The Limelight and the Shadow (10/20/13)

Read: Jeremiah 35:1-36:32, 1 Timothy 5:1-25, Psalm 89:14-37, Proverbs 25:25-27

Remember, the sins of some people are obvious, leading them to certain judgment. But there are others whose sins will not be revealed until later. In the same way, the good deeds of some people are obvious. And the good deeds done in secret will someday come to light. (1 Timothy 5:24-25)

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Relate: We live in a very public world. Everything is on display. For a politician running for office, the picture from a party thirty years ago could cost him enough votes to lose an election. Actors and athletes and royalty have paparazzi following their every move. I’ve wondered, how easy would it be for me to have dozens of people, cameras at the ready watching my every move? How quickly would they be able to catch me doing something wrong? How long could I go before I snap and end up throwing some poor guy’s camera (or cell phone) into the river? Would that end up getting me labeled by the media as a “rebel” or “antisocial”? We can read about the coming and goings of certain people’s lives, but does that mean we are any closer to truly knowing who they are? We’ve got our hot button issues of what is right and what is wrong, but does that really make us any closer to leading people towards true godliness?

React: Peter was a very public person. We all applaud him when he says “you are the Christ, son of the living God” then just a few seconds later we are all castigating him as Christ says, “Get behind me, Satan.” Peter lived a very public life and he gets to be our model and our scapegoat. But what about Andrew? Without Andrew, there would be no Peter. He brought Peter to Jesus and just about every time we read about Andrew he isn’t saying or doing much… except bringing people to Jesus.

Each of us lives in the limelight and the shadow. We have a public and a private life. The good things in my private life, I am always wishing more people would notice. The bad things in my private life, I pray they never do, at least until God has cleaned house and it is part of my past. But what about when something private in another person’s life becomes public? When they get the praise, do I get jealous? When they take the shame do I gloat? Do I kick them when they’re down? How I speak or react to the public lives of another says a lot more about me than it does about them.

Respond: 

God, I know You are just. You are good. Sometimes I wish that the scales between private life and public justice were more balanced, but only when it would be in my favor. Help me to gain victory over the private weakness in my own life before I speak down on others whose sin has gone public. Help me to rejoice with those who gain public favor now while waiting, trusting You to make all things right. In Your time.

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