I want to begin this evening by reading to you an excerpt from a book that I've mentioned several times from the pulpit, a book called Hide or Seek by Dr. James Dobson. And it may not appear quite at first how this relates, but it will.
Listen if you would. His life began with all the classic handicaps and disadvantages. His mother was a powerfully built, dominating woman who found it difficult to love anyone. She had been married three times and her second husband divorced her because she beat him up regularly. The father of the child I'm describing was her third husband.
He died of a heart attack a few months before the child's birth. As a consequence, the mother had to work long hours from his earliest childhood. She gave him no affection, no love, no discipline, and no training during those early years.
She even forbade him to call her at work. Other children had little to do with him, so he was alone most of the time. He was absolutely rejected from his earliest childhood. He was ugly and poor and untrained and unlovable. When he was 13 years old, a school psychologist commented that he probably didn't even know the meaning of the word love.
During adolescence, the girls would have nothing to do with him and he fought with the boys. Despite a high IQ, he failed academically and finally dropped out during his third year of high school. He thought that he might find a new acceptance in the Marine Corps.
They reportedly billed men and he wanted to be one. But his problems went with him and the other Marines laughed at him and ridiculed him. He fought back, resisted authority, and was court-martialed and thrown out of the Marines with an undesirable discharge. So there he was, a young man in his early 20s, absolutely friendless and shipwrecked. He was small and scrawny in stature.
He had an adolescent squeak to his voice. He was balding. He had no talent, no skill, no sense of worthiness.
He didn't even have a driver's license. Once again, he thought he could run from his problems. So he went to live in a foreign country, but he was rejected thereto.
Nothing had changed. While there, he married a girl who herself had been an illegitimate child and brought her back to America with him. Soon she began to develop the same contempt for him that everyone else had displayed. She bore him two children, but never enjoyed the status and respect that a father should have.
His marriage continued to crumble. His wife demanded more and more things that he could not provide. Instead of being his ally against the bitter world, as he had hoped, she became his most vicious opponent.
She could outfight him and she learned to bully him. On one occasion, she even locked him in the bathroom as a punishment. Finally, she forced him to leave. He tried to make it on his own and was terribly lonely. After days of solitude, he went home and literally begged her to take him back. He surrendered all pride.
He crawled. He accepted humiliation. He came on her terms.
Despite his meager salary, he brought her 78 dollars as a gift, asking her to take it and spend it any way she wished. She laughed at him. She belittled his feeble attempts to supply the family's need. She ridiculed him as a failure.
She made fun of his sexual impotency in front of a friend who was there. At one point, he fell on his knees and wept bitterly as the greater darkness of this private nightmare enveloped him. Finally, in silence, he pleaded no more. No one wanted him.
No one had ever wanted him. He was perhaps the most rejected man of our time. His ego lay shattered in a fragmented dust. The next day, he was a strangely different man. He arose, went to the garage, and took out a rifle that he had hidden there.
He carried it with him to a newly acquired job at a book storage building. And from a window on the sixth floor of that building, shortly after noon, November the 22nd, 1963, he sent two shells crashing into the head of then President John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Lee Harvey Oswald, the rejected, unlovable failure, killed the man who, more than any other man on earth, embodied all the success and beauty and wealth and affection that he lacked. In firing that rifle, he utilized the one skill that he had learned in his entire miserable life.
Dr. Dobson goes on to finish this by saying these things. He says, an understanding of his inner torment and confusion helps us see him not only as a vicious assassin, but also as a pitiful, broken man. Every day of his life, from the lonely days of childhood to the televised moment of his spectacular death, Oswald experienced the crushing awareness of his own inferiority. Finally, as it often does, his grief turned to anger.
The greater tragedy is that Lee Harvey Oswald's plight is not unusual in America today. While others may respond less aggressively, the same consuming awareness of inadequacy can be seen in every avenue of life, in every neighborhood, in every church, and on every campus in America. I have observed that the vast majority of those between 12 and 20 are bitterly disappointed with who and what they are and what they represent.
