And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.
I was reading over some old correspondance when I came across this letter. The recipient had asked me how I could take a stand for Christianity opposed to other religions and how I could justify eliminating (as much as physically possible my and my family’s exposure to other ‘benevolent’ religions. She asked specifically how I could go into a grocery store or a bookstore but was unwilling to go into an ‘alternative venue’ that included many materials that I simply was not comfortable with. I thought I would share with you how I answered this very sincere lady who really wanted to understand.
“I want to tread very carefully over this ground. I pray that nothing I say will prove to be a stumbling block to you. This may sound very arrogant to you, but because of my belief in the perfect diety of the Lord Jesus Christ, I KNOW that there are no other gods. I have absolutely no doubt that He alone is God.
That said, He is perfect, I am not. There are so many areas that I fall short of what the Bible teaches we should do. It is very difficult to take a stand without offending everyone who doesn’t believe like I believe. You are right in asking how Christians can go to the grocery store but not [areas where other religions are formally presented]. I hope that the inadequacy of my words still allows you to have an understanding of my point of view.
When the Lord Jesus came to earth He did not stick only with those who believed in Him. Rather He reached out to heal/help/teach/offer salvation to those who knew Him not.
Matthew 9:12 But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.
Mark 2:17 When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
Luke 5:31 And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick.
In His ultimate wisdom and understanding, He (Jesus) knew exactly what to say and do in every situation. He was able to reach all people on their level, meeting every need. I don’t have that gift. In order to protect me from being confused and/or led astray, He said very plainly, 2 Corinthians 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
There are a few very important messages in this passage. First, God clearly sees two realms; those who follow Him and ‘them’ being those who do not follow Him. Second, He wants those who follow Him to be different from those who don’t.
Leviticus 20:7 Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God.
1 Peter 1:15 But as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;
1 Peter 1:16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
And third, He wants His followers to stay clean by not being part of what He says is unclean. The verse, Exodus 20:3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Tells me that embracing/accepting another religion is not acceptable.
There is another side to this. For as much as believers are to reject THINGS contrary to Scripture, we are told Romans 15:18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. This means that a believer can love an unbeliever, respect them for many things, enjoy them, etc. A Christian is expected to treat unbelievers with kindness and love. John 13:34-35 A new command I give you: Love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.
However, a Christian is not, under any circumstances, to embrace those things that an umbeliever may do. Romans 14:22 Belssed is the man who does not condem himself by what he approves. Romans 1:16 I am not ashamed of the Gospel because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes. In everything that a believer says and does, Christ should be evident. Colossians 4:5-6 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
Philippians 2:5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus. Jesus spent His ministry tending to those who didn’t know Him. But at no time did He tolerate defilement of His Father’s place.
John 2:14 And (Jesus) found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting:
15 And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables;
As to shopping in the grocery store, I have very little choice. My husband is not a farmer and we are not self sufficient. I can tell you that I have spoken to the managers at Sobeys and IGA and Superstore and requested that they alter their magazine displays so that my children are not so blatantly exposed to the rot that is available. All managers agreed and readily made changes. I also had an encounter once with an art store in a certain mall. This particular store had a painting in the hallway that was so disgusting I covered Matthew’s (my son’s) eyes. I asked the store manager to move the painting inside so we wouldn’t have to see it as we walked through the mall. He refused. I took the issue to the mall manager and he had the store move the painting. He saw that we needed to be in the mall, but we had a right not to be assaulted with such filth. Not that long ago, a popular children’s book store had a book display just inside their door. You couldn’t see it from the mall but as soon as you turned in it was there. Glaring out from the cover of the books were these holographic eyes. They were so awful that children were actually refusing to go by the bookcase. The store took the message and moved the books. They could carry the books, but they could not present them in such a forthright manner.
My goal is that these verses may show you that although I do not judge those who don’t believe as I do I can not go along with them either. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to help with this event, but I would gladly forefit it for my faith. I hope you take this letter as it is intended, to inform not offend. I make so many mistakes, it is essential that when something is this clear to me I don’t fool around.”
I pray that as you read this post you understand that my purpose in sharing is to encourage you to be faithful in making choices to serve the Lord. As humans, we are of necessity, in the world. As Christians, we, by command and choice, are not to be of this world.