But if we have respect of persons, we distort their view of Jesus.  The answer is not to put on a mask ourselves to conceal our attitudes.  That would also block the opportunity for others to see Jesus in us.

As Christian people we must dare to appear before the world without a mask.  Others may need to cover their true feelings and emotions to avoid being hurt by a cruel world.  We have the Comforter.  Others may not dare appear in public unless their mask is securely in place.  We have the armour of God, completely transparent, but completely effective when used.  Others may seek to quiet their inner turmoil with something that comes out of a bottle (liquid or pills).  We have access to the mercy seat, anytime, anywhere.

Sometimes it seems as though the whole world were trying to mend their shattered self-esteems, to heal their wounded egos.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if somewhere there was a group of people who just dropped out of this game?  Who would know that they have a Father in heaven who loves them and that is all that matters?  If this can shine through in those chance encounters as we go about our business, this is what the Lord can use to reveal Himself to a soul that is crying out for help.

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