In a world that worships superstars and miracle men, they look in the mirror for signs of greatness, seeing only a terminal case of acne. Finally, he says, teenagers are by no means alone in this personal devaluation. Every age possesses its own unique threat to self-esteem. Most adults are still attempting to cope with the inferiority they experienced earlier in life. Thus, if inadequacy and inferiority are so universally prevalent at all ages of life, we must ask ourselves why. Why can't our children grow up accepting themselves as they are? Why do so many feel unloved and unlovable? Why are our homes and schools more likely to produce despair and self-hatred than quiet confidence and respect? Why should each child have to bump his head on the same old rock? Good question. And I don't have all the answers, maybe not even most of them.
But I'm convinced that inferiority like this, poor self-esteem like this, develops basically because we operate in this world on a system of evaluating people that's simply not correct. And James this evening in chapter two of his letter is going to address this very subject. And so I'd like to ask you to turn there if you would with me, James chapter two. And we want to talk about partiality, prejudice, and evaluating the worth of people. One of my elders wrote me a note, slipped it in my box this morning and said, you know, I'm having trouble outlining your messages.
Can you help? I said, all right to myself, I will. So here's my outline.
Here it comes. We want to answer three basic questions. Number one, what is partiality?
Partiality that is unbiblical. Question two, how do we show it? And question three, why is it wrong?
Simple enough. Oh, but if we can answer those questions and walk away from here with the answers of those questions gripping our life, it will change the very way we think and evaluate. So I trust you'll listen. And ask the Spirit of God to really make you open to a truth that none of us probably enjoy hearing. James chapter two. First of all, James says in verse one, my brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality. James says, don't do it. Well, if we're going to know what we're not, we're going to not do it.
We have to know what it is that we're not supposed to do. So let's define what is partiality? What is prejudice? Well, as always, I started with the dictionary and the dictionary defines partiality as a tendency to favor someone or something unfairly. And it defined prejudice as an unreasonable bias. Not as just bias or favoritism, but favoritism or bias that has an incorrect basis.
That's the key, a bad basis to it. In fact, in his book, The Roots of Prejudice, Arnold Rose defines it as this. He says, prejudice is the mistreatment of people without their having done anything to merit such mistreatment. And so what is partiality? What is the kind of partiality James says is wrong?
Well, it's judging and condemning and cataloging people based on an incorrect standard of behavior or word. Now we, as people, all have a tendency to do this. You remember our story this morning? Our incident, because it is true, so better word than story is incident, about Samuel going to anoint one of the sons of Jesse. Remember our story?
We don't need to go back to it. But if you'll remember, the sons are all lined up and Samuel is trying to evaluate these people as to their worth, as to their program, as to their part in God's program. And he evaluating them on the human level picks the one that looks the most reasonable, but he was wrong.
And then the next one who looked the most reasonable, but he was wrong. Because he couldn't see what was in their hearts. All he could see was the outward appearance. And that's when God said to him, that very apropos and poignant statement, man looks on the outward appearance, but God sees the heart.
You see, that's why we're prone to prejudice and prone to partiality and prone to misjudging people. Because we can't see hearts. We see the outward appearance.
But the outward appearance is simply not sufficient as a criterion for judgment. And that's why it's great that God sees the heart, isn't it? Because here are all these sons of Jesse who look so good. Ah, but there was a little scrawny runt out there with the sheep whose heart was greater than all these other people. And God saw his heart.
Isn't that tremendous? But you see, that's why we need James to write this to us. Because here was Samuel, a man of God, a great man of God, a sensitive man of God, a man with a close walk with our Lord, and even he judged incorrectly.
You better listen, because I tell you, we're all prone to what James has to talk to us about. It's human. And that's why we're prone to it.
What's partiality? Judging, condemning, cataloging people incorrectly. Now, second question.
How do we do it? Well, let's first see how these believers were doing it. James 2. Verse 2. For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings and fine apparel, and there should also come a poor man in filthy clothes, and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, you sit here in the good place. But you say to the poor man, stand over there.
