Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Will We Hallow or Hollow?

Today I had a vivid reminder of something we discussed in class this week.... We are supposed to hallow God's name. But our actions and inactions can have the opposite effect.

Because we bear the name of God as his people,
people will make inferences about God from our behavior. Instead of hallowing God's name, our deeds and misdeeds can “hollow” rather than “hallow” God's name in the eyes of the world.

Several years ago I did something that bothered an older man I knew. (Let's call him Klem.) To this day, Klem holds it against me and behaves with irrational bitterness toward me any time my name is even mentioned. Klem is an outspoken conservative and claims to be a Christian. But he cannot find it in his heart to treat me in a Christian way.

As I told a friend about this today, she replied, “Well Dave, don't you know? Christians are the most unchristian people in the world!" We both laughed at the ironic sound of this statement. But then we moaned as well.

I believe that if I desire God to accept me with all my flaws, I have to be willing to let God accept Klem with all his flaws—and that goes for others like us. We all have flaws. Apparently some of mine really impacted Klem in a way I wish I could make right. But Klem refuses even to speak to me or tell me what I did—that's how badly I affected him.

I think all of this could make our Christianity look bad. But I also think that God will not be mocked. He WILL glorify himself even in this situation. When? Well, that's up to God and his own timing. For now all I can do is let Klem be Klem, and God be God, while I accept responsibility for my part in all this.

Meanwhile, I am resolved to do my best to avoid hurting people again. I will try to live in such a way myself that my actions will have the effect of making my life this prayer: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name!”

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