25 February, 2016 40 days of change-Lent, 2016
Principled -You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. Matthew 5:13
We’ve been thinking of being bold as Christians. But we all know someone who would fall under the description ‘bold as brass’, but the saying should be changed to ‘bold as brass leaf’ for often such a person doesn’t seem to have any substance to their boldness. They are just loud and quite likely somewhat irritating. We are not to be bold for boldness sake, but for Christ sake, which means for the sake of Christ-like principles such as truth, justice, love, mercy, and kindness. These are the good characteristics that make life enjoyable and seem to fight off the less desirable characteristics of falsehood, oppression, hate, pettiness and abuse. Being principled should be a two edged sword, one bringing something good, the other fighting off something bad. It is like salt, it brings taste to food, but also serves as a preservative to stop rot. Principled Christians should have the component of salt. We should be noticed for the good we bring and the bad we resist.
I’m sure Jesus’ very presence raised the positive quotient around him. It seems that he would have been influential just being there. But he didn’t rely on mere presence to call people out to be principled. He was willing to be bold in his pronouncement of the principles he held true. Consider the temple-cleansing story. He saw the money changers making a fortune off the worship of the every day people, and that offended Jesus’s sense of right and wrong. He made it perfectly clear this was not acceptable behaviour in the house of God. Every flick of the whip and crash of the table top as he moved through the temple area would have screamed out ‘this is to be a house of prayer.’ The temple was only going to stand for another 30-40 years after Christ’s visit; he could have just let it go. But this was a principle to be pronounced not just for that temple, but also for the temple that later in the scripture is described as you and I, individually and corporately. It was no time for compromise; it was time to uphold principle.
When’s the last time you made someone take a step back from evil or step forward toward good because of a word you spoke or you being you. If you can’t remember such a time, then maybe it is time. This doesn’t mean dragging a soap box around waiting to drop a pile of salt into every occasion. Remember, the good chef just adds the right amount, often not more than a dash. Look for an opportunity to add a dash. It might be adding your thoughts of purity in discussion of a recent film. It may be affirming someone’s expression of love toward their spouse, rather than teasing. Today look for an opportunity to affirm good and denounce evil. The principles we promote don’t change, but as we promote them we change, as does the world around us.