Or even worse, sit here on the floor by my feet. Verse 4. Have you not shown partiality among yourselves and become judges with evil, or perhaps better, incorrect thoughts? You see, these believers were judging people with regard to their worth based on their money. Now, there were a lot of believers in the early church that were poor. And as Dr. Smith reminded us in our missions conference, most believers in this world are poor monetarily.
We're the exception, not the rule. But there were a few rich believers. There was a Joseph of Arimathea who was able to give the Lord his already purchased tomb. He's a rich fellow. And there was Nicodemus who was a ruler among the Jews and no doubt quite wealthy. And there surely were others who were well off, but the majority of the church was poor. And yet there was the chance that a poor person and a rich person might both show up at church. So here James says in verse 2 that one of each of these types of men shows up at church. And one comes in dressed to the T, in gold rings and fine clothing. So here's a guy.
He shows up at the door. Pierre Cardin's suit. Florsheim shoes. Real leather. Yves Saint Laurent tie to go with his Pierre Cardin suit. Jade cufflinks on his Dior shirt. And to top it off, 100% cashmere overcoat.
Here he is, boy. Decked out and ready to go. And he walks up to the door of a church, followed immediately by a man in shabby clothing.
Not necessarily because of his contempt for God, that isn't why he's dressed in a shabby manner, but dressed in a shabby manner because it's probably the best or the only thing he has. Dungarees with a patch on them. And they both show up to the door. Now you might think that this doesn't happen, but I'll tell you when I first came to the Washington area some 11 years ago, I owned one pair of pants.
That's it. I owned one pair. They were a pair of jeans.
And I worked in them, and I played in them, and I went to church. I didn't sleep in them, but I went to church in them. It was the only pair of pants I had. And right in the seat, they had a big red patch.
How about that? And so when I went to church with my one pair of pants, with the big red patch in the seat, I wasn't coming because I didn't love the Lord. I wasn't wearing those pants because I had contempt or I was a rebel. Those were the only pair of pants I owned. And that can happen.
There's lots of people in the world who don't own but one pair of pants. So here they show up at the door. And Ollie the Usher comes to meet them, and he shakes their hands.
And what does he do, verse 3? Oh, he takes this guy with the cashmere coat, a nice suit, pretty shoes, the jade cufflinks. Oh, it's so great to see you, Mr. Smith.
Great to have you here. Let me escort you to your seat. And in a church like ours, it might be to a front seat. In a good Baptist church, it would be to a back seat. But whatever, the best seat in the house.
And then he goes back and gets our poor friend, shakes his hand because it's his duty. You want a seat? All right, let me see what I can find for you.
Well, I'm not sure I can find you anything. How's the floor sound? I mean, after all, we can't let this guy take up a seat. Somebody more important might come in. We might need that seat.
Let him sit on the floor. And so here, our friend Ollie Usher has concluded that the wealthy man has more innate worth than the poor man and has demonstrated that he thinks that by the way he treated them, respectively. James chapter 2, verse 4. Haven't you shown partiality and become judges with wrong intent? And the kind of partiality he showed, I'm afraid God simply doesn't like. He says he has judged with evil or wrong thought that poor man, before the poor man ever had the chance to demonstrate or display anything about his Christian character or his love for the Lord, he judged the man strictly on whether or not he was dressed as nicely as someone else. And so here he has used an incorrect ruler to measure these men. In this case, money. Now, I've picked on some poor hypothetical Usher up to this point, but it's time to begin meddling. It's time to talk about us and to ask ourselves a question.
How do we tend to do the same thing in 20th century America? Are we guilty of ever doing what James is talking about, maybe not in the exact same context, but still violating the same principle? And it all comes back, when you boil it down to the essence, it all comes back to the issue of how we evaluate somebody's worth. Do we evaluate it based on what God says, or do we evaluate it based on the world, the way the world does it? That's their mistake here. They were evaluating the worth of these men based on a system that the world used, money. Now what systems does the world use?
I'd like to suggest a couple to you. The human system, our world system, evaluates worth based on outward appearance very often. Beauty looks appearance, but God doesn't. Remember what God said to Samuel?
