April 24, 2014.
“Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.”
For those of you who think I’m about to lay out a great commentary on what “entertained angels unawares” means, I’m afraid I’m going to have to let you down. The truth of the matter is that the bible is very simple in the places it needs to be but can also be very complex in other places. This is one of those places. However, I think the lesson is all the same. We should always be on the lookout to do something good, because we don’t know who exactly we could be helping. Maybe that cold glass of water came at just the right time in the thirsty guy’s life to make him make a good decision, hypothetically speaking. We simply don’t know.
Today’s post is about a Christian’s character, or at least an aspect of it. I’ve been told that character is what you do when others aren’t looking. For my purposes, I’m going to slightly redefine character as what you do when you think people aren’t looking. In essence, or at least in intention, they are the same. But I believe that someone is always watching. There are few things in life that you can do completely in secret, and those things you can are not usually good deeds (though there are always exceptions). I like what Peter has to say about this.
“Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.”
(1 Peter 2:11-12)
Our conduct should always be honorable, so that when people look to us, they see our good deeds and glorify God. It may not seem like this still happens today. Even if someone does recognize a good deed, they may not attribute that to God. But let me suggest that on some level they do. People know right from wrong, good from bad. Most anyone’s concept of God is good. The concept that God is love, which most of the people in our society who don’t claim to be very religious but accept that there is a God, came from Jesus Christ. Before Christ (with the obvious exception of Judaism), gods were not really looked on as loving. But the Almighty truly is love. He is also righteousness. The two should not be separated.
But what am I saying? I think we should really take a intrinsic look at our character. What do we really do when we think people aren’t looking at us? To we still uphold our values? Do we live to the same standard we display to the world. Listen to the words of our Lord:
“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
Character is what you do when people aren’t look. But I am convinced that someone is always watching. Let us always be who we say we are, wether in secret or in the open.
Suggested Daily Reading: 1 Peter 2-5.
Let your light so shine before men.