I don’t know about you. But someone arbitrarily deciding what I should wear or my hairstyle based on my age makes me want to scream!
Who are these self-appointed fashion police?
Deciding what is appropriate. That one size fits all. That diversity is unacceptable.
They are only a reflection of American society at large.
In reality, if you disagree with the status quo. You are ridiculed, even ostracized.
Are all attitudes and behaviors acceptable in a civilized society?
This is where it gets interesting AND complicated for disciples of Christ. Interactions with believers and non-believers can be the same or different. Depending upon the circumstances and what is the Lord’s will.
Perhaps one of the biggest hindrances to authentic, loving interactions is judgment. This is one of the reasons why many flocked to Jesus. He never judged.
Something that forever changed the heart of the Samaritan woman at the well.
(For Jews in Israel, Samaria is a place to be avoided. Before Solomon’s death 1,000 years earlier, the regions of Samaria and Judea were part of a united Israel.
After the rebellion that divided the kingdom, Samaria became a hotbed of idol worship. The northern kings made alliances that corrupted the people by introducing foreign customs and strange gods. They even had the nerve to build a temple to the True God on Mt. Gerizim to rival the one in Jerusalem.
By the time the twelve are traveling with Jesus. It has long been evident that the Samaritans have lost their way. By marrying outsiders, they have polluted the land. Israel’s Jews consider them to be half-breeds— mongrels, and the Jews know to watch out for them or else be bitten by temptation.)
In a small Samaritan town known as Sychar, Jesus and His entourage stopped to rest at the historic well that Jacob gave his son Joseph. It was about noon when Jesus found a spot to sit close to the well. While the disciples ventured off to find provisions.
From His vantage He watched as a Samaritan woman approached to draw some water. Unexpectedly, He spoke to her.
Jesus: Would you draw water and give Me a drink?
Woman: I cannot believe that You, a Jew, would associate with me, a Samaritan woman. Much less ask me to give You a drink.
Jews you see have no dealings with Samaritans. (Also, a man never approaches a woman like this in public. Jesus is breaking accepted social barriers with this confrontation.)
Jesus: You don’t know the gift of God, or who is asking you for a drink of this water from Jacob’s well. Because if you did. You would have asked Him for something greater, and He would have given you the living water.
Woman: Sir, You sit by this deep well a thirsty man without a bucket in sight. Where does this living water come from?
Are You claiming superiority to our father Jacob? Who labored long and hard to dig and maintain this well. So that he could share clean water with his sons, grandchildren and cattle.
Jesus: Drink this water, and your thirst is quenched only for a moment. You must return to this well again and again. I offer water that will become a wellspring within you. That gives life throughout eternity. You will never be thirsty again.
Woman: Please Sir. Give me some of this water. So I’ll never be thirsty and never again have to make the trip to this well.
Jesus: Then bring your husband to Me.
Woman: I do not have a husband.
Jesus: Technically you are telling the truth. But you have had five husbands and are currently living with a man you are not married to.
Woman: Sir, it is obvious to me that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped here on this mountain, but Your people say that Jerusalem is the only place for all to worship. Which is it?
Jesus: Woman, I tell you that neither is so. Believe this. A new day is coming—in fact it’s already here. When the importance will not be placed on the time and place of worship but on the truthful hearts of worshipers.
You worship what you don’t know while we worship what we do know. For God’s salvation is coming through the Jews.
The Father is spirit, and He is seeking followers whose worship is sourced in truth and deeply spiritual as well. Regardless of whether you are in Jerusalem or on this mountain. If you do not seek the Father, then you do not worship.
Woman: These mysteries will be made clear by He, who is promised, the Anointed One.
Jesus: The Anointed is speaking to you. I am the One you have been looking for.
The disciples returned to Him and gathered around Him in amazement. That He would openly break their customs by speaking to this woman. But none of them would ask Him what He was looking for, or why He was speaking with her.
The woman went back to the town. Leaving her water pot behind. She stopped men and women on the streets and told them about what had happened.
Woman: I met a stranger who knew everything about me. Come and see for yourselves. Can He be the Anointed One?
Meanwhile, because one woman shared with her neighbors how Jesus exposed her past and present, the village of Sychar was transformed. Many Samaritans heard and believed. Luke 4:5-29 and 39
How can you be like Jesus to those “Samaritans” the Lord brings across your path? Giving them heavenly water for their thirsty souls?
Engage and interact with unbelievers.
Approach them. Interact with them as you would your brothers and sisters in Christ.
Do not separate yourself from your community. Adopt alternative speech patterns or languages. Engage in an eccentric lifestyle.
If it is the Lord’s will, disregard social and/or religious customs.
Speak God’s truth compassionately, not judgmentally.
It is the Holy Spirit, not you and I that convicts others of sin.
Speak words of knowledge and wisdom as the Holy Spirit provides. Encouraging and strengthening others. Empowering them to become the beautiful individuals the Lord envisioned when He created them.
Live a lifestyle of worship.
Continually seek the Father and His truth. Do not regulate it to a day of the week inside a building.
Do not allow others to manipulate or bully you. The fear of man will negate your transformation and fulfillment of your Kingdom destiny.
We are all would be wise to heed these words of Jesus in our interactions with others.
If you don’t want to be judged, don’t judge. If you don’t want to be condemned, don’t condemn. If you want to be forgiven, forgive. Don’t hold back— give freely, and you’ll have plenty poured back into your lap— a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, brimming over. You’ll receive in the same measure you give. Luke 6:37-38