You look on the outward appearance. And Samuel, that's very dangerous, because that's not really how we evaluate people. But that's how the world does it.
Do we do it the world's way or God's way? Now I want to read you another short, very short excerpt. Dr. Dobson was talking about his little girl when she was a toddler. And she was a cute little girl and everybody just cooed over and oohed and awed over. And then she fell down one day and knocked out one of her teeth. And her lips swelled all up and her gums and everything. And it looked somewhat like a congenital condition.
It wasn't. She had just injured her mouth. But it looked as though she was born that way. And then he tells about one night right after that where he took her out.
Listen to what he says. He says, the next evening I took her with me to a store and I had momentarily forgotten about her accident. But I noticed that people were responding differently to her than they had earlier. They would look at her and turn away. Instead of warmth and love and tenderness that was previously offered to her, there was a rejection and a coolness which they unconsciously demonstrated. They weren't trying to be mean.
They simply didn't find her attractive any longer. He says, I was irritated by their reaction because it revealed the injustice of our value system. How unfair, I thought, to reward a child for something that he or she had not earned.
Or worse, to destroy him for circumstances beyond his control. And then he tells about a paper in Chicago many of us will remember a few years ago when those eight nurses were killed in Chicago. And he quotes a Chicago paper that said this, the thing that makes this tragedy much worse is that all eight of these girls were so attractive. In other words, Dobson says, the girls were more valuable human beings because of their beauty, making their loss more tragic.
If one accepts that statement, then the opposite is also true. The murders would have been less tragic if ugly girls were involved. I wonder if we ever do this. Like, oh, I never do.
I bet you you do. I'll bet you if you're really honest, you'll find that you tend to gravitate towards people that are attractive and tend very subtly to gravitate away from people that aren't. If we were really honest, we'd admit it. When we do that, when we see someone who's not a beauty queen and not a Mr. Universe, if there's even that much hesitancy in giving them the same response that we give a beautiful girl or a handsome fellow, then my friends, we're not operating God's way. We're operating man's way. Another way the world does it is the one that James mentioned, and that's money.
Wealth. I'd say, oh, we don't do that. Oh, it doesn't make any difference. Anyone could walk into McLean Bible Church and we'd welcome them with open arms. Well, I hope you would.
But ask yourself a question. How would you feel if someone came in here one Sunday morning in jeans and an old shirt and long hair and a little bit scraggly beard and sat down right next to you? If we're honest, I'll bet you a lot of us honestly would have to say we wouldn't really like it.
Just as soon he sort of sits somewhere else. Or maybe even there's another church down the road that that sort of person really ought to go to. Not here. We're a little bit more sophisticated than that.
I hope you don't think that. Because if we get too sophisticated for people who don't have all the things we have, then God help us. Or how would you like it if we had people lined up here to introduce to you as new members? Would your response be any different if they sat up here with nice suits and designer dresses and nice shoes and, obviously, in hairstyles? Would you be more excited about those people than if we had a group of people up here to present for membership who sort of wore little baggy clothes and slightly scuffed up shoes and maybe their suits were a little wrinkled and maybe their hairstyle was just a little bit out of date? Any difference in your response?
I hope not. Because if there is, then you're evaluating the way the world evaluates, not the way God does. And a third and final way that I'd like to suggest to you that this human world around us evaluates worth is based on intelligence. Based on intelligence. Again I'd like to read from this book and I hope you're getting the point that it would be worthwhile for you to read this book. Again, a very short quote. When the birth of their first born child draws near, parents hope and pray that the baby will be normal, that is average.
But from the moment of the birth on, average simply is not good enough. The child must excel. He must succeed. He must triumph. He must be the first of his age to walk or talk or ride a tricycle. He must earn a stunning report card and amaze his teachers with his wit and his wisdom. He must star in Little League and later on he must quarterback the team or be senior class president or valedictorian.
