Thursday, 22 March 2012

Sterilized Faith?

As I raise my children, it is constantly on my mind how to make faith real to them. Real in the sense that faith is a living thing within them, not just a vague idea or belief. I read a great article by Jim Daly this week that captured my feelings on this and spurred my mind on about how I can present a more real image of what Jesus working in our lives looks like. Here's an excerpt:

"Our Hands Unsterilized

(Preacher) Clifford Peale was a compassionate man, determined to help anyone who asked. One night, a woman from a local brothel phoned the Peale home. She wanted to know if the minister would come pray with a dying prostitute. Peale agreed, and when he hung up the phone, he said to his son, "Norman, put on your overcoat and come with me on an errand of pastoral mercy."
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Norman's mother gasped. "You are not going to take our 10-year-old son to that place of sin," she said.
"I am," the father replied. "Norman can see Jesus reaching for a sheep who was lost but wants to come home to the Father's house."
Would I have taken my sons along on such a mission? Would you? Peale's story comes from a different era and culture, but it still challenges me. I wonder if we, as parents, often present to our kids a faith that has been overly sterilized, a faith that does not align with the inevitable reality of tougher times. Why should kids continue to find faith relevant if it doesn't appear viable during the good and bad?"

(Jim Daly, Thriving Family)

Too often, I think, we sit in church and associate with other church-goers and we only see a tidied, well-presentable side of the body of Christ. Everyone either has their life fairly well put together, or puts on a show that it is. We have a fear of a life that is messy, trying to shield our families from the potential negative influences. But in this we discount two very important things: 1) our potential to be a positive influence on someone who feels lost and hopeless and 2) the reality that Jesus came to heal the sick, not the healthy.

We don't need to sterilize our faith. The scriptures are replete with examples of people whose lives were upside down, hopeless, lost, and even the epitome of sin. Yet time after time they were touched by the hand of God through people of faith, people like you and me, people who weren't afraid to get their hands dirty in the work of God.

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