When I was in high school I was viewed as a “goody good.” If it was questionable I was not going to do it. Looking back I can see some areas where I’m really glad I stuck to my guns and other times I realize through the lens of older age that I really should have just relaxed and enjoyed life a bit, God would have been more pleased with that attitude.
I do not regret the title I was given, but I always noticed that there was this strange uneasiness between me and most of my other class mates. There was an almost anger towards me at some points from them because of my refusal to participate in certain activities. This always confused me. I was not standing on the street corner condemning them to hell, I was not standing in the hallways handing out tracts, nor was I calling their parents and telling on them (truth be told some of their parents would not have cared anyway). For the most part I just kept to myself and figured they are going to do what they are going to do. Live and let live right? Why the anger then? Why the nasty remarks about my “pious attitude?” Today I ran across a verse or scripture that seems to explain this phenomenon, but before I get to that let me make one more point.
I’m not bringing this up now because I hold some kind of weird deep seeded anxiety over how I was treated in high school. For the most part I had a good experience in school. I do not hold any animosity toward any of those guys. They were just as awkward and unsure about life as I was and still am. They simply serve as an example of a trend I see still happening today in my life.
Hebrews 11: 7 says “By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.”
There is a lot being said in this tiny verse of scripture but the point that stands out the most to me is that Noah’s faith condemned the world. That literally means that his faith “rendered another’s wickedness the more evident and censurable.” (blueletterbible.org). In other words the faith of Noah brought to light the shortcomings of everyone around him.
He had a condemning faith.
We hate condemning faith.
When we see someone who truly lives out faith in God it tends to make us uneasy, uncomfortable, and some times down right angry. The sad thing is it’s not just “the world” that rails against true faith in God. A lot of them times it’s Christ’s own bride.
We hear about the guy who leaves his perfect job and moves his family to another country to do mission work and we call him “irresponsible.”
We judge the preacher that leaves an established growing church to help a smaller poorer church and say that he is “forsaking God’s calling.”
We laugh at the mom who leaves the work force to care for her children and call her lazy or we judge the mom who goes back to work to pursue her career and call her selfish.
Is it that these people are irresponsible, selfish, lazy and forsaking God’s calling or is it that their faith is revealing in us a gaping hole that we have worked so hard to cover over?
Let’s face it the biggest problem that the religious leaders of Jesus day had with him was that anytime they were in his presence he revealed their tragic shortcomings simply by his faith in the Father.
If I have learned anything from scripture it is that when we stand in the presence of true faith and holiness it hurts. Even more so when it’s coming from someone close to us.
My gut reaction when I come across someone who is living out true faith in God is to make a million excuses in my mind about why what they are doing is stupid and why I would never do it. I am starting to realize that what I really think is going on is their faith is condemning me and it hurts.
How about you? Do you have a condemning faith or has someones faith ever condemned you?