His sister must be the cheerleader or the soloist or the homecoming queen. Throughout the formative years of childhood his parents give him the same message day after day, we're counting on you to do something fantastic son, now don't disappoint us. To the contrary, Dr. Dobson says, the vast majority of our children are not dazzlingly brilliant, extremely witty, highly coordinated, tremendously talented or universally popular. They're just plain kids with oversized needs to be loved and accepted just as they are.
And because of the unrealistic demands of parents on their intelligence and their achievement, the stage is set for unfulfillable pressure on the younger generation and considerable disappointment for their parents. You do that? Oh, no. Never. Not with my kid.
Alright, let me ask you a couple of questions. How do you or did you respond when your child brings home their report card? At open house, at nursery school, is your ego on the line when you walk in there as the parent of little Billy or little Susie? I'd say, no, no, no problem with me.
Dig one more level. Do your feelings towards your child change when he brings home a D instead of an A? Or do you react any differently to your son or daughter when you go visit their preschool class and their picture in one case is in the front of the room for display or in the other case in the back of the room sort of behind the plant, low on the wall?
Make any difference? A poor picture? Not that you're happy with a D, but does your child's worth depend on that A? Does his acceptance depend on that A? Well, these aren't the only issues that the world's value system uses to evaluate worth.
They're a couple. And if these examples hit home and you're judging people, even your own children, based on a system that isn't in line with the word of God, then you have a serious problem. And your problem is that God says he doesn't like it.
Answer to question number one, what's partiality? It's judging by an improper basis. How do we do it? My friends, if we look deep enough, we would find that Madison Avenue has us so brainwashed that we do it every day over and over and over and we don't even realize we're doing it. But God says he doesn't like it and he's about to tell us why. James chapter 2.
Why is it wrong? Well, verse 5 says, listen, my beloved brethren, has not God chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor man.
Do not the rich oppress you and drag you into courts? Do they not blaspheme the noble name by which you are called? And if you really desire to fulfill the royal law according to the scripture you shall love your neighbor as yourself, you do well. But if you show partiality, you commit sin and are convicted by the law as the transgressor. For whoever keeps the whole law, yet stumbles in one point, is guilty of all. For he who said do not commit adultery also said do not murder. Now if you do not commit adultery but you murder, you have also become a transgressor of the law.
What's James saying? Well, he's going to give us two reasons why God is not happy when we do what he's talking about. And reason number one is that God has chosen people who matter very little on this world scale of importance. God has chosen those people to use to the highest degrees. Now he's talking about the poor here in his actual example, the poor monetarily.
But the principle is the same. He's really talking about anyone in any area of life who is not deemed by the world to be on the top of the ladder. He's talking about some girl who didn't win a beauty contest and really couldn't even afford to enter. He's talking about someone who's not a genius, who doesn't have an IQ of 180. He's talking about someone who didn't go to prep school in Harvard.
He's talking about someone who's not conscious of every social grace. And yet God says he has chosen these kinds of people to be the majority, not the only, but the majority component in his hall of fame of faith. And remember we read this morning, 1 Corinthians chapter 1 verse 26, not many mighty, not many noble.
Oh, there's a few. But the majority component in God's hall of fame of faith is basically poor, powerless, weak people. And conversely the greatest opponents of God in his church down through the ages have been the rich and the powerful, the prima donnas of this world, the kinds of people that this world tends to favor, the kind of people this world tends to be partial to, the kind of people you and I tend to be partial to. And yet they are the ones who have opposed God as a general rule down through the centuries. Verse 6, you've dishonored the poor man.
Do not the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts and blaspheme your God? And so reason number one is that with regard to people and worldly status, God has always tended to choose those on the bottom rungs to be choice vessels. And so the danger is, are we prepared to reject the people that God chooses? Are we prepared to reject the class of people that God loves to choose?
That's dangerous ground. I spoke at a black church in the district a few years ago and most of the people who came to that church were incredibly poor. You could tell by the way they dressed, the way their clothes were, incredibly poor. And I spoke there three Sunday mornings in a Sunday school class to about fifty or sixty of these adults and I didn't expect to get an honorarium. It didn't matter to me.
Maybe if I had been in a white, suburban, middle-class church and they had invited me, perhaps I would have thought, well, I probably will get something. But I didn't even expect it. And at the end of the third week, when I got there, I noticed this big manila envelope passing around. I didn't know what it was.
I didn't even think anything about it. But these people were taking an offering to give me for my time and my trouble. And they handed it to me in an envelope as I left and I said, oh, I really appreciate this and it was great to be with you and I headed on home. Well, I got home and I had this envelope in my pocket so I thought, well, I'll just take it out and just see how much it is. Maybe, you know, I figured, oh, maybe there's fifteen, twenty, thirty dollars in here.
I mean, these people are poor. Most of them are probably given quarters and half dollars and maybe a dollar here, a dollar there. I opened that envelope and actually had to sit down in amazement. That is the single largest honorarium I have ever received in eight years of speaking at different churches. I couldn't believe it. That these poor people, just for a Sunday school class, would give me that kind of money. I really felt guilty taking it. I really wanted to give it back to them. And yet how many of us would be anxious for one of those people to be in our local assembly?
Old coats, old dresses, old pants, old shoes. Ah, but a heart that loved God. A heart rich in faith. And you know, for every one Paul, there are twelve Galileans. For every one Francis Schaeffer, there's a dozen D.L.
Moody's who had a third grade education and worked in a shoe shop. But there's a dozen of them for every Francis Schaeffer. And I praise God for the Pauls and for the Francis Schaeffers. But I say this to you, we had better be very careful when we reject people on the basis of beauty or money or intelligence or worldly power because we may very well be rejecting a great saint in the process. Reason number one why God hates this attitude is because God has chosen the kind of people we tend to reject. But there's a second reason. And if the first one doesn't hit home, I hope this one does.
Reason number two is this. That that kind of attitude, this kind of attitude of judging on outward appearance and these worldly values is a direct infraction of the Word of God. In verse eight, if you really desire to fulfill the royal law, which says you shall love your neighbor as yourself, that's good, God says. But if you show partiality, you commit sin.
That's telling it like it is. My friends, to label people as worthy and unworthy. This person over here, well, I evaluate him, he's worthy. This person over here, I evaluate him, he's unworthy.
To judge people with regard to being acceptable or unacceptable. Oh, I like, he's, this guy's acceptable. This guy over here, nah, we don't really want him.
Let him go somewhere else. To do that, on any basis, money, intelligence, power, beauty, any basis, is contrary to the Word of God. God says love your fellow man. Did you just read it, verse eight?
No footnotes. Not if he's pretty, not if he's wealthy, not if he's powerful, but love him. And to do anything less than attribute complete worth and complete acceptance to men is sin. Partiality is not just an error in judgment.
Partiality is not just a breach of etiquette, it's sin. God created all men in his image and he loves them all equally, despite race or intelligence quota or beauty or wealth. And when God looks at people, he doesn't see skin color. When God looks at people, he doesn't see bank balance. When God looks at people, he doesn't see IQ rating. When God looks at people, he doesn't see who won the beauty contest.
God sees people, people with need, on an equal basis with regard to how he loves them. And if we intend to follow God, we need to learn to see people that same way. And to do anything else is sin. As much sin as murder or adultery. Did you read what James said?
The law is all the same. You break it, it's sin. And if we don't murder and we don't commit adultery, but we show partiality the kind of partiality James is condemning, we're just as guilty of sin as if we put the gun to someone's temple and pulled the trigger. Now I should balance as we close and say that God does take into account and recognize differences in people. He doesn't assign every Christian the same job. He knows we're different with regard to talent and ability and God takes that into account. But all my friends, when it comes to worth, when it comes to how God loves people, there is no difference.
God sees no difference when it comes to those things. When I first came to the Washington area, I told you I owned one pair of pants. I also had everything I owned in a knapsack on my back and half of that belonged to my dog who was also hitchhiking around the country with me. His bowl, ten pounds of dog food. By the time I got all that in, only half the knapsack was mine.
Rest was his. And so I just had a very little bit. Long hair, I was only saved a very short period of time. Ninety-pound German shepherd and myself hitchhiking around the country. And we stopped into Washington to visit, having no idea we'd be here twelve years later.
And you know, I look back on those days and I think if someone who looked like that, with that mangy dog that I had, ever showed up at my house, I don't think I'd be particularly crazy about taking this guy in. But there was a man in the D.C. area, and I don't mind mentioning his name because I think he deserves the commendation. A man named Bill Simmer, many of you know Bill, the director of the Good News Mission. And our paths crossed, on the human level, accidentally. On the divine level, providentially.
And this man really took an interest in me, red patch and all. Took me in and employed me. Can you imagine? Let the dogs stay, too. All the volunteer workers who'd show up and have this ninety-pound German shepherd sniff them up. Oh, I'll tell you, it's incredible anybody ever came back.
But they did. And not only did he employ me and just stick me in a building somewhere and say, yeah, do your job, but don't get near my house. This man took me in his home. I had meals with him.
In fact, I had more meals with him than without them. They took a real interest in my life, problems and all, appearance and all. And finally, when they took off for a trip to Florida for two and a half weeks in a big Winnebago, they invited me to go.
Can you imagine? I wasn't even part of their family. They'd only known me six or eight months. They invited me to go. And in light of my background, you know I wasn't about to turn down that trip, so I went. We had a good time.
We had a ball. And you know, it was through my relationship with that family that not only did my Christian life stabilize, and it really did, but that God used that family to give me a desire to go in the ministry. I saw something in that family I'd never seen in anybody else.
I couldn't believe it. And it was directly as a result of that family I went off to seminary some ten or eleven years ago. And I have no problem saying to you publicly that at the time I showed up in the DC area, I was not much from the world's point of view.
And I'm probably still not. But here was a man who tried to look on the heart and not the outward appearance. And I'm where I am today, wherever that may be, more because of that man and his wife than any other two people in this entire world. Because there were people who knew God's way of evaluating worth and not this world's way. I want to simply close with a very short quote again from Dr. Dobson. He says, The current epidemic of self-doubt has resulted from a totally unjust and unnecessary system of evaluating human worth now prevalent in our society. Not everyone is seen as worthy. Not everyone is accepted. Instead, we reserve our praise and our admiration for a select few who have been blessed from birth with the characteristics we deem to be valuable.
It is a vicious system. Or as George Orwell said in his book Animal Farm, All are equal, but some are more equal than others. And if we as Christians don't represent a contrast to this vicious system that Dr. Dobson just labeled, then there won't be a contrast.
The world's not going to present a contrast to that. If we as the people who know God don't present to people a different way of evaluating, they'll never know one. And if we as parents don't counter the devastating effects of this world's evaluation in the lives of our children, then no one else is going to counter it. And we need, I believe, to re-evaluate the values that we consider to be worthy. We need to make them God's values. We need to plead with God and ask God to help us from our hearts display His kind of value system, not this world's. To be able to see beyond the outward appearance and see people's hearts and be willing to invest in the lives of people who on the outside are not at all attractive because God sees that there's worth there. Easy to do?
No. In fact, it's not only hard, it's impossible unless God grips your heart and my heart. And I hope He will. And I hope as you see people coming into our assembly, make it a point.
Go to the ones who don't immediately attract you and show them some worth. Because you may be dealing with a man or a woman of God that ten years from then may shake this world. Let's all have the wisdom to see that. Let's have prayer. Heavenly Father, how we in 20th century America, especially in McLean, Virginia, need to be told what You've told us this evening.
And Lord, I confess to You that I am guilty of this each and every day, unconsciously, unintentionally, but I do it. And Father, I'm sure there's many other people sitting here this evening who would say the same thing, Lord, we do it. And so Father, we ask You to deliver us from the way the world does it and teach us to do it Your way. In Jesus' name, amen. Father, we thank You for this day. We thank You for this day. We thank You for this day.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-04 08:18:20 / 2022-12-04 08:34:02 / 16